Day by Day by Grace
by Pastor Bob Hoekstra
Sunday, September 24th
Nebuchadnezzar Exemplifying God's Grace for Humility
And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever . . . He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth . . . At the same time . . . I was restored to my kingdom . . . Now I . . . praise and extol and honor the King of heaven . . . and those who walk in pride He is able to abase. (Daniel 4:34-37)
When Nebuchadnezzar exalted himself, he exemplified God's opposition to pride. "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty? . . . a voice fell from heaven . . . 'the kingdom has departed from you' " (Daniel 4:30-31). When he humbled himself, he exemplified God's grace for humility. "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5).
Nebuchadnezzar had been driven into the fields to live as an animal. "That very hour the word was fulfilled . . . he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen . . . till his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws" (Daniel 4:33). This season of God's opposition for Nebuchadnezzar's pride would end when he looked to the Lord above. "And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me." Now, with his mind enabled to think clearly, he began to give blessing and praise and honor to the Lord God Most High. "And I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever."
This represented a completely transformed perspective for the king. Previously, he was glorifying himself. Now, he glorified the Lord. Previously, he thought he had established himself upon his throne. Now, he saw the will of God behind his ascendancy to power. "He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth." The Lord then granted grace to this humbled king, who had formerly walked in rebellious pride. "At the same time . . . I was restored to my kingdom." Seated again in authority, he gave honor to the King of heaven (instead of to the king of Babylon). "Now I . . . praise and extol and honor the King of heaven." Then, he added a remark that reveals the new conviction he received during his humbling. "And those who walk in pride He is able to abase."
Lord God Most High, I confess that I have had moments of success which I wrongly assumed were of my doing. Thank You for the grace You have always given when I humbly turned to honor You again. Lord, help me to keep my eyes consistently toward heaven that I might think clearly and give You all glory and praise day by day, Amen.