The Price Of Pride

Thought For The Week 429

Yahweh chose King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to bring severe judgement on Israel. Despite numerous warnings, the nation had continued in sinfulness and idolatry.  Nebuchadnezzar advanced against Jerusalem with his entire army, laying siege to the city for two years [Jeremiah 52:4-5].  The devastation and destruction of his eventual victory is described by Jeremiah in Lamentations 2.  Some years later, Daniel would say to this king, “Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory;  in your hands he has placed all mankind…the beasts…and the birds…he has made you ruler over them all” [Daniel 2:37-38].  It must’ve been a heady experience to be chosen and acclaimed by Israel’s God.  How did it affect him?

As the book of Daniel unfolds, it’s an increasingly grim picture.  When Nebuchadnezzar built the notorious golden statue, did he relate it to his being identified as ‘the head of gold’ in his dream [Daniel 2:38]? Was he inflated with an exaggerated view of himself, perhaps seeing the statue as synonymous with his own dignity and power?  Certainly Yahweh taught him a sharp lesson [Daniel 3:19-30]. 

Then came another dream.  Daniel was stunned and distressed by its meaning, which warned the King that Yahweh was planning to punish his pride severely [Daniel 4:24-26].  “Please accept my advice,” begged Daniel. “Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.”  Nebuchadnezzar didn’t change, even though Yahweh gave him a year to think about it!  The outcome was disastrous [4:30-36].

King Solomon wrote, “[Yahweh] detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished” [Proverbs 16:5].  Nebuchadnezzar was chosen to do a specific job, and Yahweh rewarded him with dominion, power and wealth. Things began to deteriorate when the King forgot where the blessings came from and neglected to give honour to the Giver. 

Yahweh’s children - chosen, called and gifted - must remain humble. Let’s remember to give honour and glory to the Most High, not only in every circumstance – but always!  Without Him we’re nothing.

Image by Jenő Szabó from Pixabay


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