Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Madness of King Nebuchadnezzar: Intro

God does not like pride. In fact, the Bible says, "The Lord detests all the proud of heart" (Proverbs 16:5a). This is not just a one-time statement against pride; the Bible says over and over again how much God does not like pride. In the New Testament, James says, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).

God actually opposes people who are proud.

I'm not talking about taking pride in your work or having a healthy self-esteem. I'm talking about conceit, the quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one's importance -- the sin of pride.

God detests this.

And that's kind of strange because, in our world, that kind of pride is seen as maybe annoying but hardly something that might be a fatal character flaw. Visit your local bookstore and browse through the self-help section. See how many books you can find that will help you develop the quality of humility.

I've seen people disciplined by their church for sexual misconduct or financial misdeeds. I've never seen anyone called on the carpet by their church leaders for having a prideful spirit.

And yet...which causes more problems in the church: financial impropriety or pride? Pride is absolutely lethal to having a thriving relationship with God.

Godliness and pride are mutually exclusive.

I say all of this to set us up to look at what happens to King Nebuchadnezzar beginning in Daniel 4. The king goes mad. God actually drives him out of his castle and basically says, "If you're going to act like an animal, go all the way with that act!" And all of this happens for one reason. That reason is given in the final sentence of the chapter:

"Those who walk in pride he is able to humble" (Daniel 4:37b).