By Rev Goh Yong Kuang
The Psalmist reminds us of the need for sinners to come before God with a "broken and contrite heart." (Ps.51:17) Our sinful pride often gets in the way and prevents us from responding to God and experiencing all His benefits.
The scripture tells of a man who needed to be broken. This proud man had an inflated view of himself and had allowed his heart to be filled with pride. So, God had to teach him a lesson in a most humbling & debilitating way. His name was Nebuchadnezzar, and his story is told in the Book of Daniel chapter 4.
Outwardly, he was heard praising and proclaiming the greatness of Daniel’s God (Dan.2:47, 3:28-29) – simply out of admiration of God. There are many today who are full of admiration for Jesus Christ. They are impressed with His teachings. They expressed wonder and amazement at his miraculous work. They quoted His sayings in their writings and speeches. They celebrated His birth and sympathized with His suffering and death. But these same people often stop short of recognizing Him as the only true God and do what He says.
Despite all the nice things that the king said about Daniel’s God, he was still the same Nebuchadnezzar – a haughty, self-sufficient, arrogant, and defiant ruler who exalted himself above everyone else, including God.
God does not only want Nebuchadnezzar to say the right thing. We find in Daniel 4:27 the response that God seeks – that the king would acknowledge his place before God, renounce his sins and pride, and turn to Him in repentance.
One day, while strolling on the roof of his palace like a proud peacock, the Nebuchadnezzar looked upon the city he had built and was filled with pride. The last time someone walked on the roof of his palace was king David. He looked across his palace and was filled with uncontrollable lust! Of course, the problem is not with the rooftop - there was nothing wrong with the roof. In both instances, the problem has to do with posture of the heart!
Finally God humbled Nebuchadnezzar by taking away his sanity and gave him the mind of a beast. Out in the field he lived like an animal, feeding on grass like an ox and soaked with the morning dew (Dan.4:28-33).
Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way. Some people are so strong-willed and bent on sin that they must suffer many things before they finally surrender to the Lord. God has a way of breaking the most stubborn human will and the most hardened human heart! He is a God who reigns over the best of men and the worst of men! Nebuchadnezzar’s story is kept and preserved for us today so that we might learn our lesson from him, rather than having to learn it the hard way.
Just as God humbled the pagan king Nebuchadnezzar, all the more He will humble those He loves! Many of us today may not be guilty of an out-right display of pride and arrogance similar to that of Nebuchadnezzar’s – but God sees through our false humility.
Whether it is an out-right display of pride or pride cloaked in false humility – we need to come clean before God in repentance and return the glory to Him.
Daniel chapter 4 ended with Nebuchadnezzar’s confession of faith:
As you read it, may I suggest that you take out his name from the final verse of Daniel chapter 4 and replace it with your name to make it your own confession of faith?
Now I, _________, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven,
for all his works are right and his ways are just;
and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”