Pride is such a sneaky sin. It is so easy to recognize in other people, but quite difficult to see in ourselves. It can blind us in such a way that we are unaware of it. Today, we are going to take our blinders off and face our pride. We will learn from the life Nebuchadnezzar that "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5) and be challenged to look to God Most High, El Elyon, and His kingdom rather than attempting to build our own.
What is one of your favorite "fail" videos online? Why do we find so much humor when a proud person is humbled?
1. In your own words, define pride. What are some of the consequences of being prideful?
2. Read Daniel 2:37-45. What was the message that God revealed to Nebuchadnezzar through Daniel?
Your Majesty, you are the greatest of kings. The God of heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. He has made you the ruler over all the inhabited world and has put even the wild animals and birds under your control. You are the head of gold.
“But after your kingdom comes to an end, another kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise to take your place. After that kingdom has fallen, yet a third kingdom, represented by bronze, will rise to rule the world. Following that kingdom, there will be a fourth one, as strong as iron. That kingdom will smash and crush all previous empires, just as iron smashes and crushes everything it strikes. The feet and toes you saw were a combination of iron and baked clay, showing that this kingdom will be divided. Like iron mixed with clay, it will have some of the strength of iron. But while some parts of it will be as strong as iron, other parts will be as weak as clay. This mixture of iron and clay also shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through intermarriage. But they will not hold together, just as iron and clay do not mix.
“During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever. That is the meaning of the rock cut from the mountain, though not by human hands, that crushed to pieces the statue of iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. The great God was showing the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true, and its meaning is certain.”
3. Consider this statement: "There are three things that will last: God, His Word, and people's souls." How might this understanding impact the way you live?
4. Read Daniel 4:19-33. What evidence of pride do you see in Nebuchadnezzar's actions?
“Upon hearing this, Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) was overcome for a time, frightened by the meaning of the dream. Then the king said to him, ‘Belteshazzar, don’t be alarmed by the dream and what it means.’
“Belteshazzar replied, ‘I wish the events foreshadowed in this dream would happen to your enemies, my lord, and not to you! The tree you saw was growing very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. It had fresh green leaves and was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. That tree, Your Majesty, is you. For you have grown strong and great; your greatness reaches up to heaven, and your rule to the ends of the earth.
“‘Then you saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, “Cut down the tree and destroy it. But leave the stump and the roots in the ground, bound with a band of iron and bronze and surrounded by tender grass. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven. Let him live with the animals of the field for seven periods of time.”
“‘This is what the dream means, Your Majesty, and what the Most High has declared will happen to my lord the king. You will be driven from human society, and you will live in the fields with the wild animals. You will eat grass like a cow, and you will be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses. But the stump and roots of the tree were left in the ground. This means that you will receive your kingdom back again when you have learned that heaven rules.
“‘King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.’
“But all these things did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months later he was taking a walk on the flat roof of the royal palace in Babylon. As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’
“While these words were still in his mouth, a voice called down from heaven, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom. You will be driven from human society. You will live in the fields with the wild animals, and you will eat grass like a cow. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.’
“That same hour the judgment was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws.
5. We see from this story of Nebuchadnezzar that God will not tolerate pride in our lives. When was a time in your life when you were humbled as a result of pride in your life?
6. Read Daniel 4:34-37. There is hope for those who repent from their pride. What areas or pride in your life do you need to repent from?
7. Ultimately, humility means living for the Kingdom of God rather than your own kingdom on this earth. Have you discovered how you can impact eternity with your God-given gifts? If so, what are they?
One of the best ways to rid ourselves of pride in our lives is to expose it. Once it is exposed, then you can, with God's help, take action against it. If you are in a couple's group, men and women break out into separate groups. You have shared with each other areas of pride you are currently struggling with. Now, take a moment to consider how you can fight against it. Maybe you can recognize others who have helped you reach the achievements you have reached, spend time in prayer recognizing how God has blessed you and thank Him for His blessings, or use your gifts to serve someone in need. Whatever you decide, share it with your group. You all can hold each other accountable as you seek to rid yourself of any pride in your life.
Wallpaper available for download in the Sagebrush App.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.