Open Your Bible
Daniel 4:1-37, Proverbs 16:18, 1 Corinthians 1:28-29
At the core of our faith, we Christians believe that the Triune God is the one, true ruler of the universe. At least that is what we confess with our mouths. But if we’re honest, it’s not always how we order our lives, is it? If you don’t struggle with remembering that only God is God, consider yourself blessed with humility. But if you’re anything like me, it’s easy to slip into acting like you’re in control of your successes and failures—taking credit when things go well, spinning your wheels when things unravel.
It’s the original sin in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3), and the one that still haunts us today. When Eve grabbed the fruit, she grabbed at God’s throne. Despite the fact that she was living in paradise with her perfect mate, she wanted more. And we do the same: all too often, we grab at God’s power and we claim God’s glory.
Not in an obvious way, though. Not like King Nebuchadnezzar who literally claimed he built Babylon by his “vast power” for his “majestic glory” (Daniel 4:30). Cue the eye roll. That guy was so full of himself, it’s hard to feel bad for him when he ends up eating grass (v.25).
While we probably wouldn’t say anything that arrogant out loud, we harbor the same sin of pride in our hearts. Maybe that’s why things like the story of Nebuchadnezzar and the proverb’s warning that “pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before the fall” (Proverbs 16:18) always seem to spook me a little; because I know I’m a sinner, and I don’t want to wind up eating grass too.
Thank goodness, God is gracious. In His plan for Nebuchadnezzar, we see God intended to show the king mercy. God left the root intact when He chopped Nebuchadnezzar down like a tree. Daniel interpreted that to mean that God would restore Nebuchadnezzar as soon as he turned from his sin and proclaimed God’s rule (Daniel 4:26). This story is a reminder that God is more compassionate than we can imagine. Because we are covered by the blood of Jesus, “He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve” (Psalm 103:10).
In remembering God’s graciousness to me, I can’t help but remember what a better Lord He is over my life than I could ever be. We can serve our sinful selves or we can serve the most loving God. When we think about it that way, it’s an easy choice. God’s ways are so much better than our own (Isaiah 55:8–9). We can learn the hard way and find ourselves face down in the grass, or we can choose each day to proclaim the truth that “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation” (Daniel 4:34). Therefore, “let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1Corinthians 1:31).