- Lesson 5 in the BaptistWay Press Connect360 unit “Faith Under Fire” focuses on Daniel 4:1-37.
One of the frequent themes of Scripture is that God embraces those with a humble heart and rejects those with a haughty spirit. In the Old Testament, for example, the wise sage wrote, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling” (Proverbs 16:18).
Preaching a parallel message, Jesus taught, “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee [proud] and the other a tax collector [humble]… .” At the end of his story, Jesus declared, “…everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:10-14). Repeatedly and uniformly, Scripture teaches that God will pull down the proud.
Mary herself, in her Magnificat, saw her election to bear the Messiah as God’s “regard for the humble state of His bondslave… .” She also recalled God’s punishment of the proud when she declared, “He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones… .” (Luke 1:46-55). Ironically, Mary sang of a situation much like our passage in Daniel 4—God brings down rulers from their thrones!
God humbles those who exalt themselves
In summary fashion, our writer of Daniel informs us that, “all this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king” (v. 28). Despite Daniel’s call to repentance from sin and reverence for God, the king continued to bask in his selfish pride for another year (12 months, v. 29). Strutting like a proud peacock and surveying his royal residence from his rooftop, Nebuchadnezzar egotistically held up his own (I, myself, my) glory and majesty (v. 30).
With one word from heaven, the king lost not only his throne (v. 31), but also his place among people—he became a beast (v. 32-33). The Most High God has no patience for human pride. From the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) to the King of Babylon (Daniel 4), God will humble those who exalt themselves. We, too, must be reminded God alone has reason to revel in his own righteousness.
Based on commentary written by Howard Batson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Amarillo, as condensed by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.
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