By Joe Chesser
King Nebuchadnezzar had a problem – himself. (Yes, he probably had another problem, too – learning to spell his name.) Not only was he a king, he was king of the most powerful nation on earth at the time. And, as often happens, power has a way of destroying a person. Although he wasn’t Jewish, he was still subject to the will of God, and God was using him to punish the unfaithful Jews. In rinsing to such a lofty position, Ole King Neb had become so proud of his power that he thought he was above God. In His mercy to King Neb, God sent him a dream and sent Daniel to interpret it for him. This is found in Daniel 4 so I’ll not go into all the details at this time. God even gave the king a year to repent and avoid the fulfillment of the dream. Instead, at the end of the twelve months, Nebuchadnezzar boasted, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (vs. 30).
The words were still on his lips when God stripped the mighty king of all his royal authority and drove him into wilderness to live with and like the wild animals, to eat grass like cattle (vs. 32). “His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird” (vs. 33). Not very kingly, is it? He had to live like this for as long as it took to acknowledged that God was sovereign over the nations and controlled who sat on the thrones of the world. When God wants to humble a person, He knows the best way to do so.
To his credit, King Neb finally got the point. He raised his eyes toward heaven and began to praise the Most High, to give Him honor and glory, and to acknowledge that He has the power to do as He pleases in both heaven and earth. And the amazing thing to me is that when King Neb finally humbled himself before the sovereign God, God restored the king to all his previous honor and splendor.
Yet, it was all so unnecessary. God wanted Nebuchadnezzar to be the king of the most powerful nation on earth. He wanted him to have honor and splendor. All the king had to do was to acknowledge that God was sovereign, not himself. And even when he didn’t, he was given time to change his mind. But instead, King Neb had to go through the painful, humiliating wilderness experience to learn to humble himself and lift up the Lord.
I wonder what God is withholding from us because of our pride? I wonder what blessings are in store for us when we pass the humility test? Perhaps the hardships we endure are lessons in humility. Hopefully, we can learn from the surprising experiences of Nebuchadnezzar to humble ourselves, and not have to be taught humility through our own difficulties. But either way, let’s be sure to humbly acknowledge that God alone is sovereign. To God be the Glory!
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.cofcfruitland.com/