Robert Morris - The Seduction of Pride
We're gonna begin a series called, "The Kings of Babylon". There were four kings of Babylon during the exile. The exile is the 70 year time when God took Israel out of the land of Israel and took em captive into the land of Babylon. Now, please hear me, because I really want you to hear what my burden is. God was disciplining or correcting His children for something, but He was not punishing them. God does not punish. If you have a version that uses the word punish, it's incorrect. He disciplines. And there's a difference. He doesn't punish us because He already punished His Son on the cross for our sin. But He disciplines, the Bible says, as a loving Father.
Some of us did not have loving discipline growing up; so because of that, we don't understand what that means. Hopefully, you're in healthy body now. Hopefully if you've been attending here you've had someone in your life that has lovingly corrected you in an area and you walked away feeling adjusted and that you needed that adjustment but you also felt loved. So that's what God does.
So I want you to understand, God took Israel out of the land for 70 years. And so many people think He was punishing em. No. He did it for their good, because they had not let the land rest every seven years like they were supposed to. And for those of you who are mathematicians, you've already figured out now how long they went. He took em out for 70 years. They missed 70 Sabbaths, because every seventh year you're supposed to let the land rest. And they missed 70, every seven years. So 70 times seven is 490. So they went 490 years without letting the land rest.
Now, just a little question. If you went, if you did something for 490 years, would you begin to think that you were getting away with it? Not with God. And it's, again, not because of Him; it's for your good. Because scientists have told us if you don't let the land rest, it becomes less and less fertile. Israel today could be a barren wilderness if God had not allowed the land to catch up and to rest. You see what I'm saying? So anytime God is adjusting you, He's doing it for your good. And for the good of your descendants. That's what you need to know. But during that time, when God is adjusting something in your life, Satan is always attacking. And one of the things that God is doing, even when He's correcting you is He's still protecting you and providing for you during that time, because think about - We have two famous stories in Daniel while they were being corrected by God where God still protected His people, very famous. Even people who don't go to church know these two stories: Daniel in the lion's den and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fire. Isn't that amazing?
So, the title of today's message is The Seduction of Pride. The attack of the enemy that came through Nebuchadnezzar was pride. By the way, pride is what caused Lucifer to fall; pride is how Adam and Eve were attacked. Lucifer said, If you eat this, you'll be like God. And Lucifer even attacked Jesus with pride. Of course, it didn't work with Jesus because he said, If You are the Son of God. He tried to get Him to fall to pride. So pride is one of the first attacks that comes against God's people.
So here are three ways that tries to seduce us. Alright. Here's number one... not giving God the glory. You will allow pride a foothold, a stronghold in your life by not giving God the glory. So Daniel 1:1, "In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it". Now, watch this verse carefully. "And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand". The Lord gave the king of Judah into Nebuchadnezzar's hand. Why? Because He was disciplining His children. He was going to let the land rest for the future good of His people, of His children. Right? But the Lord did this. But Nebuchadnezzar did not give God glory for it. See, that's pride.
So let me give you another definition of pride. Pride is not giving God glory for everything you have in your hand. Everything you have in your hand, God put there. And when you begin to think that your intellect or your ability or your smartness or your training or your skill earned it... Now, we do try those things. But listen. You've got to remember, you didn't choose your genetics. You didn't choose your quotient of intelligence. You may have improved your intelligence, you may have worked very hard and studied very hard, but you didn't choose what I.Q. you started with and the ability to learn. You didn't choose that. You didn't choose your environment. You didn't choose in which country you were born. You didn't choose any of that. So everything that we have comes from God. Not recognizing this is not giving God the glory.
Here's how Daniel gets included in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And I'm going to tell you in a moment, Daniel is his Israeli, is his Hebrew name. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are actually their Chaldean names, which Chaldea conquered Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar was a Chaldean king, and a lot of people don't realize that. Chaldea, by the way, is where God called Abraham out of. He was born a Chaldean and God called him out of there. And that's where the Hebrew nation came from. But here's how these young men, these four young men that God uses, here's how God began a process of life. Because Nebuchadnezzar was trying to put pride into their life. Satan was trying to do it through Nebuchadnezzar.
Okay. We stopped at verse two a moment ago in Daniel 1. Look at verse three. "Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king's descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking..." I probably would have been taken if I had been there. That's not that funny. I don't think you should have laughed at that. I thought you should have said, "Oh yeah, sure, sure, of course". "...gifted in all wisdom...". Yeah, I probably would have been taken. "...possessing knowledge and quick to understand..." Yeah, that's like my resume. Alright. And y'all know I'm joking. "...who had ability to serve in the king's palace, and home they might teach the language and the literature of the Chaldeans". The language and the literature.
Now, I just want you to know that Satan is always trying to teach the next generation a different language and a different literature. Now, I want you to think about it. Even now, he's changed the meanings of words in our language and he's trying to tell the next generation that that's not what our founding fathers meant. And our founding fathers did mean for us to be a nation that is, has freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. So that's exactly what he's trying to do. So you can see it right there in Nebuchadnezzar. And then, if you look at verse six and seven, you see where they got their names. "From among the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael...", it is Mishael. It is a man's name; not Michael, but it is Mishael in this instance. There is one translated Michael. It's a little different in the Hebrew. "...and Azariah".
Now, you're saying, I don't know who those are, so you'll, that's Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I heard one young pastor preached on My-shach, Yo-shach, and A-bungalow. So Nebuchadnezzar then has a dream and he calls the wise men in and he says, Tell me not only the interpretation of the dream, but tell me the dream, which shows the pride that he walked in, because he did not recognize the supernatural. He thought, "If you're intelligent, you should be able to do this". Intelligence had nothing to do with it. And so, they said, "Well, what you're saying is impossible".
So he actually sends out an edict, which many people don't know, for every young man, all these wise men, to be killed. And they go to get Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to kill em. And Daniel said, "Whoa, hold on. Why are we going to get killed"? He said, "Well, because none of the wise men can tell the king his dream". And Daniel says, "Well, my God can". So they bring Daniel in front of the king.
This is Daniel 2 now, verse 26. "The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, 'Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation'"? Now, watch this. "'Are you able to do this? Are you able to do this?' Daniel answered in the presence of the king and said, 'The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers, they cannot declare to the king.'" They can't do it. But, listen to what he says, "'there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets...'". You see the balance? Listen. What he's saying is, "Listen; no, God can do it... but He can use me".
So not giving God glory. Here's number two, seduction of pride: not rejecting the glory of men. Not rejecting the glory of men, because men will try to give you glory. Now, yes, it's okay to honor someone. But there's only one person who gets glory. And we're going to read in just a moment where He says, I don't share any of it either; I won't share glory with anyone. And that's what Lucifer tried to do was take glory. And that's why he fell from heaven. So Daniel interprets this dream. Part of this dream is about a figure of a man and It's the kingdom and he talks about the future kingdoms and he goes all the way down to feet of clay. Alright. If you remember the dream.
So then, watch what Nebuchadnezzar does. So I read you, well, the last verse of chapter two, it talks about him interpreting the dream. And Nebuchadnezzar puts out an edict to all of Babylon to worship the God of Daniel. That's the end of chapter two. Chapter three, verse one, Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits that's 18 inches a cubit; so that's 90 feet, and its width six cubits, so that's nine feet. So it's nine feet at its base, 90 feet tall. So many people have said if this was an image of Nebuchadnezzar, it would have been a really tall, skinny dude. You know? But we don't really know what it was. But most believe it was made of gold and the image, the dream that he had was, had a gold head. And he said, This is you.
So many people think that at the top of this monument was an image of Nebuchadnezzar. You understand what I'm saying? We don't know for sure, but that's what most people think. And that's how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego comes in, because Nebuchadnezzar puts out then a command for everyone, when they play the music, to turn and face this image and bow down and worship. Notice again, immediately, he wants to draw attention to himself.
By the way, this happens a lot in scripture. Paul and Barnabas go to this town. There's a crippled man who's been crippled from birth, so it's not like something happened. He was born crippled. And he gets healed in Jesus' name. They start bowing down to Paul and Barnabas saying, The gods have come down to us, and they start giving em Greek names of gods. Paul and Barnabas tear their clothes and said, No, we're just men; don't worship us. they reject the glory.
Daniel, by the way, was made ruler under Nebuchadnezzar over all of Babylon, but he never took pride. So he builds this big deal. He says everybody has to bow down. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego don't bow down. They get reported. So he gives em a chance. He brings em in. He says, Is it true you're not going to bow down? And they said, Yes. And he says, I'll give you one more chance to bow down. Now, listen to what he says, Daniel 3:15. But if you do not worship, you shall be immediately cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
Now, watch the pride. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands? He didn't thank God for what God put in his hands and he didn't thank God for the power that God put in his hands. Daniel 3:19, Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, because they said, We're still not going to bow and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. I'll explain to you in a moment how they did that. Daniel 3:21-22, Then these men, that's Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments...
It's important to notice they went in with their clothes on, cause when they come out, their clothes don't even smell like smoke. "...and they were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore, because the king's command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego".
So, let me explain to you about this fire. It was a round hole in the ground, most believed, they found things like this, about 20 feet round, and it was about 20 feet deep, so that that's where they could cast people, people that defied the king. It was like a dictatorship. People who defied the king were cast in this fiery furnace. Yet, going out the side of it was a slope that sloped all the way up to the ground so that every now and then they could walk down into it and clean it out if they needed to do things or put stuff in it. And this is how they were cast into it. But they were also, they walked Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, walked out of the fire.
Now, they weren't worried about anybody walking out, cause once you were cast in, you were going to be killed, you know. So they weren't worried about that. The way they heated it seven times more is they had trees in Babylon at that time that burned hotter than other trees, and they saved those for this. So that's the way they did this. So they cast these in and it made the fire so hot that the men casting them in at the mouth of the entrance were burned and killed immediately. They were killed. So that's why the Bible tells us that. Alright?
So verse 24, "Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke". Listen. The reason is cause they're still alive and they're actually walking around in the fire. "...and saying to his counselors, 'Did we not cast three men into the midst of the fire?' They answered and said to the king, 'True, O king.' Listen to what Nebuchadnezzar says. 'Look!' He answered, 'I now see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire...'". Remember, they were bound. The only thing, by the way, think about this... when the enemy tries to kill you, the only thing that gets burned are the ropes that were holding you bound. Their clothes didn't get burned, but the ropes that were holding them burned up. But it didn't hurt them at all. I see four men loose, walking amidst the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
So Jesus is in the fire with you, by the way. If you ever go through a fire, Jesus is with you and you're not going to get burned. Here's what really blew me away as I began studying this... Nebuchadnezzar is not Jewish. He's Chaldean. Yet God keeps trying to get through to Nebuchadnezzar. These things keep happening because Nebuchadnezzar puts out a decree after this. The God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is the true God. And from now on, everyone has to worship Him. Well, he'd already done one about the God of Daniel, which was the same God, obviously. Okay? But he turns away again, and you're going to see it on the next point. He turns away again. It just blows me away.
We talk about our God is the God of the second chance. It's a wonderful saying, but really, He's the God of the second millionth chance. And He does that with all of us and it's not just His chosen people. Here is a heathen named Nebuchadnezzar. God's protecting His people. Nebuchadnezzar has actually killed some of the exiles and tortured them, and God is still trying to reach him. So I'm telling you, no matter what you've done in your past, no matter how bad you've been, God still loves you and God is still trying to reach you. Here's the third point, a seduction of pride is not speaking humbly. I had to train myself to speak humbly because I spoke pridefully. You can train yourself.
Now, Nebuchadnezzar has another dream in chapter four, and the dream is about him and the dream is that he's going to actually, God's going to humble him. And then, he says, In twelve months, this is going to happen. Now, watch what happens. And the way God humbles him, most of you know, is he became like He went crazy and he ate grass like a wild beast for seven years. Seven years. That was his punishment. That was his discipline or punishment really because he wasn't a believer. Daniel 4:29, At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. This is Nebuchadnezzar. The king spoke, saying, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?
Notice the prideful words. While the word was still in the king's mouth, a voice fell from heaven, saying, King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken, the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; seven times, seven years, shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and He gives it, that's the implication of He because we're already going back to the Most High, to whomever He chooses. That very hour, the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar.
Now, why am I saying it's so important to speak humbly? Because of this scripture. Matthew says, For whatever is in there... When the mouth speaks, it speaks out of the abundance of the heart. So I saw something this week in this scripture I'd never seen. I'd seen it, but I hadn't seen it. You know that? Okay. The word abundance. In other words, we all say stupid things. Right? We all say prideful things. I've even been a literalist with is verse sometimes and God's had to correct me. Alright. Like Debbie might say something and she'd say, But I didn't mean that. I'd say, Yeah, but the Bible says, Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. And I'd be mad at her. So it must be in your heart if it came out your mouth. You know? Kay.
So we all say stupid things. We all say prideful things. But what we say in an abundance is what is in an abundance in our heart. That's the key. In other words, we all, we're all still humans. We all still make mistakes. But if there's an abundance of prideful statements coming out of your mouth, then that needs to let you know there's an abundance of pride in your heart and God's going to deal with it. He always, always, always humbles the exalt, the ones that exalt themselves. Always. That's scripture. And the reason I'm telling you this is because if you have a problem speaking pridefully, then you know you don't just have a problem speaking it, you know you have a problem in your heart and you need to allow God to deal with it.
So here is what I love about this story. Nebuchadnezzar, let me show you the end of it, verse 34, Daniel 4:34, And at the end of the time, seven years, I, Nebuchadnezzar, watch, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me immediately... Soon as he turns to God, as soon as he turns to God, God heals him. "...and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever. For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, 'What have you done?'"
By the way, you notice that he got a pretty good revelation that God's God. At the same time, my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom... And what he means by that is the responsibility that God's given me, I was restored to my kingdom and excellent majesty was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the kingdom of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down. God restored this prideful man. Now, I want to tell you something else. God restored this prideful man. And God will restore you prideful people, too. All you've got to do is turn your eyes to heaven. That's it. Just turn your eyes to heaven.
Don't forget that the original sin of Satan is pride. Pride is always trying to seduce us, but the fact that you watch this message means that you are not a prideful person. You might battle it sometimes, but you're not prideful. But God's doing something in your heart right now, and I'd like for you just to humble your heart before God right now, just like Nebuchadnezzar did and say, God, I want to always give You the glory. I want to speak humbly. I want to walk with You and I want to talk with You every day. Just take a moment, give God glory right now, and let God continue to work that humility in your heart because that humility is what attracts others to us, and that attracts them to Jesus Christ.