Pride is a self-defense mechanism to compensate for feelings of inferiority or worthlessness. In one ditch on the side of the road to health are feelings of inferiority and on the other side is the ditch of pride. King Nebuchadnezzar was the greatest of the Babylonian kings. His name means, “Nebo is the protector from misfortune.” It is the job of our self to protect us and insure that our needs are met. Because pride extols the self over God and takes credit for what God has done, God resists it and gives grace to the humble. A humble person is one that rightly evaluates himself and sees that God made him, has given him what he has, has promoted him; and therefore, he is completely dependent on God.
1. The temptation to be proud comes when we think things are going good for us or when we are feeling insecure. As we have seen, Nebuchadnezzar stands for the self. He was at rest and flourishing.
Da 4:4 I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:
2. God warns us against pride. People of the world (the wisemen of Babylon) cannot understand the warnings against pride (the dream), since they also rely totally on themselves and are proud of what they accomplish.
Da 4:5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 6 Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream. 7 Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.
3. The spirit, which includes our conscience, will warn us against pride. Here Daniel stands for our spirit as indicated in the verses below. We will have conviction in our spirit when we begin to brag or act arrogantly.
Da 4:9 O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.
4. The temptation to be proud begins with a false evaluation of our importance to ourselves and others.
Da 4:10 Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. 11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: 12 The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.
5. God watches for pride and will make sure that it does not continue for long. The very things that we have pride in will be taken from us.
Da 4:13 I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; 14 He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:
6. Because God still cares for us, he will give us a chance to recover if we will repent and turn from our pride. Iron usually stands for irresistible power and brass stands for shame. Grass stands for weakness and instability. Dew stands for gracious refreshing blessings. Therefore, these verses are telling us that God’s power to put down pride is irresistible and ends in our shame. He makes the proud person feel weak and unstable, but showers him with gracious refreshing when he repents. Instead of being brilliant, he will find himself acting more like an animal just meeting the basest of needs. Seven stands for completeness. God’s judgment of pride will end when it has been completely irradiated.
Da 4:15 Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: 16 Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.
7. God resists pride so that we realize that we cannot be our own God; and that promotion comes from God, not from our own intelligence or efforts. God can accomplish his wishes even through the basest of men if he chooses to do so. As we know, at one point God even used a donkey to speak for Him. (Numbers 22:28)
Da 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
8. When the human spirit realizes that the self is about to be humbled because of pride, it is distraught. This humbling seems to the spirit (Daniel) as a negative event to be wished on one’s enemies.
Da 4:18 This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee. 19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.
9. If we fall into pride, we will be humbled. Complete recovery requires that we realize that we are weak as grass “that passesth away,” we exist only by the grace of God (dew), we grow our faith in God (hair), and we become strong in Him (claws).
Da 4:33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.
10. We have real understanding only when we realize who we are in God’s sight and thank God for all that He has done for us. We must realize that all of us are really nothing without God and that we do not have a right to question anything He does.
Da 4:34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
11. When we confront our pride and repent, God will restore and uplift us (our self) again, since we are now willing to obey God and rely on Him in faith.
Da 4:36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.
Steps for Overcoming Pride
1. We must understand that pride is a self-defense mechanism against low self-worth, and an attempt of the self to meet its need to feel valuable. We are tempted to be prideful when things are going well or when we are feeling insecure.
2. We must realize that pride is a statement to God that we can handle life on our own without His help. Therefore, God will withdraw His help and protection, and will let us live our life without His help until we repent.
8. We must repent, ask for forgiveness, give all the glory to God, and deal with our underlying problem of self-worth. When we humble ourselves, God will uplift us and restore us to our rightful place.
3. God sees pride as a very serious sin, because it is the sin of rebellion which was authored by Satan when he led a third of the angels to rebel against God.
4. Therefore, God actively resists proud people and gives unmerited favor to those who humble themselves. Humility is not putting ourselves down but an honest evaluation of ourselves from God’s point of view.
5. Prideful people believe the lie of the world that their worth is based on their performance, and they are deluding themselves that who they are and what they do on this earth is of great value without God. The Bible states that those who compare themselves with others are not wise.
6. If we do not repent and humble ourselves immediately, we will bring disaster upon ourselves and will be brought low with shame, experience how weak we really are, and may even feel and act like a brute beast.
7. Until we realize that our very existence, everything we have, and even our promotion comes from God, and give the glory to God, our way of thinking and viewing life will be distorted.