4/10/19– Nebuchadnezzar

Pastor DaronCrossLife Blog

Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest king of ancient Babylon, defeated all other world powers, and thus controlled all the trade routes from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. He collected tolls and taxes to create the city-state of Babylon, later recognized as a wonder of the world. Nebuchadnezzar employed a vast army of slave labor to build his city walls so thick that chariot races were conducted around the tops. The bricks of the walls were glazed in bright blue and bore the inscription, “I am Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.”

Nebuchadnezzar’s pride forgot about God’s Word, God’s warnings and God’s uncompromising will to be number one. So, for the next seven years, God forced Nebuchadnezzar to live like an animal in the wild, his mind warped, his body contorted, until he confessed God as “Most High.”

“I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever” (Daniel 4:34).

In what moments do you get caught up in yourself more than God? Here are some questions to ask to help you answer that question:

How wise am I in my own eyes? Can people offer me criticism without the hair on the back of my neck standing up in paralyzing fear or angry defensiveness?

When God gives me good things—skills and talents, income, time, transportation, home, family—do they help me give honor to God and serve his kingdom, or do I use them to serve my own kingdom where I call the shots my way? Do I appreciate God’s things more than God?

When God gives me a warning—like any of the Ten Commandments, a close call that makes me rethink priorities, a friend who cares enough to confront me about bad behavior, Sunday morning Word of God, a parent or boss or church who disciplines—do I dismiss it? “That’s for others. I don’t need it. I’m good. They’re the problem.”

When somebody else gets reward or recognition instead of me, when someone else succeeds at something I’m trying to do, someone else gets offered the position instead of me, someone else is chosen, am I always happy for them, or do I sometimes scowl, make a stink, maybe even cut them down.

Self-importance out of control. Pride. Listen carefully to this final lesson from Nebuchadnezzar, reflecting on his personal encounter with the Lord God, “Those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (Daniel 4:37).

God hates self-important pride. So the Most High God himself stooped low and suffered humiliation. The King became the Servant. The Holy Christ became a condemned, crucified criminal. He radically surrendered all his power and authority and became like an animal, the sacrificial Lamb. He didn’t just lose his mind, he lost his life. For you. He’s crazy about you. He’s radically in love with you. He will do anything for you. And he wants to be your number one, your Most High.

Praise him today by humbling yourself, becoming less self-important and controlling, and trusting his grace and glory as your greatest honor.

PRAYER: Dear God, I am too important in my own eyes. This prevents me from seeing you, seeking your blessings, and serving others. You are Most High. Thank you for coming low to save me from myself. Amen.

FURTHER MEDITATION: Spend 20 minutes today reading this story in Daniel chapter 4. Then meditate on these two thoughts:

  1. God will put up with a lot of things in the human heart. But second place is not one of them.
  2. Take note of the towering tree in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, cut down to a stump and shackled in place. For all who repent, there is another tree. It stands taller than all others, and spreads out over all creation. It has no leaves or limbs. It was just two beams, one going up from earth to the highest heaven, and one stretching across the entire world. That tree is the cross of Jesus Christ.