In our Gospel Project curriculum we are studying the book of Daniel now. A recent lesson was on King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The King dreamed that a large tree was being cut down at the stump. Only the stump and roots remained. God equipped Daniel to interpret this dream for the king, and the result was a picture of the King being humbled by God, proving that God is ruler over everyone, including kings and their kingdoms.
Nebuchadnezzar had become prideful and something had to be done about it. As a king I am sure it was easy to think highly of himself. The political position alone is worthy of ultimate respect. And if you remember back to the fiery furnace, Nebuchadnezzar was the King who instructed all the people in Babylon to bow to the giant golden idol he created. This was one king who had a history of thinking pretty highly of himself, his capabilities and accomplishments.
However, as we read over and over in Scripture (Psalm 138:6, Prov. 3:34, Matt. 23:12, Luke 1:52, James 4:6, I Peter 5:5, to name a few…) God opposes the proud, hates what it produces in the heart, but gives favor and grace to the humble. God asks us to humble ourselves, yet when we choose not to do that, or are incapable of thinking less of ourselves than others, he chooses to humiliate us and humbles us on his terms. It’s always a difficult thing to have to go through or watch others walk through, but living with pride and seeking glory for ourselves causes us to take glory away from the only One who truly deserves it.
This time of year, I am reminded of the most significant act of humility that was ever displayed. Jesus Christ chose, out of his own accord, to leave heaven for a time and take on flesh to become a man. Jesus, the King of all kings, exalted to the highest place, seated at the right hand of God himself, took on the form of a helpless baby. The glory of God himself, the exact representation of his nature humbled for our sake.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14
As one who was unable to care for his own needs, he had to rely on his earthly mother and father to provide every physical thing he needed. He humbled himself, came as a child and showed us what living a life of humility really looks like. And his instruction and challenge to us as we are told in Ephesians 5, is to be imitators of him.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:1-2
My prayer is that we imitate that lifestyle and heart desire to humble ourselves before God and man. I pray that we are able to live this way before we get to the point that God feels it is necessary to humble us out of discipline. Be reminded of the most humble example we have been given as you are surrounded by the season of Christmas.