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PRIDE BEFORE DESTRUCTION

Date: August 22

Category: Godly Character

Daniel 5:23a, d
"And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven… But the God in Whose hand your breath is and Whose are all your ways you have not honoured and glorified [but have dishonoured and disgraced]."

Slobodan & Ljiljana KrstevskiAfter Nebuchadnezzar finished his rule over Babylon in 562 BC, his son Belshazzar became the king. He was the king of Babylon until Cyrus, the Persian king took over in 559 BC. So Belshazzar was only king for a couple of years. But why was that? Well this verse tells us why. First it says, "And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven…" Belshazzar was prideful. He put himself above God. We also read in this verse that he took the things from the house of the Lord and brought them before himself. Then he, his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank wine from those things. This verse also says that he praised other gods rather than worshiping the true God. Then we read in the last part of the verse, "But the God in Whose hand your breath is and Whose are all your ways you have not honoured and glorified [but have dishonoured and disgraced]." So Belshazzar was a prideful man who disgraced the Lord. That's why he lost his kingdom.

It says in Proverbs 16:18, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." In other words, when somebody is proud and does not want to honor God or help other people, he is just steps before destruction. That's exactly what happened to Belshazzar. His kingdom fell very quickly because of his pride. When Cyrus came and attacked his land, Belshazzar's kingdom crumbled that very same night. That's how quickly Belshazzar's destruction came.

The middle letter of the word, ‘pride' is the letter ‘I' and that is exactly what proud people do. They put ‘I' in the centre of everything. They think everything else revolves around them. But we have to remember that pride always comes before fall. Lucifer was prideful and that's why he was cast out of heaven. Now he's known as the devil. So pride is the primeval sin, the first sin ever committed. Some consider it the sin of all sins. St. Augustine, who lived between 354-430 AD, said that pride is the commencement of all sin. The people of the middle ages said that the seven most deadly sins were: greed, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, sloth, and most of all pride.

But there is such a thing as a positive type of pride. For example, one definition of pride is a sense of one's own dignity, value, or self-respect. In other words, if you are a person of dignity who tries hard to serve God and serve other people, then you are proud in a good way. But the definition of negative pride is one who has an excessively high opinion of oneself. That's the type of pride that causes you to only focus on yourself. We are not to be prideful in that way. Actually, we are to hate that kind of pride. It says in Proverbs 8:13, "The reverent fear and worshipful awe of the Lord [includes] the hatred of evil; pride, arrogance, the evil way, and perverted and twisted speech I hate."

That negative pride will only lead to destruction. In Leviticus 26:19a we read, "And I will break and humble your pride in your power…" God will find a way to humble us if we are prideful, just like He humbled Belshazzar. When we are prideful, we put ourselves above others. We underestimate others and we underestimate God. That often leads to rebellion against authorities and even against God. That's why destruction comes.

So because Belshazzar was prideful, his kingdom was stripped away from him. In Daniel 5:25 we read that written inscription on the wall for him, "mene, mene, tekel, upharsin" – numbered, numbered, weighed, divisions. In other words, God was warning Belshazzar that his days and his kingship were numbered, and they were coming to an end. He would be weighed in the balances and would find himself wanting. His kingdom would be lost and divided among others. All this happened because of his pride.

So don't let this happen to you. Don't ever let negative pride enter your heart. Never put yourself above others and above God. If you always walk humbly before God and people, and do everything you can to please God and help others, then God will lift you up. But if you are proud and arrogant, then God will find a way to humble you down (1 Peter 5:5-6). So today, let's make sure humbleness is the centre of our lives!

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