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This past weekend, we continued our series, “Revealer of Mysteries: A Study Through Daniel,” as Pastor Doug Sauder shared from Daniel 4. In this message, we dove into one of the most interesting chapters in all the Bible, a chapter written by pagan King Nebuchadnezzar which gives us a firsthand view of where pride ultimately leads. We also get to see God’s gracious hand and power to restore!
Watch the video below to see a few highlights from the teaching and share it with your friends via social media. To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
Let’s recap some of the key talking points from Pastor Doug’s message this weekend:
Pride Makes You Think You Are in Control (Daniel 4:1–27): As we can see from Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar doesn’t particularly care for the interpretation of his dream in Daniel 2. So, he had a statue constructed of himself that was entirely made of gold, as opposed to just the head of gold. In his pride, vanity, and arrogance, he was ascribing deity to himself, claiming he would rule forever. He was saying to God, “I am in control.” But very few things in life are clearer than the hard to stomach truth that we are, in fact, not in control.
Control is a myth. And the sooner we come to grips with the fact that we are not in control, that God IS in control, the better it will be for us! Why? Because there is incredible freedom in knowing that we’re not in control; that the world does not depend on us to keep spinning. It is freeing to know that we have a God who is sovereign over all, and that His will and purposes are being worked out in the world.
Nebuchadnezzar did not live this way. He refused to believe that he wasn’t in control. In his pride, he was blind to the truth of God. So, God informed Nebuchadnezzar through a dream—which was interpreted by Daniel—that he would be humbled, cut down, and cast out to live like an animal. There is a strong parallel here to Romans 1:18–32.
Pride Blinds You to the Needs of Others: Pride makes us look at life and say, “I am owed this. I deserve this.” It creates an entitlement and presumption. It fosters in us a way of life that is supremely interested in how things will serve us, how things will benefit us, and how they impact us. It is not concerned with serving others, meeting the needs of others, or how our actions, words, and attitude impact others. Pride saps us of empathy. Why? Because we are so consumed with our own wants and desires that we don’t care to notice the needs or pains of others.
True empathy, humility, and others-centric servant heartedness are exhibited clearly in the character of God, who identifies with His lowly people in suffering. He appears to them in their suffering and rescues them.
Pride Makes You Resistant to Feedback: King Nebuchadnezzar could have been shown mercy and been forgiven of his offenses and pride. All he had to do was “break off [his] sins by being righteous, and [his] iniquities by showing mercy to the poor” (Daniel 4:27 NKJV). This is the wise counsel given to Nebuchadnezzar by Daniel, who had clearly grown fond of the king and didn’t desire for him to be brought so low. But the king’s pride wouldn’t allow him to humble himself before the Lord, and thus he was humbled by the Lord as He had his great tree cut down to a stump (Daniel 4:23). And in that we see the lesson that sometimes we need to be brought low by the Lord, to the point where our pride breaks and we have no other choice but to humble ourselves before the mighty hand of God.
How do you respond to feedback? Are you resistant to counsel? Are you threatened by constructive criticism and closed off to accountability and loving rebuke? These are symptoms of a deeply rooted pride issue.
Pride Tricks You into Taking Credit or Shifting Blame (Daniel 4:28–33): It’s clear that King Nebuchadnezzar did not act on Daniel’s wise counsel. How do we know this? Because in verse 30 he says, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” He still didn’t get it. He still didn’t understand that it is God who gives authority and takes it away, it is God who dwells in mighty power, and it is God—and only God—who is majestic and deserving of honor and praise. Instead of acknowledging in gratitude and humility that all he had was given to him by the Lord, he continues to fool himself into thinking he deserves the credit.
This is how pride works! It creates entitlement in us because it fools us into thinking we deserve what we want; that we are owed. In pride, we take credit for the work God has empowered and equipped us to accomplish, and we look down on others because of it. Pride builds walls and causes strife between us and God, as well as us and our fellow man. It defaces our humanity and, as we see with Nebuchadnezzar, turns us into animals without conscience, compassion, or care for anything or anyone but ourselves.
And so, God brought this man low; He chose to take everything away from Nebuchadnezzar in order to reveal the truth to him. And after being brought so low the king finally gets it; he acknowledges God for who He is and praises Him before all the ancient world!
Let’s make it our priority to never get to the point Nebuchadnezzar did so we don’t have to experience the humbling that Nebuchadnezzar did. But if we do, let’s pray that God would break through and strip us of our pride and the illusion we’re in control in order to draw us into His love and grace! And on the other side of God’s work of redemption, let’s sing His praises and share the gift of His grace with as many people as possible, just like Nebuchadnezzar did!
Quote to Remember: God chooses to take away to reveal.—Pastor Doug Sauder
Click the button below to take the pride test Pastor Doug referenced in service this weekend. The test involves two columns, a pride column and a humility column. For each line in the column, circle the quality that best describes you. Then, show the list to a trusted friend and have them circle the quality they feel best describes you. After this, have an enlightening conversation. Upon completion, you can do the same for them!
As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider on your own, with your family, or in your group.
1. Why is it so hard for us to admit we’re not in control?
2. How do you respond when you feel as though you’re losing control?
3. How do you respond to feedback and constructive criticism?
4. What steps can you take this week to walk in humility?
A LOOK AHEAD
This Wednesday night, be part of this powerful and refreshing time of worship and heartfelt prayer as we reflect on God’s goodness and experience His presence together.
Then on the weekend, join us as Pastor Doug Sauder shares from Daniel 5. In this message, we’ll see the Babylonian Empire come to an end as the Lord uses Daniel to deliver a powerful message. Also during our time together, Pastor Doug will share a brief Vision 2023 update.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.