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Humility and Pride - Part 1*

Bad King is Humbled

Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful and ruthless King who ruled a vast and great empire. At his command people were dispatched, by his authority nations were defeated. He feared no-one and nothing. He was 'god'.

One day while walking on his palace rooftop he stopped to survey and admire his greatness. Gazing at his expanding Kingdom before him he spoke with confident pride: 'Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?'

Before he could continue in his self praise he is silenced by the voice of the one and only true God: 'This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals and eat grass like an ox. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all the Kingdoms on earth and he gives them to anyone he wishes.' And that's what happened, the King is humbled.

A King like me

We may not own lands and rule people like Nebuchadnezzar, but we all play the part: 'Is not the house I live in, the job I have, the health I enjoy, all by my mighty power and for the glory of self?' If we should learn anything from the last six months it's that we are not in control of our life, our jobs or our health. Covid 19 should humble us before our creator God. What we have is only because he has given it and he has the right to take away what he please because he owns it.

We need to be careful we don't lose perspective: 'Nebuchadnezzar lost perspective and forgot who is Lord. He looked at his power and affluence through human eyes only. Through human eyes it looked as though he were the one who had built the most powerful nation on earth. By claiming he had built Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar was essentially removing God from his throne and taking his seat there instead. Nebuchadnezzar learns the hard way that our King is all powerful, all knowing and all wise.' (Matthew Barrett)

Any such boasting is pushing God off his throne and taking his seat.

Worship the true King

Yet God's humbling was God's grace to Nebuchadnezzar. After his season of humbling Nebuchadnezzar responds: 'Then I praised the Most High; I honoured and glorified him who lives for ever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarding as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No-one can hold back his hand or say to him: What have you done?' Covid 19 should humble us before our eternal creator God, who rules over all things and all people and who does all things according to his will. It should cause us, like Nebuchadnezzar to bow in worship and praise the one who lives forever.

*Reflections from: 'None Greater' by Matthew Barrett

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