No Trash, Just Truth! - Proverbs 9:10 Ministries

Episode 104 - Pride Goeth Before the Fall - Reading Between the Lions Part 4

September 13, 2021
No Trash, Just Truth! - Proverbs 9:10 Ministries
Episode 104 - Pride Goeth Before the Fall - Reading Between the Lions Part 4
Show Notes Transcript

Just when you think the Book of Daniel can’t get any more dramatic or incredible, along comes chapter 4! Usually, God accomplishes the extraordinary by using a series of ordinary events. However, in the book of Daniel, God does many extraordinary things outright! Event after event, God shows His might and sovereignty by doing things in a way that leaves absolutely no doubt it is the Hand of God controlling everything. In this episode, we see King Nebuchadnezzar have another dream. Unlike his first one, though, he will not only be alive to see it come to fruition, it will directly affect him in an incredible way!

Episode 104 – Pride Goeth Before the Fall

Welcome Back! We are in the middle of a series on the book of Daniel. And in just 3 chapters, we have seen a king have a dream about a massive statue. We have seen him thumb his nose at God by replicating that statue. We have seen Daniel and his friends refuse to eat a royal feast put before them, instead choosing to live on vegetables and water so they didn’t defile themselves. 

We have seen these same boys impress the king so much they are elevated to some of the highest positions in Babylon. And as we looked at last week, we have seen that as soon as they do something to tick off the king, like refusing to bow to his statue, they get thrown in a fiery furnace to be killed where Jesus miraculously saved them and they walked out not even smelling of smoke.

And you know just when you think this book can’t get any more dramatic or incredible, along comes chapter 4! And spoiler alert, chapter 5 is even more intense and fantastic! You know, one of our favorite things to do is to look back at a string of ordinary events and see how God did something extraordinary through them. That is how God usually operates. He uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary. 

Chris, I’ll use us for an example. My husband and I decided to move to Lancaster, PA because our son and daughter in law were looking for a house in the neighborhood we had lived, so we sold them ours and moved. I searched around for a church, found a reformed one, we went and tried it one Sunday. We walked in the door, and you were literally the first person I saw. You introduced yourself, we emailed all that week about youth group for our son and other church stuff, we ended up as youth leaders together, my husband and I were assigned to your house for small group, we became really close friends, we started teaching together, and on and on with ordinary things until here we are authors, podcasters, speakers, and teachers. Something I would have never imagined would have ever been just 10 years ago.

Me, either. Our story, and almost every story in history is God doing extraordinary things through the ordinary. However, the book of Daniel is definitely an exception to that. In the book of Daniel, God does extraordinary things outright! We definitely see God do some amazing things throughout Scripture, but in the book of Daniel, He does a lot of amazing things! They’re just mind blowing!

They certainly are! We are going to dig in and see some of the mind blowing stuff God has for us in Daniel chapter 4 in a minute. But first, we wanted you all to get to know King Nebuchadnezzar better, so we thought we would give you a brief bio. And this is from a secular history site. His birth name is slightly different, Nabu-kudurru-usur, which is Babylonian for “Preserve my first born son.” Nebuchadnezzar is the Akadian version of his name and that is the name that stuck.

He was the son of a general in the Assyrian army, Nabopolassar. His father was Babylonian, but it was under Assyria’s rule. You may remember Assyria as the nation who overthrew the northern nation of Israel. When the empire had become too large, it started showing weaknesses. When Assyria sent representatives to take charge of Babylon, Nabopolassar resisted and began fighting for Babylon’s independence. He was crowned king in 626 BC.

For the next ten years, Nabopolassar fought the Assyrians while? Nebuchadnezzar grew up, receiving an education in military matters as well as general literacy and government administration. In 612 BCE, the city of Nineveh fell to the Babylon and this date is recognized as the end of the Assyrian Empire. So when Babylon took over the Assyrian empire, they also inherited those who were still alive from the Northern nation of Israel. They continued acquiring lands around them. Around 600 BC (remember we said King’s reigning years were a little wonky) Nebuchadnezzar became king of Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar marked the city's regained status by raising it to its greatest prominence ever. He made it the largest, the most splendid, and in some eyes the most glamorous city the world had ever seen. Almost every ancient writer (other than the Biblical writers) describe Babylon with terms of awe and reverence. You may have heard of the hanging gardens of Babylon. Although there isn’t conclusive proof these actually existed, some historians describe them. Nebuchadnezzar’s palace was up on a hill overlooking the city. There were different levels of the hill, and on every level were beautiful gardens that not only grew out of the ground, but also on covered walkways all around. It was once one of the 7 wonders of the world

So why do we tell you all this? Well, for one, history is just really interesting. But, we do have another motive. We wanted you to see how magnificent the Babylonian empire Nebuchadnezzar reigned over was. It makes what occurs in chapter 4 all the more incredible. We aren’t going to read the whole chapter word for word. We will summarize some for time’s sake. I’ll start by reading 4:1 – 3, “King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! 2 It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me. How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.

When we left Nebuchadnezzar at the end of chapter 3, he declared that anyone who didn’t worship Yahweh, would be put to death, so it’s tempting to think that he makes this declaration right after the events in chapter 3. But that’s not necessarily the case. There is a theory that he makes this declaration right after chapter 3 because Nebuchadnezzar was so impressed with God did for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 

The other theory is that Nebuchadnezzar makes this declaration at the end of chapter 4. We’ve said that the book of Daniel is not in chronological order, and this may be one of the places it isn’t. It is very possible that the king said these words after the events we are going to read about in chapter 4. This 2nd theory is mostly based on verse 2 where the king says, “The Most High God has performed for me.”  In other words, the king is not talking about what God had done for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, but what God had done for him personally.  

There are several places in the Bible where passages and chapters are not in chronological order. And we may wonder why that is. Scripture was literally breathed out by God. Surly, He could have breathed it out in order! Well, of course, He could, but when things are out of order, there’s a reason. And that reason is that the writer, in this case Daniel, is more concerned with using the narrative to make a point than he is just with keeping events in the order in which they happened.

  I think as we read on in chapter 4, it will become clear that it is much more likely that verses 1 – 3 were said after the events that are about to occur. If nothing else, the king is acknowledging who God is and what He has done. This King, who was previously defying the Almighty, is now witnessing about Him. Where he previously told all “peoples, nations, and men of every language” to come and bow to his statue which represented that his kingdom would last forever, as we saw in Daniel 3:4, he is now telling those exact, same people that “(Yahweh’s) kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.

When we read on in chapter 4 in verses 4 – 9, we see that Nebuchadnezzar has had another dream. And once again, he is alarmed by it and calls all his wise men together to try and interpret it. Even with his actually telling them what the dream was, once again, they have no idea what the interpretation is. So, once again, Nebuchadnezzar calls in Daniel, or Beltshazzar as he is known in Babylon, in to try and interpret. He says this to him in verse 9,   9 “O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too difficult for you, tell me the visions of my dream that I saw and their interpretation.

When you read the passage in The Bible, it says that the king was at home contented and prosperous. The original language for “contented” is the same word David uses in Psalm 30:6“When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.”  It means feeling at rest and having abundance.  John Calvin says, “the old and common proverb is, "fullness is the parent of ferocity," as we see horses when too much fed, prance about and throw their riders. Thus also it happens with men. For if God treats them rather indulgently and liberally, they become fierce and insolent towards all men, and strike off God's yoke, and forget themselves to be but men.” And this is exactly what happened to David. He tells of it in Psalm 38. In that Psalm, David recognized God’s discipline on him and his need for that discipline. He repents of his previous behavior. So here we have King Nebuchadnezzar in that same contented, complacent state. Doesn’t sound like it will bode well for him! 

Most of us probably dream often, maybe every night.  Usually, our dreams stem from things that happened the previous day, something we read or saw before going to bed, or something that has been on our mind or that we have been stressing about. We can assume it would have been the same way for the people of the ancient world and King Nebuchadnezzar. Surely he didn’t summon his wise men every time he had a dream!  However, something about this dream (just like the dream from chapter 2) makes him realize this was not just another dream. Somehow, God impressed upon the king that both of dreams were not the result of eating spicy food before going to bed, but that they were a vision that he needed to get interpreted.         

Okay, let’s read what Nebuchadnezzar’s was. I’ll start reading from verse 10, “ 10 The visions of my head as I lay in bed were these: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great. 11 The tree grew and became strong, and its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth. 12 Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the heavens lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.

13 “I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven. 14 He proclaimed aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and lop off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts flee from under it and the birds from its branches. 

I’ll continue, “15 But leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, amid the tender grass of the field. Let him be wet with the dew of heaven. Let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. 16 Let his mind be changed from a man's, and let a beast's mind be given to him; and let seven periods of time pass over him. 17 The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’ 18 This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. And you, O Belteshazzar, tell me the interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation, but you are able, for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”

 

So here we see King Nebuchadnezzar has another crazy dream.  And, like we said, again, none of his Babylonian advisors can decipher it. Also, again, the lowly Israelite needs to be brought in to interpret. This is all part of God’s plan to humble King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians and to show them that that His favor rests on the exiled Jewish people. But before we get to that, we should note that God uses some of the same language and images in this dream as in the dream from chapter 2. In the king’s previous dream, part of the interpretation was that God had given into Nebuchadnezzar’s hands, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens. If you remember, Daniel told the king that it was God who had made him so mighty and put everything under his reign.” In this second dream, God again uses some of the same imagery – beasts of the field and birds of the heaven

God is showing the king that both of these dreams are indeed from Him, and that they are linked. There are other similarities, too. In this dream, like the last, he again sees bronze and iron. But instead of them being a part of the statue that represented the various kingdoms, this time they are what shackles the king.And perhaps, the most important similarity, is again with “the beasts.” Instead of ruling over the beasts of the field, God says to the king in this latest dream, “Let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. 16 Let his mind be changed from a man's, and let a beast's mind be given to him.” The king isn’t going to rule over the beasts, he is going to be a beast!

Daniel 4:19 begins the interpretation. Verse 19 says, “Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was dismayed for a while, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king answered and said, “Belteshazzar, let not the dream or the interpretation alarm you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies!” Daniel was hesitant to interpret the dream for King Nebuchadnezzar because of its meaning, which we will get to in a minute. Although Daniel is 100% monotheistic, meaning He only believes in the One, True God, and even though He completely trusts in God and His sovereignty as we see throughout this book, he’s dismayed about what the interpretation is. Given his character, it probably isn’t because he’s afraid for himself when the king sees what God is about to do. The most likely explanation is that Daniel has developed an affection for King Nebuchadnezzar and was truly sad at what was going to happen to the king.

David gives the king the interpretation, beginning in verse 20. I’ll start reading,  20 The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth, 21 whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens lived— 22 it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth. 23 And because the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field, and let him be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven periods of time pass over him,’

So, this incredible extraordinary tree that grows and reaches to heaven and is visible to the whole earth, is King Nebuchadnezzar. God is showing him who he was at that moment. Just like we said in the bio. King Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon were thought to be the center of the world, and they were looked at in awe by those around them.

In the first dream, God told the king that everything he was and everything he had was because God had given it to him. Now in this dream, God is showing Nebuchadnezzar that He’s about to take it all away – at least for a period of time.

The tree is to be cut down, the branches trimmed, leaves stripped and fruit scattered. The birds and animals will flee from it. The only thing that will remain is the stump and roots which will be bound with iron and bronze. Iain Duguid makes an astute observation.  “The description of the tree reaching to the heavens reminds us once again of the attempt of the builders of the Tower of Babel to construct an edifice whose top would enter the heavens.  (Gen 11:4)  Such acts of hubris inevitably end in disaster. In this case, the image itself suggests the appropriate metaphor for its downfall:  the divine lumberjack will bring the mighty tree crashing to the ground, removing it from its place of influence and glory.”  

This metaphor of a mighty tree being cut down was used previously in Ezekiel chapter 3. Ironically, Ezekiel is prophesying against Assyria and them being overthrown by Babylon. He compares Assyria to a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches and forest shade, and of towering height, its top among the clouds. And just like Nebuchadnezzar, pride was Assyria’s downfall. I’ll abridge what Ezekial says,  “Because it towered high and set its top among the clouds, and its heart was proud of its height, 11 I will give it into the hand of a mighty one of the nations. He shall surely deal with it as its wickedness deserves. I have cast it out. 12 Foreigners, the most ruthless of nations, have cut it down and left it.”

Remember, Assyria overthrew the northern nation of Israel. The images and the prophecies parallel each other in that While God raised both Assyria and Babylon up and empowered them both to defeat Israel and Judah, they would both have to pay for their sin of conquering Israel and Judah. The difference, though, is that the prophecy against Assyria was against the whole nation. They were completely annihilated by Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is a prophecy against him, personally. Babylon would not be destroyed – not yet anyway.

I’ll read on from verse 24 - 27,  24 this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, 25 that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. 26 And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules.

The King would be drenched with the dew of heaven, and would live with the animals among the plants of the earth.  His mind would be changed from that of a man to an animal’s till seven times pass by for him.  King Nebuchadnezzar would become like an animal. He would be driven away from his people and his palace and would live among the wild animals.  Note though that the stump and the roots remain. This shows that God is leaving room for repentance and restoration for Nebuchadnezzar.  At some point in the future, the tree will be able to grow again.  

Seven times means seven years that would pass before he is finally and truly humbled and admits that God is sovereign.  Seven could mean literal years (and we will tell you why shortly, but usually, seven is a number symbolizing completeness in the Bible.  Here it means that the king will be completely humbled and will completely acknowledge that God is sovereign.  No more of this half-hearted worship and awe for God like he had after his first dream was interpreted. So seven, in this case, may be both literal and symbolic.  

Daniel tries to plead with the king to repent of his pride and wickedness. He says to the king in Daniel 4:27, 27 Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.”

And this is further evidence that Daniel’s hesitancy to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was because he was fond of the king and saddened at what was about to happen to him. 

The Messenger who calls for the tree to be cut down is called  “a holy one.” The text does not tell us if this holy one is an angel or Pre-Incarnate Jesus.  The Aramaic word for holy one is qaddiysh (Kaddish).  This is a generic word for holy so there is no way of knowing.  Daniel also gives no indication of knowing. Something ironic, is that Nebuchadnezzar’s response to the interpretation is not recorded. We have no way of knowing what his immediate response to the dream interpretation or Daniel’s call for him to repent are. In fact, the next verse takes place a year later.

I’ll read that. It’s Daniel 4:28 – 33, “ 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. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles' feathers, and his nails were like birds' claws.”

We said if someone wrote a book on the events of the book of Daniel, critics would say it was too unbelievable. But believe it, the things in this book happened! Crazy as they are! Since the text didn’t give us an indication of Nebuchadnezzar’s response, we can only speculate what it may have been. Maybe right after King Nebuchadnezzar got the interpretation of his dream, he was a little nervous.  Maybe he even did renounce his sins by doing what was right and renounced his wickedness by being kind to the oppressed . . . for a while. But maybe once he saw the passage of a few weeks or months with nothing happening he decided that Daniel had been wrong.  

Or perhaps he never even tried to change at all.  Maybe the king just couldn’t do what Daniel was telling him he had to do. Maybe it was so far out of the realm of who he was, and his pride was so ingrained in who he was, that he couldn’t do it. There is a third possibility. And that is that God kept him from repenting and changing to fulfill His plan for Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. That may be hard to swallow since God gave him the dream and Daniel warned him to repent so the things in the dream wouldn’t happen. These are always the kind of things that make your head hurt, but if this was the case, and we don’t know for certain it was, God had every right to do it. He is sovereign and can do with His creation whatever He wishes.

And there is precedence in Scripture that God has done this. He did it in Exodus with Pharoah when Moses was trying to get him to free the Israelites from slavery. He did it in Deut. with the king of Heshbon so he wouldn’t let the Israelites pass through the land. Isaiah and Jeremiah talk about God hardening the heart of an unbeliever. Every time God does it, it was so His people and the watching world would know without a shadow of a doubt, that it was God doing a mighty work. It was done to glorify God. And while we don’t know for sure that’s what happened here, this narrative definitely ends with every observer and reader knowing that only God could do something this incredible, and it absolutely glorified Him.

 Whatever the circumstances were or what went on in the 12 months between Daniel’s interpretation and this dream actually occurring, we see that even if Nebuchadnezzar had a brief period of repentance, that is long gone. His pride is in full swing. A year after having a dream that shook him up, and getting a very disturbing interpretation of it, as well as a warning from Daniel,  Nebuchadnezzar is at his mountain top palace looking down over Babylon worshipping himself!   

Yeah, he’s looking at his magnificent kingdom – which God clearly told him he only had because God chose to give it him, and is praising himself for attaining it! Seems like he forgot all about God saying He was going to take it away because of his pride and wickedness. In a British Museum, there are six rows of writing recovered from Babylon that describe the huge building projects of Nebuchadnezzar and his zeal to enlarge and beautify the city.  Archeologists have also recovered bricks in excavations of Babylon that read, “Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, exalted first-born son of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon.”  Nebuchadnezzar is pretty full of himself.  

          Too bad the king couldn’t read Hebrew. He could have seen the many prophecies against him personally, his empire, and the dangers of pride. Matthew Henry says this about Nebuchadnezzar, “His punishment for his pride. When he was thus strutting, and vaunting himself, and adoring his own shadow, while the proud word was in the king’s mouth, the powerful word came from heaven, by which he was immediately deprived.”

          Just digest this for a minute. While the words were still on Nebuchadnezzar’s lips, a voice from heaven came and pronounced judgement on him.  The Lord left no doubt that this was all His doing.  We certainly see that it is God who is in control of Nebuchadnezzar’s punishment.  His royal authority is taken away (he is cast out of his royal palace).  He is driven away from his people and lived with wild animals eating grass like cattle.  His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.  He is again told his condition would last 7 times (7 years or a complete period of time).  

Many commentators have tried to label what happened to Nebuchadnezzar as being struck with a mental illness called insania zoanthropica.  Insania Zoanthropica causes one to imitate an animal. But I don’t think we put that label on this situation. This was an extremely unique situation in which God proclaimed a very specific judgement on Nebuchadnezzar.  Its uniqueness is part of knowing that it is certainly from God Almighty and not from anything else.  There are other events in the Bible that are also unique and one-time events that are not meant to be repeated nor compared to anything we normally encounter.  The parting of the Red Sea and the Jordon River, the sun standing still for Joshua’s army, and the events at Pentecost where flames appeared above each of the apostle’s heads and they spoke in different languages so everyone listening could understand are some examples.  

While God could certainly repeat any and all of these events if He chose to, they are meant to be unique and out of the scope of human possibility.  All of these events were to show the power and authority of God.  We need to be careful not to always try and attach a “logical” explanation to the supernatural things God does.  Rose, let’s finish out the chapter. I’ll read 4:34 – 38, “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;
 
35 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?”

36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

          Exactly at the end of the appointed time, Nebuchadnezzar raises his eyes toward heaven and his sanity is restored.  Here is a perfect reason why we shouldn’t try putting a human explanation on this event. Just as God instantly struck down Nebuchadnezzar, He instantly restores him. There is certainly no medical explanation for that! Before his punishment, King Nebuchadnezzar was  up in his palace looking down, congratulating himself on all he had accomplished.  Now we see him laid about as low as he could be, looking up to heaven and praising God for His holiness and sovereignty. Before the king said all that he had was by his own mighty power. Now, he recognizes that everything is under God’s mighty power and according to God’s will. Nebuchadnezzar has changed indeed. To paraphrase one commentator, “a man who thought himself a god was made a beast to learn that he was just a man.”

          

Nebuchadnezzar’s sin caused him to fall under the wrath of God. He was completely deserving of the punishment he was dealt. It was only because God was merciful and chose to save him that he was saved from it. Nebuchadnezzar did nothing. God did all the saving. It wasn’t until God restored his reason (a picture of regeneration) that Nebuchadnezzar was able to recognize who God was.

And this is a picture of Jesus. Only when God chooses to save us, and the Holy Spirit regenerates our heart and opens our eyes are we able to see the truth of God’s Word and the Gospel. This narrative about King Nebuchadnezzar rings throughout with that truth! Nebuchadnezzar, himself says in Daniel 4:35, "All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, 'What have You done?”  

We titled this episode, “Pride Goeth Before the Fall.” And we’ve said in a couple of other episodes that pride is one of the most dangerous of all sins. That’s because often you don’t even know you are guilty of the sin of pride. But anyone who will not humble themselves before God is headed for a fall. For believers, God will not let remain in your pride forever because it will be a hinderance to your sanctification. He wants to refine His people so they will more and more resemble Jesus and more and more be holy and set apart from the rest of the world. If you are truly a believer and are immersed in the sin of pride, you can bet at some point, God will make you fall to bring you to repentance. First He will break you, then He will build you back up. As 1Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”

And for those who do not belong to God, basically unbelief is the sin of pride. They don’t want to believe they are under a sovereign God who is Creator, Master, and Sustainer of the entire Universe. Their “fate” is in your hands. Like Nebuchadnezzar, all that they have built is by their mighty power and for their own glory. Their pride will definitely go before and be the cause of their fall. And it’s the ultimate fall – the fall into hell and damnation. That’s why when we witness the Gospel, we have to start with the holiness of God. Like Nebuchadnezzar had to learn, unbelievers also need to understand that they are not the center of the universe. They need to have their pride broken.

Right. And that’s exactly why just saying God loves you or Jesus died for you or just believe in Jesus and you will be saved is not the gospel and could lead to false salvation. How easy is it for anyone to say, okay, what the heck, I’ll believe in Jesus so I’m saved? But saying that does not mean that someone has a clue about what Jesus is saving them from. We have to first recognize the holiness and sovereignty of God, and then realize that we have sinned against that holy God and are now deservedly under His wrath. That is what we need saving from! Humility is paramount to a proper understanding of the Gospel and to giving God what He is due. We can’t properly worship God, if we aren’t humble before Him, knowing that everything, even our every breath is dependent upon God. This is what Nebuchadnezzar had to learn, and this is what we have to learnand remind ourselves of every single day.

Charles Spurgeon gives us a perfect quote.  “The God whom we serve not only exists, but reigns. No other position would become him but that of unlimited sovereignty over all his creatures.” 

We’ll add this last interesting fact. Secular, historical records of the reigns of kings were pretty accurately kept; even as far back as Nebuchadnezzar’s time.  There is a lot about his reign that is recorded before 582 B.C. and after 575 B.C., however, there is no activity recorded about him from 582 B.C. to 575 B.C.! If we do the math, guess how many years that is?! 7!

Insert mind-blown emoji! And that’s a good place to end for today. Thanks for listening!

Don’t forget to check out our website www.proverbs910ministries.com to get all the latest happenings and resources. And it’s not too late to join our fall Bible study, “Let’s Take it from the Top,” a study on the book of Genesis. You can email us at [email protected] to join or fill the form out on our website. Have a blessed day, everyone!