Daniel 4 … Consider Him Who Is Able to Humble Those Who Walk in Pride

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride,” (4:37).

Yesterday we considered Him Who Is Able to Deliver; and today we get a first-hand look into one of man’s most pressing needs, our need for Deliverance from Pride.

Another vision comes to King Nebuchadnezzar, and this one should have gotten his full attention, and his even fuller compliance. And I find myself once again in this place of wonder as God meets this pagan king a second time with a prophetic vision for the future.

This chapter reports the king’s own narrative, recorded in Aramaic. And it is interesting to note that more than half of the book of Daniel is written, not in Hebrew, but Aramaic. It began with Nebuchadnezzar’s first vision in need of interpretation when he called for his pagan sorcerers and astrologers.

Then the king gave orders to call in the magicians, the conjurers, the sorcerers and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. The king said to them, “I had a dream and my spirit is anxious to understand the dream.” Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic… (Daniel 2:4).

“Since the astrologers were of various racial backgrounds, they communicated in Aramaic, the language everyone understood. From here [Daniel 2:4] to the end of chapter 7 the entire narrative is in Aramaic. The six chapters deal with matters of importance to the Gentile nations of the near east and were written in the language understandable to all. But the last five chapters (8–12) revert to Hebrew, since they deal with special concerns of the chosen people,” NIV Study Bible

And for generations to come, Gentile nations would hear of Him Who Is Able to Humble Those Who Walk in Pride, communicated in the language understandable to all.

This part of Nebuchadnezzar’s story begins with his declaration of what God had done “for” him. Note, he did not say “to” him, but “for” him.

Nebuchadnezzar the king to all the peoples, nations, and men of every language that live in all the earth: “May your peace abound! It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has done for me.
“How great are His signs
And how mighty are His wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom
And His dominion is from generation to generation,”
(4:1-3).

for: “5974. עִם ʿim: An Aramaic preposition meaning with, for. It is used to indicate connection to, action with…” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

Nebuchadnezzar saw God’s judgment as acting in connection to one of his greatest needs, to be Delivered from his life of Pride; his pressing need to be Humbled.

And once again, since none of his own wise men were able to tell the king the meaning of his fearful dream, he called for the one who had been proven true.

But finally Daniel came in before me, whose name is Belteshazzar according to the name of my god, and in whom is a spirit of the holy gods; and I related the dream to him, saying, ‘O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, since I know that a spirit of the holy gods is in you and no mystery baffles you, tell me the visions of my dream which I have seen, along with its interpretation,” (4:8-9).

As the king relates his dream to Daniel, he learns that this time his vision solely concerns him, depicted as a large tree, with its great height reaching to the sky with its abundant fruit and foliage for security and provision for all. But the heavenly order comes to chop it down, leaving a stump with its roots intact. Although he would later be restored, the king would be brought down.

As Daniel realizes the determined significance of the dream, he must first compose himself before speaking, prefacing his interpretation with his wish, if only this prophecy could be intended for the king’s enemies.

“Then Daniel, whose name is Belteshazzar, was appalled for a while as his thoughts alarmed him. The king responded and said, ‘Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation alarm you.’ Belteshazzar replied, ‘My lord, if only the dream applied to those who hate you and its interpretation to your adversaries! (4:19).

And Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar what had been decreed by the Most High; the king would be driven out to live among the wild beasts in the field to act as one of them, until the time the king would recognize Who is really on the throne as Ruler over all of mankind.

“that you be driven away from mankind and your dwelling place be with the beasts of the field, and you be given grass to eat like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven; and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes,” (4:25).

But even in this impending ruling, let us not miss God’s heart revealed in Daniel’s advice.

Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity,” (4:27).

He Is Able to Humble Those Who Walk in Pride, but He offers us the chance to break away from our sins, if we would but come to Him in humility before He does the humbling on our behalf.

Consider Him Who Is Able to Humble Those Who Walk in Pride

Pride is an abomination to Holy God, a sin that He will surely punish.

Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
Assuredly, he will not be unpunished,
(Proverbs 16:5).

And those who Walk in Pride deceive themselves into believing they are something when in fact, they are not.

For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself, (Galatians 6:3).

Pride is deceptive, trapping us with a false sense of security, that is naive and ultimately deadly.

Their inner thought is that their houses are forever
And their dwelling places to all generations;
They have called their lands after their own names.
12 But man in his pomp will not endure;
He is like the beasts that perish…
20 Man in his pomp, yet without understanding,
Is like the beasts that perish,
(Psalm 49:11-12, 20).

And Nebuchadnezzar, who had made it his habit to believe he was something, either forgot, ignored, or flat out rejected the counsel of the trusted man of God. But oh, in just a year, his whole world would be turned upside down when confronted by Him Who Is Able to Humble Those Who Walk in Pride.

 “All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king. 29 Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. 30 The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’ 31 While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you,’” (4:28-31).

And as God did in the life of the Babylonian king, He is Able to do in the life of all Those Who Walk in Pride. But as we read how Nebuchadnezzar’s story unfolds, we learn His intent. God Humbles Those Who Walk in Pride for our own good. He Humbles us so that we would be enabled to detect the deception of our arrogance, that we might lift our eyes to recognize His majestic dominion and His absolute authority, and that we would humbly acknowledge He alone is the Most High Eternal God. And in doing so, we would bring Him all the praise and honor for every good gift He gives.

“But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward 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,
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?’
“At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” (4:36-37).

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow, (James 1:16-17).

How do we respond to Him Who Is Able to Humble Those Who Walk in Pride?

He Is Able, but He is also patient. And as He offered to Nebuchadnezzar, he offers His Deliverance from Pride to everyone who will break away from sin and humble themselves before Him Who Is Able to Humble Those Who Walk in Pride.

Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity,” (4:27).

We really don’t know what became of this king, whether his visions and encounters with Almighty God led him to saving faith, but we do know that at the very height of his Walk in Pride, he was Humbled and came to understand Who had brought him down.

“He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble,”
(Luke 1:52).

Scripture never expounds on the eternal state of King Nebuchadnezzar, but I hope that after he was so humbled, after he praised, exalted, and honored the King of heaven Who is True and Just, that he surrendered in faith to Him Who Is Able to Humble Those Who Walk in Pride. But the truth is, we just don’t know.

But we do know this, God Is Able, and He Will Humble Those Who Walk in Pride. And in His great grace and mercy, He has warned us, either humble ourselves, or come under His mighty hand.

The Lord has promised that if we will humble ourselves before Him Who Will Humble Those Who Walk in Pride, that by His grace He will exalt us that we may exalt Him.

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”…10  Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you, (James 4:6, 10).

“But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever… 36 At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom…” (4:34, 36).

He Is Able to Humble Those Who Walk in Pride, and oh how we are in desperate need of humbling. Let us heed His patient call to humble ourselves and turn from our sin and pride, that He would hear our prayers, forgive our sins, and heal our land; for truly that is the Deliverance we need, and He is Able!

“and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land,” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Let’s Grow Together!

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