God Transforms Even the Most Unlikely of Characters
In many ways Nebuchadnezzar the king epitomises the attitude of our generation. Taking pride in his own ability to manage his affairs, he put himself first. Instead of attributing his success to his Maker and worshipping Him, he became inflated with pride. Our culture encourages us to think ‘I believe in myself, I can do it’. Confidence in our own ability to deal with all the affairs of our lives is instilled into us. Everything in our culture encourages self-promotion, self-assertion, and self-reliance.
It took God to humble Nebuchadnezzar in ways he could never have foreseen that eventually brought him to his senses. Sometimes, the unheralded arrival of the harsh realities of life into an otherwise untroubled existence causes great soul searching and may begin the journey of faith. This was Nebuchadnezzar’s experience and he summarises his experience in one of the great personal testimonies of all time - ‘[All] those who walk in pride, [God] is able to humble’ (4: 37). When you encounter proud, difficult and ruthless people, like Nebuchadnezzar as he used to be, think of this.
Never underestimate the power of God’s Spirit to convict people of their sin and bring them to faith (see John 16: 8 - 11). Although we should respect and pray for those who hold high office in the world, we should never be overawed by them. God can bring them very low indeed if they abuse their mandate.
And each of us should be careful not to fall into the same trap as Nebuchadnezzar. It is easy to ignore God when He is closest to us, and be driven into the experience of desolation. God wants us to respond to Him through the Cross of Christ, where all pride ends and repentance begins. Nebuchadnezzar eventually realised that all the signs in his life, the dreams and the miracles, pointed to the one true God. And the same is true of the circumstances of your life and mine. If you don’t know Him, He wants to know you. He loves you and through the Cross of Christ invites you to respond.
Prayer and Action
Ask God to help you live an example of true love and humility towards others. Ask Him for the opportunity to bring the cross of Christ into your conversations today.
Use the words of John 16: 8 - 11 to pray for any proud, difficult or ruthless people known to you.