Wednesday, December 4, 2013

God Exalts the Humble and Brings Down the Proud

Daniel's Answer to the King

Today I want to show from Scripture how God exalts the humble, but brings down the proud. Below I've laid out the selected examples from the book of Daniel, showing the actions in the left column, and the corresponding consequences for those actions in the right column.

Actions Consequences
Refused to defile themselves: “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.” (Dan 1:8) 1. Given health and beauty: “At the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king's choice food.” (Dan 1:15)

2. Given knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom: “As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams.” (Dan 1:17)

3. Promoted and distinguished by excellence: “The king talked with them, and out of them all not one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king's personal service. As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm.  (Dan 1:19-20)
1. Pleaded for mercy from God: “So Daniel went in and requested of the king that he would give him time, in order that he might declare the interpretation to the king. Then Daniel went to his house and informed his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, about the matter, so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.” (Dan 2:16-18)

2. Gave glory to God and took no credit: “Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven;” (Dan 2:19b)

“The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, ‘Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen and its interpretation?’ Daniel answered before the king and said, ‘As for the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither wise men, conjurers, magicians nor diviners are able to declare it to the king. However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed.’” (Dan 2:26-28)
1. “Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.”  (Dan 2:48)

2. “And Daniel made request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel was at the king's court.” (Dan 2:49)
1. Refused to bow down to idols: "There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up." Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and anger gave orders to bring Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego; then these men were brought before the king. Nebuchadnezzar responded and said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? (Dan 3:12-14)

2. Testified of their faith in God: "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. "But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."  (Dan 3:17-18)
"Then the king caused Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego to prosper in the province of Babylon." (Dan 3:30)
1. Lived in ease and luxury: "I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and flourishing in my palace. (Dan 4:4)

2. Became proud: "Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. The king reflected and said, 'Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?'” (Dan 4:29-30)

"But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit became so proud that he behaved arrogantly…” (Dan 5:20a)
1. Deposed and glory taken away: "While the word was in the king's mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, 'King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you…” (Dan 4:31)

“…He was deposed from his royal throne and his glory was taken away from him…” (Dan 5:20b)

2. Sanity Taken away: “…and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.' "Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws. (Dan 4:32-33)

“He was also driven away from mankind, and his heart was made like that of beasts, and his dwelling place was with the wild donkeys. He was given grass to eat like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven…” (Dan 5:20-21)
1. Praised God: “…recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.” (Dan 4:25b)

"But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward 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.” (Dan 4:34)

“…He recognized that the Most High God is ruler over the realm of mankind and that He sets over it whomever He wishes.” (Dan 5:21b)

2. Repented and acted righteously: "'Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor...'" (Dan 4:27a)
1. Sanity, majesty and splendor restored: "At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom," (Dan 4:36a)

2. Sovereign rule reestablished: "and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me." (Dan 4:36b)
Committed profanity, idolatry, debauchery: “Belshazzar the king held a great feast for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand. When Belshazzar tasted the wine, he gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God which was in Jerusalem; and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.” (Dan 5:1-4) Executed and kingdom taken: "This is the interpretation of the message: 'MENE'--God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. " 'TEKEL'--you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. " 'PERES'--your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians." (Dan 5:26-28)

That same night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain. So Darius the Mede received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two.” (Dan 5:30-31)
Rebuked the King for his sin: "Yet you, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this, but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear or understand. But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and all your ways, you have not glorified.” (Dan 5:22-23) Promoted and honored:  "… you will be clothed with purple and wear a necklace of gold around your neck, and you will have authority as the third ruler in the kingdom." (Dan 5:16)

“Then Belshazzar gave orders, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a necklace of gold around his neck, and issued a proclamation concerning him that he now had authority as the third ruler in the kingdom.” (Dan 5:29)

“It seemed good to Darius to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, that they would be in charge of the whole kingdom, and over them three commissioners (of whom Daniel was one), that these satraps might be accountable to them, and that the king might not suffer loss. Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom.” (Dan 6:1-3)
1. Lived a godly, faithful life: “Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him.” (Dan 6:4)

2. Consistently prayed and thanked God daily: “Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.” (Dan 6:10)

He trusted God.
1. Rescued from harm and death: "My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime." (Dan 6:22)

“Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” (Dan 6:23)

2. Prospered in a period of judgment: “So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” (Dan 6:28)
1. Accused a true prophet of God: “Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him.” (Dan 6:4)

"Then they answered and spoke before the king, 'Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day.'"  (Dan 6:13)

2. Conspired together and used political power to do evil:  Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: "King Darius, live forever! (Dan 6:6) 
Executed: “The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel, and they cast them, their children and their wives into the lions' den; and they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.” (Dan 6: 24)

Scripture Meditations
Here are some other passages of Scripture that speak of God exalting the humble and bringing down the proud.

And Mary said: "My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. "For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. "For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. "and his mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear him. "He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. "He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. "He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed.” (Luk 1:46-53)

“You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,” (1Pe 5:5-6)

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, " God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. (Jas 4:6-10)

"'To the arrogant I say, "Boast no more," and to the wicked, "Do not lift up your horns. Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak so defiantly."' No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another." (Ps 75:4-7)

Putting it All Together
There are too many examples to enumerate in Scripture, in which God brings one person down, and exalts another.  The righteous Hebrew, Mordecai was exalted from his humble place, and Haman, the evil adviser of the king, who plotted against the Jews, was executed.  The righteous shepherd boy David triumphed over the evil giant and all his wicked enemies, while they were brought low and killed.  King Saul who attacked David was humbled and mortally wounded in battle, ending his own life in suicide.  Herod who executed the apostle James and tried to do the same when he imprisoned Peter, died a horrible death when he allowed men to idolize him and failed to give God the glory.  This same principle is found all throughout Scripture.

I close with this poem, which you can make your own prayer to the Lord. It's called, I Want to be Like Daniel.

Lord, I want to be like Daniel
Praying, thanking, and trusting You;
Always humble, holy, and ever faithful,
Rebuking sin, no matter who.

And I know You will take care of me
Making me prosper and succeed,
Giving me wisdom, understanding,
Insight, favor, and all that I need.

--- Anonymous

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted. 

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, I recommend reading my articles God Chooses the Weak ThingsYou're Better Off Following Jesus, The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer , God's Supernatural Hand During Crisis, and The Eyes of the Lord. You may also like the other posts in this blog available through the links in the side bar. You may also access my blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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