“‘O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will.
“And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored… This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians…’ That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed.” Daniel 5:18-23,26-28,30
When pride is exposed (and it is the natural manner of many a regenerate soul), we have a choice: humble ourselves before the Almighty, or continue to contend with Him and pay. Daniel succinctly spells out the result of each for the pompous king, whose father had eventually grasped who was true King, and the unrepentant Belshazzar’s lot was determined by his hard heart and idolatry.
Pride never serves us well. We may think ourselves invincible, but God will break even the most haughty and bring us low. We will all one day be held to account, and not only our deeds but our motives and attitudes will be exposed. A sense of superiority, of swagger in authority, of ‘better’ because of our talents or position or resources, all calcify our spirits until we no longer recognize the rigid, indomitable idol we have made of self. (Proverbs 16:5,18; Romans 2:6; 14:12)
Any time we pompously worship the created (self) rather than the Creator, we set ourselves on a downward spiral toward destruction. Our ears stop to the Lord’s voice, and our eyesight distorts so we see ourselves as bigger than God and more important than those we are to serve. Our hearts harden to others’ needs and sorrows, arrogance and entitlement rule our minds. Our only hope is Jesus, whose humility won our salvation. Would we bow? (Proverbs 18:12; Romans 1:22-25; Philippians 2:5-11)
Lord, humble me before Your cross so I live in the shadow of its glory.