At the end of twelve months [Nebuchadnezzar] was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” (DA 4.29-30).
As Nebuchadnezzar surveyed his city, he probably saw the hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the 7 wonders of the world, which he’d made. As he saw the sun glinting off parapets and towers, he was inflated with pride over the glorious city “…which I have built by MY power as a royal residence for the glory of MY majesty.”
As soon as he spoke, God drove Nebuchadnezzar into the wilderness where he ate grass like an ox and was drenched with the dew, “till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws.”
But God had mercy had mercy on ol’ Neb, who later reports:
At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation (DA 4.34).
In his commentary on Daniel, Iain Duguid notes that before he fell, Nebuchadnezzar’s eyes were on himself and his glory; afterwards he lifted his eyes to God and his glory.
A few days ago, my fellow pastor Joe spent some time with a local pastor who’s been here 3 years and taken his church from 90 to 400. They have a beautiful new building complete with flat screen TVs everywhere. Children and teen rooms have things like Moon Bounces and Nintendo Wiis and climbing walls. Instantly, I compared myself: I’ve been here 28 years and we’ve got around 320 members. Our building’s fine, but not fancy. Half the time, when we try to project a DVD clip, it doesn’t work. Until I heard about the Wiis, I was really happy with our freshly painted children’s classrooms. Suddenly I was filled with envy and discontentment – we’re the dinkball church with the dinkball pastor from Dinkville.
What happened? I took my eyes off Christ and his glory, and became consumed with my own peewee glory and accomplishments. And when they didn’t compare to another pastor’s, in my wicked pride, I became downcast. My eyes weren’t on Jesus and his work on the cross, but on myself and my work.
If I’d kept looking at Christ and his glorious cross, I would have rejoiced for all he’s doing in my brother’s ministry and church, and ours as well.
Praise Jesus, he won’t tolerate our pride and he loves us so much he’ll do whatever it takes to get our eyes back on him. He convicted me of my evil pride and got my eyes back on his glory. And I didn’t have to eat grass or be drenched with dew.
If our eyes are on ourselves and our accomplishments, we’ll be miserable. But if we keep our eyes fixed on Christ and all he accomplished on the cross, we’ll be filled with joy. Let’s ask Jesus to help us get our eyes off ourselves and onto our great Savior.
photo by mixstar