Men have nothing to boast of worldly success and material possessions… even big conglomerates are struggling. Many restaurants – big or small closing shop one by one. The pandemic shows us: man cannot boast in the ‘successful’ work of his hands. Nothing in the material world lasts: money, power, fame, career…
King Nebuchadnezzar and King Belshazzar were 2 great kings of the powerful Babylonian empire in world history. Daniel 4 & 5 recorded how God brought them down because of their pride.
Here’s what Daniel told King Bel (5:18-21)
“Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendour. Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes. (Read Daniel 4 for more background.)
Here’s King Bel’s story in Daniel 5:22-30
“But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honour the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription. “This is the inscription that was written:
mene, mene, tekel, parsin “Here is what these words mean:
Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, 31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.
Truths in this story:
1) v. 18 the Most High God gave … all that the king had, his power, his position, his sovereignty came from the Most High Powerful, Sovereign God.
2) v.20 the arrogant king with hardened heart of pride… had to be taught a lesson in humility! How? v. 21a He had to be “given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven”
3) What for? until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes. v.21b
Lessons to remember:
1) God is Most High Sovereign God. All power, wealth, good things come from Him.
2) There is no place for man to be proud and arrogant for what he has. Not even great mighty kings have the right for pride in their hearts.
3) What God says, He always brings to pass. His Word never fails.
4) God’s purpose is to draw man to him – for man to know Him as the Most High God sovereign over all kingdoms on earth.
Musings on Pride and Humility:
Humility is something I lost when i think I have it.
To be humble is not about feeling inferior. The humble knows his worth in God and God alone. The inferior feels he is less worthy than other people.
Lessons in humility are often learned painfully. Nothing hurts more than wounded pride.
The first step to learn humility is to admit that I’m proud.
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6
To be humble is to be fully dependent on God, acknowledging that all the good in me, the good things and blessings I have come from Him and Him alone.
Humility is never a destination where I arrived but a life long journey.
Make me a servant, humble and meek. Lord, let me lift up those who are weak. And may the prayer of my heart always be: Make me a servant, today.