I guess the saying is true, “pride is like bad breath, you’re the last one to know when you have it.” Just recently I was talking with a guy who I’m going to be working with next year and after talking with him for a while I asked, ‘what do you think about me and the future of working together?’ To which he said something like, ‘I’m trying to figure out if you are teachable, if you are humble.’ This struck me to the core, and I began thinking about what we had talked about and how I had communicated to this guy. I began to realise the deeper I looked into myself the more pride I found!!
In my times with God each morning I have been reading through books of the bible and praying through the ideas and principles that God shows me at the time. Two days ago I was reading Daniel 4 and God today is still reminding me of what he said just a couple of days before.
The events that take place in Daniel 4 are pretty tragic as one king, King Nebuchadnezzar, is stripped of his kingship, his comfort, his glory, his fame, his possessions and his mind. Daniel says to the king that, “you will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven.” (Dan. 4:25a)
Wow! That’s pretty harsh God, why would you do such a thing?
Reading further in the same verse Daniel gives the reason, “seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.” (Dan. 4:25b) Here is a direct link between humility and right standing with God. There is a connection between acknowledging who God is and who we are not. When humans surrender their lives before God, he raises us up. When we raise ourselves up, for the benefit of others, God must take us down. God does this in order to protect us, because the truth is we can’t handle the position of God, it is damaging for us.
At the end of chapter 4, Nebuchadnezzar is restored back as king and here are the striking words he speaks:
“At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honour and splendour were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. 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.” (Dan. 4:36-37)
I read this and think, isn’t humility a powerful thing? However, then I begin to ask a more telling and challenging question…
Have I been about the business of exalting God, and understanding how small I am compared to him? Or have I been busy exalting myself and setting myself up as God?
We all have to ask ourselves regularly, who or what am I living for? Because the last sentence of Daniel 4 is a very scary one for those of us who have a pride issue!!
“And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.”