Daniel 4:34, The Stumbling Block of Pride

Daniel 4:34, “At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.” (NIV)

What are some of the trappings of power, success, and wealth? What are some of the temptations associated with having nearly every material need satisfied? Nebuchadnezzar’s experience in Daniel 4 teaches us that one of the greatest dangers of high authority, and deep prosperity, is pride – thinking that you are above all. Pride falsely warps one’s mindset into thinking that he, or she, doesn’t need anyone, or anything. In fact, pride causes one to assume that, if anything, everyone else is dependent on his, or her, wisdom or activity. And thus Nebuchadnezzar was on the rooftop of his royal palace in Babylon one day and effectively thought to himself “look at this glorious kingdom that I alone have expanded and established.”

Civic leaders and rulers are not immune to God’s wrath. Even the mightiest of kings are made subject to God’s rebuke and judgment. In other words, no one is above God, and no one is greater than God. And certainly no national ruler, or official, is beyond God’s reach. God is in control, and this is never in jeopardy. But let this lesson of this account penetrate the hearts of all Christians. Pride is not just an issue for the affluent of society – it impacts everyone. Regardless of income, pride is an emotional temptation that can infect all of humanity. Pride can be displayed in political views, religious views, cultural views, and even in areas pertaining to family and friendships. In short, mankind can become prideful in just about anything.

It’s remarkable how many opportunities Nebuchadnezzar was given to see the hand of God at work. The Lord revealed Himself over and over in order for King Nebuchadnezzar to know that the reign of Babylon was not solely the result of Nebuchadnezzar’s brilliance, or efforts. And yet the leader of Babylon still believed himself to be the primary reason for greatness and power. In the process, Nebuchadnezzar disregarded God’s higher authority in Babylon’s success and dominion. God humbled Nebuchadnezzar, and forever exposed the fallacy of the king’s prideful thinking. Later, the Lord restored Nebuchadnezzar, thus proving the Lord’s mercy and goodness. In summary, pride is a spiritual stumbling block. It inhibits a desire for God’s constant Word and wisdom. It restricts man’s ability to admit our unending need for God’s eternal supply of love. So reject pride. Fight against it. Instead, choose to live in humility.    

Kevin Orr (9/3/2018)   

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