28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” 31 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, 32 and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” 33 Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar.
My ESV bible calls this the humiliation of Nebuchadnezzar. I’ve been thinking about humility and pride lately and examining places in my own heart and mind where I am tempted to think higher of myself than I ought.
Proverbs 16:5 tells us pride of heart is an abomination in the sight of God. Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes then comes shame. Poverty and shame are promised to him that refuses correction. If you read the story about Nebuchadnezzar, in its full context, you learn God had warned him a full year in advance from this occurring. This is the goodness and mercy of God.
We are all familiar with the exhortation from James and Peter where God resists the proud but I am not sure we all understand how absolutely wicked and abominable this is in the sight of God.
The fruit of pride is always seen in rebellion. God considers all disobedience an act of rebellion. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as the sin of idolatry. Pride exalts one’s will above Gods known expressed will. We are shown the rebellion of Lucifier ~ I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God. I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the North; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.
None of these places where given to Him by the Father. Iniquity was found in him. Pride of heart led the rebellion. Jesus said I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven. God threw him out of heaven and Lucifier became Satan. In the garden he worked to deceive Adam and Eve and they rebelled. The fruit of their rebellion cost man a cursed ground to toil and separation from Gods life and the garden He had created for them to flourish in.
Pride is an abomination to the Lord and from James and 1 Peter we find the word opposes to mean an active resistance. It was a military word used to describe the battle array of an army that came to fight. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Our admonition from James and Peter is to Humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, with the promise, He will exalt you.
Humility hears and obeys. God instructs and we humble ourselves. Humility always agrees with God and submits to the instruction. Submission is always willing. Humility is always prepared to understand whatever God says is for our well being. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Grace must be received by faith and we can’t even do that without first agreeing with God.
Philippians instructs us to have this mindset, which is ours in Christ Jesus, in other words, in Christ Jesus we won’t have another mindset). Jesus made himself of no reputation, became a servant and humbled himself by becoming obedient. We can’t be humble if there is no obedience. Humility is seen in the act of obedience. Pride is seen in rebellion.
Our scriptures regarding Nebuchadnzeer’s fall paints a story of true humiliation. In his rejection of the word God gave him, and his refusal to repent, He declares His own power and His own majesty, setting himself up for one of the mightier falls recorded in scripture .
The lesson we all can learn is to beware of anything that would tempt us not to acknowledge every good and perfect gift coming to us from the Father in His goodness and mercy.
At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”