“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
When my son was in junior high, I interpreted Proverbs 16:18 for him in this way: “Don’t be cocky or God will give you zits.” OK, so maybe not my best theological moment, but the point was made. When we start thinking we’re all-that, then “destruction” lurks around the corner. And, to a junior high student, there’s almost nothing worse than a big ol’ zit glaring from the end of one’s nose.
What is that “destruction” for you? Maybe your confidence — and dare I say “pride” — rests in your financial wealth, your work, your intellect, your influence, or maybe it’s being able to acquire a lot of “likes” on social media. Before we look at the example in Daniel, take a moment to ask God where you might be feeling prideful.
Now, let’s look at Daniel 4. King Nebachadnezzer had been warned about his pride, but in Daniel 4:30 he declares, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” Wow! It smacks of praise to the Lord, but instead he’s praising himself. And nowhere does he mention the actual people who built the residence, he’s so focused on himself. It’s the opposite of Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on things above …” or Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom ...” No, the king’s mind was set only on himself and he sought first his own kingdom. That self-focus is a recipe for a destructive fall.
Just as the king was warned, Daniel 4:31-32 says, “Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, ‘This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox. …’”
After living like a wild animal with his nails growing out like the claws of a bird, Nebuchadnezzar finally turned his focus from himself to the Lord. Daniel 4:37 says, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just.” He wraps up the chapter in verse 37 with this piece of understated truth: “And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”
Is there an area of pride and “haughty spirit” that you need to confess? Spend time praying to the Lord and asking His help in embracing humility.
Cyndie de Neve
Senior Creative Director