Pride & Humility
Nebuchadnezzar was quite a guy- and he knew it! His massive kingdom, power and wealth were unprecedented. And as large as his kingdom was his vanity!
Pride and humility are two hot topics to be sure. What is pride? What is humility? Even their definition can leave us stymied. Knowing that we have need to know the answers to these questions, God has preserved the real-life account of a man who came to know both- intimately.
After hearing Daniel's interpretation of his first dream (Daniel chapter 2) wherein he is described as the "head of gold", Nebuchadnezzar apparently becomes enthralled with himself and erects a golden stature (ostensibly in his own honor). The ensuing conflict between the king and Daniel's companions leads to God's deliverance of them from the blazing furnace, but quickly segues into the scene wherein Nebuchadnezzar falls more deeply in love with himself!
Daniel chapter 4 is the first-person retrospective of Nebuchadnezzar himself after God gives him a lesson on pride and humility. It opens with his recounting of his second prophetic dream and Daniel's interpretation of it. The dream is a divine rebuke to the arrogance of the king along with Daniel's exhortation to turn from his "wickedness" in his treatment of the "oppressed". In this we find a practical definition of pride- simply valuing others as less then oneself. Pride is not self-confidence, nor is it satisfaction in accomplishments. Pride is the simple sin of looking at anyone else and saying, "I'm better than you!". THAT was Nebuchadnezzar's great sin.
Like any good "knucklehead", the king rejected Daniel's advice and went on his merry way, growing in his pride until one year later, God finally brought him up short! Driven into the wilderness to live like an animal for seven years, God removed all vestiges of pride from Nebuchadnezzar and helped him to see what he really was- an animal stripped of his kingly vestments!
Then, according to His grace, God restored the king's mind and gave him a perspective on genuine humility. How do we know? Again, all of chapter 4 is a kind of "confession" to that very fact.
I have said for sometime: "Humility is knowing who God Is, knowing who you are, and understanding the difference!" That was Nebuchadnezzar, when he finally concluded:
Daniel 4:37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.