You need to have self-respect.
Take pride in your work.
Don’t have a low self-esteem!
You need to start by loving yourself.
Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are less of a person.
Look out for number one!
These are the positive messages that we hear every day. You need to take care of yourself. Be nice about it, but you need to have pride!
It is socially acceptable to be proud. It is even encouraged – so long as you’re nice about it – to have pride.
These messages are popular and many of them are well meaning. But what does God say?
All through the Holy Scriptures, God has one message about our pride. Our self-esteem. Our love for ourselves.
There is no doubt. God hates our pride.
The very first of the 10 Commandments says, “You shall have no God before me”. God alone needs to be the center of our worship. Our pride pulls God away and puts ourselves in His place.
Proverbs 6 tells of seven things that The Lord hates, with pride being first on the list.
In the New Testament, Acts 12 tells about the wicked king Herod being especially judged by God for being proud (he was eaten by worms).
But there may not be a more vivid example of pride than King Nebuchadnezzar.
Nebuchadnezzar had it all! He had conquered all of his enemies. He was king over all of the known world. He personally led the construction of the great city of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world. Now, later in his reign, he could finally rest and enjoy life.
It was at this time that Nebuchadnezzar had a terrifying dream. He saw a great tree which was tall and visible for all too see. The tree provided shelter and food for all living things. But then an angel from heaven came with an announcement. Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, but leave the stump protected. He will lose his sanity and live like an animal for seven years, until he knows that the Most High has all authority over the kingdom of men.
Anxious to know the meaning of this dream, the king called all of his advisors. Only Daniel was able to give an answer. Nebuchadnezzar is the great tree. He will soon lose his sanity, be driven from people, and will live like an animal. He will in that state for seven years until he recognizes the Most High God. Only God rules over the kingdom of men and gives the authority to whomever He wants.
Daniel followed his interpretation with advice to the king. Nebuchadnezzar needed to stop disobeying God and show justice and care for others. He needed to change his attitude and God might delay the impending disaster.
We do not know if Nebuchadnezzar showed any change of heart after this dream. Any remorse or changes in Nebuchadnezzar were only temporary. Exactly one year later, Nebuchadnezzar was on his rooftop looking at the great city of Babylon. Filled with pride over his accomplishments, he said, “Is this not my great Babylon, that I have built for myself and my own greatness?”
No sooner had the king of Babylon finished these words when there was a voice from heaven announcing the judgment from the Most High God. Nebuchadnezzar immediately lost his sanity and he was driven from the palace. The great king was reduced to living in the wild and eating grass for seven years.
Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity returned after seven years. Ha received back his mind, his kingdom, and his glory, but he learned his lesson. It was no longer all about him. From his own words,
I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,
for his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?”
- No matter how great we think we are, we are nothing compared to the Most High God!
- Our pride is an offense to God. When we lift ourselves up, we are not humble before God, nor are we giving Him the proper credit and glory.
- Every chapter in Daniel reiterates the same theme. God is the greatest. He is greater than any political, intellectual, or military power in this world. God wins!
Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” – 1 Peter 5:5
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