Let us live not as those puffed up with pride like Nebuchadnezzar, but as those who are aware of our great and powerful God, who is good and just and governs all things and loves us. Find your joy, peace, security, and significance in Christ Jesus, the Son of God.
You may remember Nebuchadnezzar for capturing young men from Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (commonly known by their names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; see Dan. 1:7) and later throwing three of them into the fiery furnace (Dan. 3:20).
Yet, Nebuchadnezzar also was the Babylonian king who had a unique encounter with the power of God and shared his firsthand story with us. We can benefit from his story. Nebuchadnezzar was the king who had it all, but God took it all from him to teach him not only the danger of pride but also that humility is the posture we all should have before a good God who governs all things, all peoples, and all circumstances.
Nebuchadnezzar took all the credit.
Nebuchadnezzar had issues with pride. He had accomplished a lot in his lifetime—including conquering many nations, building a powerful and feared kingdom, accumulating much wealth, and being a feared king and ruler. He thought very highly of himself and couldn’t see that all these things had been permitted by God and that he was still only a man of God’s creation and subject to God, the great king of the universe.
Instead of giving thanks to God, Nebuchadnezzar, in his pride, took all the credit: “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” (Dan. 4:30, emphasis added).
We have issues with pride.
While we do not rule vast nations and hold impressive wealth, we too can be guilty of self-aggrandizing pride, thinking we have accomplished good things through our hard work and not seeing God as the one who has enabled, strengthened, and blessed our work is pride.
We may think that we made our kids successful and upright, gained wealth because of our work ethic, or are financially safe because we did x, y, and z. And in all this we do not give God the glory that is due to him. We do not recognize that only through God’s blessing did any of our efforts yield good results.
God humbled Nebuchadnezzar.
In Daniel 4 Nebuchadnezzar learned that God truly is the one in control.