The Ugliness of Pride - part 1

by Wayne Barber

It is no coincidence that the middle letter of the word sin and the middle letter of the word pride is the letter "I." When we, as believers foolishly choose to obey the desires of our flesh then self becomes the king of our life and pride has filled our lives. Our lives are no longer about Christ and His Lordship over us! Instead, life is now all about us and what we want! Self is now on the throne. The words "pride" and "proud" are found 94 times in the Bible, and never in a good way. Probably the most important one to us is the one found in James 4:6, which says "But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." The word "opposed" is antitasso, which means literally to position oneself up against, in order to resist what the proud person is seeking to do. Pride is self and self is sin. Sin will take you further than you ever wanted to stray; keep you longer than you ever intended to stay; and cost you more than you ever dreamed you'd pay!

We find a great example of pride in the Book of Daniel, about a proud pagan king by the name of Nebuchadnezzar. In chapter 2, the king had a dream which troubled him, but he couldn't remember it when morning came. Daniel alone was able to remind Nebuchadnezzar his dream was about a giant statue of a man. And when he then told the interpretation, which revealed the "doomed" history of the proud gentile nations all the way through the latter days, Nebuchadnezzar was awestruck-so much so that he considered that Daniel was some sort of god and he fell on his face before him

What an interesting turn of events! One minute Nebuchadnezzar was ready to  kill all the magicians and soothsayers, including Daniel, and the next minute he is prostrate before him in an act of great respect. Daniel doesn't protest but in no way is this pride on his part! The reason he was quiet was probably because he was wise enough to keep his mouth shut at that moment. There are times to speak and there are times not to speak. Now, The king recognized how Daniel's God had worked in his life to reveal the dream and it's interpretation.  He acknowledges this in verse 2:47: "The king answered Daniel and said, Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery." Does Nebuchadnezzar become a believer here? Absolutely not! Yes, he was convinced that God was a great god, but being convinced of that and being convicted to forever bow before Him are two different things. It doesn't take long in the text to see that his god is himself.

Daniel is honored greatly with a huge promotion: in "Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon" (2:48). But, he doesn't forget his friends! "And Daniel made request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel was at the king's court" (v. 49).  I love the humility and the loyalty of Daniel to his God and to his friends!

Well, ole Nebuchadnezzar is quite the contrast to this godly young man. He is a proud dude! He likes being the "head of gold" on the statue, representing the history of all Gentile kingdoms. In fact, in chapter 3 he builds a statue of his own to himself! This leads us into chapter 3 of Daniel and into one of the most incredible illustrations of what pride is that you can find! Pride is so strong that it can even deny God's authority in one's life!

In the following articles we will look at pride in it's clearest form!

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