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THE PRIDE TEST

October 31, 2015

PRIDE = A feeling that you are better or more important than other people. Unreasonable and inordinate self-esteem and your feelings of self-worth.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Among all the characters in the bible I feel Nebuchadnezzar is the best example to utilize in discussing the pride test, so allow me to share some of his story.
Nebuchadnezzar the son of Nabopolassar reigned as king in the Neo-Babylonian Empire from 605-562 B.C. He was known to be a brilliant strategist and warrior, and under his leadership he was able to invade and conqueror many nations. Unfortunately, Israel due to her continued disobedience to God’s laws was one of the nations that he conquered.
He strengthened and fortified Babylon by building the great wall and he beautified the city and formed the hanging gardens in his palace which was known as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It is said that Nebuchadnezzar’s greatest concern was for the great temple Marduk in Babylon; therefore during his reign he rebuilt it.
Daniel chapter 1 introduces us to Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were brought from Judah to Babylon and placed in a three year training program designed by Nebuchadnezzar. These young men completed the program without compromising their religious belief and were given positions in the king’s court.
Daniel chapter 2 shares Nebuchadnezzar’s dream which Daniel with the help of God was able to interpret. This dream disclosed information about four Gentile empires (Babylon, Media, Persia and Greece) and the coming kingdom of God.
Daniel chapter 3 shares the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being placed in a fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to a colossus golden image made by Nebuchadnezzar and how God miraculously delivered them.
In chapter 4 Nebuchadnezzar shares the event that changed his life. He begins and ends this chapter with a doxology praising God for greatness, power and sovereignty. Verses 4-5 states his reign as king had been prosperous and he was enjoying a time of peace when he has a dream about a tree. Once again when the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers could not interpret the dream Daniel was called in. Daniel interpreted the dream sharing the fact that the tree symbolized Nebuchadnezzar and his accomplishment in the earth and his worldwide empire; however, due to his haughty attitude, and irreverence to God he would become insane and live like an animal (zoanthropy) in the field for seven years before he regained his senses and kingdom. Daniel urged the king to repent, humble himself and change his ways; however, the king did not heed Daniel’s words and twelve months later when he spoke these words, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30) judgment fell. At the conclusion of his seven years of insanity, Nebuchadnezzar states, “I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase” (Daniels 4:34-37).
Nebuchadnezzar, egotism was his downfall. He failed to realize all of his accomplishments were orchestrated by God. He rejected sound advice and probably felt his achievements made him invincible; thusly he had to experience humiliation. When he was restored in mind and position he was able to share his testimony with the world and declare that God can humble the proud.
Finally, thank God for the bible that serves as a guide to believers on how to act, lest we be deceived. Lesson to learn: Passing the pride test is easy when we put God first and recognize all that we are and have comes from Him.

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