A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Daily Encouragement on
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
This scene of snow along the bluffs of the Mississippi River in Wisconsin was taken by my cousin Georgia. We have a forecast of snow today so we will see!
Message summary: Let us heed the powerful command from James, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up" (James 4:10).
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"Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, '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 4:29-30). "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up" (James 4:10).
Knowing our place has always been a real challenge and all through human history pride has been an ancient sin. Pride is listed in Proverbs 6:16-19 as one of the seven sins the Lord hates, "a proud look".
Humility is a foundational Biblical principle. Simply put, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (James 5:5). John the Baptist understood this vital spiritual principle, as evidenced by his declaration that "He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30).
Nebuchadnezzar reigned over the Babylonian Empire, one of the greatest of world especially empires. But like many, politicians it seems, he was a very conflicted man. His pride led him to construct a great idol and demand that people worship it which was in direct conflict with the Biblically-based convictions of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego and they refused to bow down, leading them to the fiery furnace.
Following their miraculous deliverance in the third chapter of Daniel Nebuchadnezzar seemed to humble himself and acknowledge God as expressed in Daniel 3:28-30 and Daniel 4:1-3. However this was only temporary. At some unspecified later time, but also in chapter four, he again became proud.
Nebuchadnezzar received a vision and Daniel interpreted it, ending with this challenge: "Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity.’
The vision and Daniel's interpretation greatly disturbed him and perhaps worked on his mind for awhile, but he did not respond in humility and repentance. "Twelve months later, the king (Nebuchadnezzar) was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon". Likely, as the months went by, the burden and conviction eased. That tends to happen.
In our daily verse he makes one of the greatest statements of pride of all time. "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?" But God's judgment was swift and sure. (Read the rest of the chapter.)
How is your life going today? Perhaps your health is good. Your family is doing well and loves you. Your finances are in order and your job seems to be secure. These are real blessings from God.
Earlier, just prior to his vision, Nebuchadnezzar had said: "I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace" (Daniel 4:4). Both of these conditions (ease and prosperity) are something we desire as well as security.
Yet we must always remember these are blessings from God and we are to remain dependent upon Him. He deserves all the glory. That will help keep us humble. Pride still comes before the fall. "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Let us heed the powerful command from James, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up" (James 4:10).
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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