Pride and Gifting; March 15, 2018

Daniel 4:37 “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.”

This whole passage from verse 28 on, and especially from verse 34 on, is remarkable in the extreme, and in sharp contrast to other court records of various nations of the time. It’s only parallel is in other books of the Old Testament. Frankly, negative or less-than-complimentary things simply weren’t said, much less recorded, about royalty in most of the nations of the day. That this frank record, and even personal confession, of one of the greatest emperors of human history was made and preserved in this form is without parallel outside of the Bible. Theologians of a century or more ago used this passage as an illustration of their position that the Bible was largely fiction, but more recent research has shown that there was indeed a 7-year hiatus in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, during which the empire was run by a regent who was not a relative. My personal conviction is that regent was none other than Daniel himself, because who else would have both preserved the empire and handed it back to Nebuchadnezzar when his sanity was restored? In any case, the point of the story being in the Bible is exactly what is said in this verse: God is able to humble anyone who walks in pride. Not everyone experiences it in this life, but there is certainly no room for personal pride before the judgment seat of God! King David of course experienced this in a painful way in relation to Bathsheba and her husband Uriah, and his confession is recorded as Psalm 51. We see pride manifested by public figures all the time, but we need to remember that the truth stated in this verse applies to everyone. Humility before God is always the best course.

As I am reminded frequently, pride has been a snare to me all my life, as I really think it is to just about everyone. The answer isn’t self-hatred or denying genuine gifts and ability, but rather recognizing that everything we have is from God, and He can take it back just as easily as He gave it, as Job recognized. (Job 1:21) I am to recognize both that everything I have is from God and that He has gifted everyone else, too, though He gifts no two people in exactly the same way. I am to recognize and honor and thank God for the gifts He has given to others, no less than for the gifts He has given to me. As a pastor, one of my tasks is to help people understand that God has gifted them and how He has gifted them, so that those gifts may be used as He intends to build up the Body of Christ. (Ephesians 2:10, 4:12) I am to honor God by honoring His children, helping them understand how much He loves them.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the book I read this week that helped me understand some of my mistakes as a pastor to this point. Thank You that I’ll be having a coaching session this afternoon to help me know how to deal with those issues. Help me go into that in full humility, allowing You to transform me as You know I need it, so that this church may be healed to be and do all that You intend, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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