God humbles the proud

The book of Daniel is unquestionably my favorite section of scripture in the Old Testament. While most of those who think of the book recall the story of Daniel in the den of lions, there’s so much more to this ancient text.

For example, there’s an excellent lesson on humility. The Babylonian ruler, King Nebuchadnezzar, at the peak of his rule, was humbled by God.

Daniel, who had the ability to interpret dreams and visions, revealed to Nebuchadnezzar that he would be driven from human society and live among the wild animals. Daniel exhorted the king to change his life.

Daniel 4:27 (NLT) reads, “King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. 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.”

But the king did not heed Daniel’s advice. According to the Scriptures, twelve months to the day after the interpretation of the dream was given to Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king stepped onto the roof of his palace and proclaimed his excellence.

Daniel 4:30 (NLT) recounts what Nebuchadnezzar did. “As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’”

At they very moment, God humbled Nebuchadnezzar. The judgment of God was exacted upon Nebuchadnezzar, and he “…was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws.” (Daniel 4:33 – NLT)

Finally, after seven years of living like a beast, Nebuchadnezzar received God’s message. The Lord returned Nebuchadnezzar’s senses to him. God’s amazing grace resulted in the king praising and worshipping the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Daniel 34-35 (NLT) recounts Nebuchadnezzar’s revelation. “…His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal. All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’”

God humbles the proud and exalts the humble. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5), He says that God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. Humble yourself before the mighty hand of God.


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