King Nebuchadnezzar had no peers. He was the uncontested ruler of the world of the 6th century B.C. Babylon, his city, rose out of the desert plains like a Manhattan skyline. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which legend says he built for his wife, were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. His royal palace was immense. Its walls were 387 feet high and 87 feet thick. Four chariots abreast could ride on them. The mighty Euphrates flowed through the city. Its population reached two million people. It boasted temples, terraces, and palaces. All of this was under the 43-year dominion of Nebuchadnezzar. He was part oil baron, part royalty, part hedge fund billionaire. Were he alive today, he would dominate the Forbes list of billionaires. King Nebuchadnezzar was all about King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel was sent to warn him: when the mighty fall, the fall is mighty. But did Nebuchadnezzar listen? There is a modern ring to the Nebuchadnezzar story. We live in a day when people make a big deal out of themselves. Some have turned self-promotion into an art form. The apostle warned us this would happen. “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,” (2 Timothy 3:1-2) The King’s problem was pride.
Pride is the sin at the top of God’s hate list. Pride is an exaggerated and dishonest self-evaluation. It’s when we want people to believe something about us even though we know it isn’t true or is, at best, a gross inflation of some self-perceived virtue. Pride seeks value, honor, importance, reputation, and significance that aren’t deserved. Pride is an ego-motivated maneuver to hide from ourselves and others the truth about our inner reality. Nebuchadnezzar’s sin wasn’t that he knew he was talented. His problem was that he considered himself the source of his talent. He wanted the whole world to acknowledge his abilities, and he didn’t give credit to the thousands of talented laborers and craftsmen who actually built the city of Babylon, much less to God. Nebuchadnezzar took the gift of his life of abundance, success and riches for granted. He allowed pride to rule his life. He failed to acknowledge God as the one who bestowed on him his riches and power. The result of his foolish pride was that he fell from grace to grass.
May the Nebuchadnezzar story remind us: God controls human kingdoms and he has been known to humble the proud leader. Miss this message and prepare to fall. Receive it and prepare to be blessed.