In the Old Testament book of Daniel there is an interesting story about King Nebuchadnezzar. While he ruled, Babylon prospered. It seems prosperity can become a snare to us because there is a danger we might begin to think we are the ones that brought it about.
It seems Nebuchadnezzar didn’t understand it is the Lord who gives us power to get wealth. He started to think he was the one responsible for his success and became puffed up with pride. He walked along the roof of the royal palace and said, “Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” While most of us wouldn’t necessarily say this sort of thing out loud we must be careful not to start thinking we are the cause of our own prosperity.
Even while he was saying these things the voice of God spoke to him saying, “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.”
The arrogance that Nebuchadnezzar displayed only brought him sorrow in the end. He was in fact driven away from others and became like a beast. His hair grew long like eagles wings and his nails grew like claws. It seems this is our destiny also when we choose to live in the deception that we are our own god. While there may not be the same outward signs such as the hair and nails the behavior of some cannot be missed. We have murders, rape and incest, torture and a general disregard of others on any given day. When we decide to be god rather than submit to the one and only; we will inevitably grow more and more animalistic. Without the Spirit of God in charge of our lives we will let our appetites take charge. We will become driven by our own success, desires and cravings. Isn’t this the way the animal kingdom operates?
Paul wrote to the Philippians “Many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite (belly), and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.” When we live as though we are god, as if we are in charge of our own destiny, we are making ourselves an enemy of the cross of Christ. We are essentially saying we don’t need him or his sacrifice.
Nebuchadnezzar did finally come to his senses when he raised his eyes to heaven and blessed the Most High and praised and honored him who lives forever…” When he finally gave in and recognized God in Heaven is in charge and does whatever he pleases; his reason, or senses, returned to him. It was then that we read his majesty and splendor were restored to him and his place as King was given back to him. The end result of this experience is King Nebuchadnezzar learned that God is able to humble those who walk in pride. Isn’t it a shame most of us have to take the long, painful route he took?
Old Testament or New makes no difference when it comes to pride and its inevitable results. Paul told us in Ephesians all of us at one time have had the spirit of the Prince of the power of the air living in us. He is the true source of the pride within us. He is the one that proclaimed he would exalt himself and be like the Most High. Pride will blind us to the truth and we will only see it if God grants us revelation. The sad part is it usually takes painful consequences before we really see the hideousness of pride and we finally say, “Who will deliver me? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Written by Louie