During the time of Israel’s captivity in Babylon, there were four kings that had a very strong spirit of pride, but Daniel was a great influence on all four. The first king we are going to look at is King Nebuchadnezzar. The Israelite’s ended up being in captivity for 70 years physically, but God did not want them to be held captive spiritually.
Pride is one of the first attacks the enemy will come with when he wants to destroy the purpose of God. Pride was the cause of Lucifer being kicked out of heaven. The first way Satan will attack is by:
Not Giving God the Glory
By not giving God the Glory, we allow the enemy to get a foothold in our lives. We look at what we have or what we have done and think we did it “All by ourselves!”
Daniel 1:1 – In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. (Verse 2) And the Lord gave Jehoiakim, king of Judah into his hand, with some articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure-house of his god.
This verse is very plain when it says, “And the Lord gave Jehoiakim, king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.” However, Nebuchadnezzar took all the credit. There was no acknowledgment of God whatsoever. This whole attack on Israel was set up by God to discipline God’s people not punish them.
1 Corinthians 15:10 – But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
By God’s grace, we are able to do what we do, even though we work very hard to obtain it. We did not control which two people would give birth to us; we did not control what kind of environment we would start our lives; or what part of the earth we would be born in, let alone what time in history we would be born. God controls all of that. So, when we have success in our lives, why not give God the glory for that accomplishment? And if we live to be a very old age, is that not also by the grace of God?
Daniel 1:3 – Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of the eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, (Verse 4) young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge, and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldean’s.
Satan is always trying to teach the next generation a different language and literature. Even now, he has changed the meaning of words and he’s trying to tell the next generation, that is not what our “founding fathers” meant when they wrote our constitution. But our founding fathers did mean for us to have freedom “OF” religion, not freedom “From” religion. The government is not to tell us how or when to worship.
Daniel 1:6 – Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. (Verse 7) To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.
Then Nebuchadnezzar has a dream, and he calls his wise men in and tells them to not only tell him the interpretation, but tell him what he has dreamed. He didn’t recognize the supernatural, because he thought, if you are intelligent , anyone could do it. But his wise-men told him that it was impossible to do this.
So the king sends out a decree that all his wise men will be killed, including Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. But Daniel said, “Hold on a minute.” and Daniel sent word to the king that his God could tell him the dream and interpret it. So Daniel is brought in front of the king: Daniel 2:26 – The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?” (Verse 27) Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. (Verse 28) “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made know to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these:
There is a part that we play in God’s divine plan, but we need to have a humble spirit like Daniel. There are those who have a false sense of humility too when they say, “Oh, it was all God, I didn’t have anything to do with it.” There is a danger also when people don’t reject the glory that men give them:
Not Rejecting The Glory Of Men
People will try to give you glory for what you do for God and some will take that glory with a spirit of pride. Yes, it is fine to honor someone for a great accomplishment, but there is only one person who gets glory and He shares His glory with no one! That is what Lucifer tried to do when he led heaven in worship. He wanted some of that glory that was given to God.
So, Daniel interprets this dream and part of this dream is about a figure of a man and its the kingdom. He talks about the future kingdoms and goes on all the way down to the feet of clay of the statue. Then Nebuchadnezzar tells Daniel that, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of Kings, and revealer of secrets. Then the king promoted Daniel. and then: Daniel 3:1 – Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
Then Nebuchadnezzar puts out a decree that whenever they heard music, all people will fall down and worship the gold image. After Daniel interpreted the dream, he was promoted. Daniel could have taken that glory with pride, but he didn’t and neither did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.
Do you ever notice people in leadership who seem to have their heads above everyone else? They have taken their position and let it go to their head. I have seen this so many times in a body of believers and before long they are no longer in that position. Most of the time they get mad and leave the church because they cannot take correction.
Then it was reported to the king that these three Hebrew boys would not bow down to the image. So the king orders these three to be brought before him. He gives them a chance to bow down before the golden image, but they refuse.
Daniel 3:15 – “But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands.
This is an example of someone in position, a high position, that gave a command and has defiance put in his face, so he gets furious. I’ve been around people like this. It is not a pretty sight, but yet they don’t see anything wrong with their attitude and neither did Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel 3:19 – Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Therefore he spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it usually heated.
Daniel 3:21, 22 – Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. (Verse 22) Therefore because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.
Did the king and the others that were watching not see that the men who took the three Hebrews up to throw them in the fire, burned up but the boys did not? Would that have not made a person stop and know that there was something supernatural happening?
Daniel 3:24 – Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O King.” (Verse 25) “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
When the enemy tries to hurt God’s children, the only thing that will be burned up is the “ropes” that bind us, whatever that may be. Jesus was in the fire with them, and He will be in any fire we go through.
Keep in mind: Nebuchadnezzar was not a Jew, but yet God kept trying to get through to him. After this ordeal with the fire, Nebuchadnezzar puts out a declaration that the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, is the true God, and from now on, everyone has to worship Him, however, this did not last.
God gives people not only a second chance, but over and over He gives chances to come to Him. No matter what a person has done in their past, God is still trying to reach them because He loves them. Another seduction of pride is not speaking humbly.
Not Speaking Humbly
We can train our-self to “speak humbly.” Nebuchadnezzar has another dream in Daniel, Chapter 4, and the dream is about him, and God is actually going to humble him. Then Daniel tells the king this dream is going to happen in 12 months. And the way God humbles the king is that he went crazy in the head and ate grass for seven years. I don’t think any of us want to push it that far, so we can humble ourselves.
Daniel 4:29 – At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. (Verse 30) The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for honor of my majesty?” (Verse 31) While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken; the kingdom has departed from you! (Verse 32) And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the fields. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” (Verse 33) That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
Why is it so important to watch what we say? Because of Matthew 12:34 – “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
We all say stupid things at one time or another, but this Scripture uses the word “abundance” of the heart. We’ve taken this to mean, whatever is in your heart, it will come out of your mouth. This Scripture is talking about “What we say in abundance.” It is what is in “abundance” in our heart. If there is an abundance of prideful, arrogance statements coming out of our mouth, then that tells us there is an abundance of pride in our heart! And let me be clear: God will deal with that! God will and does humble the ones that exalt themselves.
Daniel 4:34 – And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. (As soon as He turns to God and praises Him, God heals him.) (Verse 35) All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” (Verse 36) At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. (Verse 37) Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to abase.
Now that’s recognizing the God of all. God restored the prideful Nebuchadnezzar and God will restore each one of us that might get a spirit of pride. We will have warnings just as this king was given warnings. Pay attention when you hear yourself boasting about something. That is treading on thin ice.