Monday, June 5, 2023

The Shame of Pride (Proverbs 11:2; Daniel 4)

"When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom" (Prov. 11:2).

Shame often treads upon the heels of pride. We find numerous examples of this in the Scriptures. The people who built a monument to their own glory at Babel were scattered (Gen. 11:4). When Miriam tried to exalt herself over Moses’ authority, she was struck with leprosy (Num. 12:2, 10). Haman’s boast earned him the hangman’s noose (Es. 5:11, 7:10). When Herod tried to steal God’s glory for himself, worms devoured his shameful carcass. God’s Word is true: “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled” (Luke 18:14; Isa. 2:17).

Nebuchadnezzar learned this lesson the hard way. As he walked along the royal corridors of his palace, he proclaimed, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” With the boast still on his lips, God pronounced, “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom had departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen, and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Dan. 4:30–32).

Nebuchadnezzar gloried in himself rather than glorifying God. How prevalent is this spirit today? Men and women sing their own praises, forgetting that everything they have received is from God, and that He alone is sovereign over all things and has the power to exalt or to humble. In Nebuchadnezzar’s case, he was brought as low as a human can go. “He was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.” Only when he “raised his eyes toward heaven” did he find restoration. Then he said, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (Dan. 4:37).

Like the restored Nebuchadnezzar, let each of us praise God and give Him the glory He deserves. If we honor Him, He will honor us. But if we exalt ourselves, we will be brought low.

Why is the sin of pride so grievous? Why do some say it is the root of all other sins? Why is it important to have a right understanding of man and God? How has pride brought shame upon you? Were you humbled by the experience or are you bitter against God? If you have not responded as Nebuchadnezzar did, do so today.