Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.”
“If you make a run for God – you won’t regret it!”
The Message Bible
“The restful can be unruffled even when the nations rage, and the trusting can be untroubled even when the terrible ride rough-shod over the unoffending. There is not only the calm that comes when the tempest is past; there is also the quietness of heart that trusts even though neither sun nor star appears. There is not only the standing, full armor clad, when the conflict is ended; there is also the joy of the Lord that is one’s strength when the battle is the stoutest.”
V. Raymond Edman
Today’s Study Text:
“Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then our prosperity will continue. All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, ‘Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”
“Earthly Power Versus Heavenly Purpose” Part 2
“It’s All About Me”
“Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Have I ever boasted about my own accomplishments?
In what ways have I acted like King Nebuchadnezzar, admiring the work of my own hands?
Are there times when I act as if: “It’s all about me?”
“At the deepest level, pride is the choice to exclude both God and other people from their rightful place in our hearts. Jesus said the essence of the spiritual life is to love God and to love people. Pride destroys our capacity to love.”
“It’s from our pride we need, above everything, to be redeemed…Pride has its root and strength in a terrible spiritual power, outside of us as well as within us.”
“What a spectacular view. Who could do anything better. And it’s all mine. I built it all!” We find similar words penned by the prophet Daniel. And they perfectly convey the attitude that King Nebuchadnezzar displayed when gazing upon the work of his own hands.
In reading different versions and paraphrases of this pronouncement by Nebuchadnezzar, I’ve chosen to share with you the passages found in Daniel 4: 29,30 from the paraphrase The Message:
“(Nebuchadnezzar) was walking on the balcony of the royal palace in Babylon and boasted, ‘Look at this, Babylon the great! And I built it all by myself, a royal palace adequate to display my honor and glory!’”
The Message Bible
Quite an impression is left by this arrogant braggart. “I, I, I, - I did it all. Just look at the panoramic views. I built the great Babylon. I’m the best builder in all the earth.” Sound familiar? Even in the 21st century we have our own Nebuchadnezzars. Maybe we have even been caught, ourselves, boasting about our accomplishments. Embellishing our resumes. Gloating over the fact that we shoved a competitor into the ground.
You see, the “Nebuchadnezzar-Complex” isn’t something which is only seen in worldly kings and rulers. Sad to say, it’s evident in those who claim to be followers of the “Man of Calvary.” This is why the Apostle Paul, in the very first chapter of the book of Romans, goes to great detail in identifying the characteristics of individuals who he states are “fully aware of God’s righteous decree,” yet Paul tells us they’re filled with: “grasping covetous greed, and malice. They’re full of envy and jealousy, deceit and treachery, ill-will and cruel ways. They’re secret backbiters and gossipers. Hateful, full of insolence and arrogance and boasting, inventors of new forms of evil…they’re without understanding, conscienceless and faithless, heartless and loveless and merciless” (Romans 1: 29-31, Amplified Bible). Seems that Paul pretty much covered the spectrum of distasteful attributes.
And it appears that other Biblical writers, who have also carefully studied the patient way God dealt in compassion with Nebuchadnezzar, even going so far as to give him twelve months to change his ways, note as Matthew Henry penned in his commentary on Daniel 4, that Nebuchadnezzar built Babylon, “with the assistance of his subjects, yet boasts that he did it by the might of his power; he built it for his security and convenience, yet, as if he had no occasion for it, boasts that he built it purely for the honor of his majesty. NOTE: Pride and self-conceitedness are sins that most easily beset great men and women, who have great things in the world. They are apt to take the glory to themselves which is due to God only.”
It is ironic that King Nebuchadnezzar could not even remember a dream he had, and needed the prophet of the God of heaven and earth to help him recall what it was he forgot and yet, he quickly ignored the fact that in reality, he was totally dependent on the God he so easily dismissed.
The sad fact is that sometimes we do the same. The other evening as I was washing the supper dishes, gazing at the gorgeous sunset that cast a pink hue over the towering red rocks, I got to recalling times in my own life when I began to get caught up by the notion that I could handle things in “Dorothy’s World” by myself. The fact is that even other people were quick to reinforce the idea that I was a very capable person. But as the tape began to run through my mind, I recognized scene after scene where I witnessed the hand of God moving what I thought was unmovable. I saw Him rescuing me when I hadn’t even discovered the danger I was in. And as I was pondering the actions of my Father in heaven, it struck me that at the times I was the most self-confident about my own proficiency, I needed to take heed for as the Apostle Paul warned his Christian friends at the church in Corinth, “Don’t be so naïve and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence” (1 Corinthians 10: 12, The Message Bible).
The great colonial era theologian, Samuel Hopkins, in a sermon he delivered in 1803, entitled “God Working in Men to Will and to Do,” stated that we need to, “Be on our guard against the least confidence and trust in ourselves.” Let me be clear, this doesn’t mean I mope around acting as if I have no value or worth for quite the opposite is true. God placed such a high price on each of us that He sent His precious, only-begotten Son to earth to redeem us. What’s more, if you or I would have been the only one needing rescue, He would have gone to the unimaginable length to send His Son for just one of us. Believe me, this knowledge alone gives me such confidence, but not in myself, rather in God who loves each of us so very much.
This point is portrayed in all of God’s dealings with the prideful king of Babylon. Not only did the God of heaven and earth forewarn Nebuchadnezzar of his impending fall but then God gave the king an entire year to rethink his haughty behavior. What’s more, the king was surrounded by some of the most faithful, God-fearing witnesses – Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Men whose very names reflected and brought honor to the God they served:
1. Daniel – God is my Judge.
2. Hananiah – The grace of the Lord.
3. Mishael – He that is the strong God.
4. Azariah – The Lord is a Help.
With daily reminders surrounding this foreign king, God in His great patience, true to His Word that He was not “willing that any should perish,” gave King Nebuchadnezzar time to recall the blessings God had bestowed upon him. But as Matthew Henry so poignantly writes, ‘When the king was vaunting himself and adoring his own shadow, while the proud words were in his mouth, the powerful word came from heaven, by which he was immediately deprived of his honor as king. When he thought he had erected impregnable bulwarks for the preserving of his kingdom, in that instant it was departed from him; when he thought it so well guarded that none could take it from him, behold, it departed of itself.” In the words of Jesus, found in Matthew 23: 12, “Whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he (she) that shall humble himself (herself) shall be exalted.” May the words of the evangelist D. L. Moody ever resonate with each of us: “God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves.” In the life of Nebuchadnezzar these words are proved to be true!
“A healthy self-image is not one of pride or arrogance, but one that coincides with God’s viewpoint. It is choosing to accept God’s evaluation, learning to see ourselves as God sees us, agreeing with who we are in His eyes, and giving Him permission to make us what He designed us to be. In His eyes, every person is valuable.”
“Lord, make me what I should be. Change me whatever the cost.”
“Grant us, Lord, we beseech Thee, not to mind earthly things, but to seek things heavenly; so that though we are set among scenes that pass away, our heart and affection may steadfastly cleave to the things that endure forever; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“Lord Jesus Christ,
the way by which we travel;
show me Thyself,
the Truth that we must walk in;
and be in me the Life that lifts up to God,
our journey’s end.”
Frederick B. MacNutt
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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