Celebration of Modesty: King Demoted - 9 May 2019

Louise Gevers

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)

There may be rugby players who would like the nickname “Ox”, but they would certainly not appreciate eating a diet of grass to earn that title. A vast difference lies between holding a title and actually doing what is required to earn the right to do so; and the ruler may not always be wiser than his advisor, or as modest. In certain situations it’s only God’s wisdom and goodness that restore the balance when priorities become distorted.

We read how King Nebuchadnezzar had praised God as “the God above all gods” after He made Himself known to him through Daniel and had solved his problem; but as Nebuchadnezzar grew in splendour, so did his pride. Sometimes, when we’re more mature, we wish wecould go back to school to re-learn knowledge from our current, more enlightened perspective; but that’s seldom possible. Nebuchadnezzar had no such desires, but at a time when he’d become so conceited about his own talent and was brimming with self- importance, God decided for him that he needed seven years time-out – to change his heart.

Seven years is a long time by anyone’s standards. It’s the length that a baby takes to grow and develop into an eager seven-year-old, launched into school, or for the first avocado pears to appear on the tree after planting, but is well worth the reward.

After Daniel interpreted another dream for Nebuchadnezzar, he immediately advised, “O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.” (Daniel 4:27) But Nebuchadnezzar was unwilling to humble himself, and later said whilst strolling on the roof of his palace, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30)

God had blessed both Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel in different ways; however, Nebuchadnezzar’s arrogance stopped him from admitting the true source of his blessing. God therefore humbled him by literally making him eat grass like an ox for seven years. Cast out from human society, Nebuchadnezzar slowly came to his senses, and later returned with a new and contented attitude: “I praised the Supreme God and gave honour and glory to the one who lives forever.” (Daniel 4:34)

God gives each person the opportunity to make something of his life, regardless of circumstances. Daniel embraced his modest position and grew in stature, whereas Nebuchadnezzar needed demotion before he could celebrate what God had given him. “I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” (Daniel 4:36-37) As for Daniel, he continued to live an exemplary life, blessed by God.

Prayer: Father, We’re no different from Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar. Bless us with the wisdom and faith to rise above our circumstances, modest or great, and to live humbly to glorify You by your grace. Amen

Go to top