Pride is one of the character flaws that the Bible most insistently points out as harmful.
God in his love has wanted us to become familiar with the Dangers of Pride in the Bible so that we can escape its devastating effects.
Today, I would like to share with you a Bible story through which to reflect on pride and its dangers.
It is the story of King Nebuchadnezzar and a golden statue that he had set up.
Example of a Proud king in the Bible
Nebuchadnezzar’s life story has a number of important lessons to teach us about pride and its dangers.
Today we will start talking about the dangers of pride in the bible by meditating on one of his life experiences.
God had given Nebuchadnezzar a mysterious dream about a giant statue made of several metals.
When the king wanted to know the dream’s interpretation, he demanded that the wise men of the kingdom, not only give him the interpretation, but also tell him the dream itself without him telling it first.
The dream was about the kingdoms that would direct the course of human history until the end of the world after the Babylonian empire.
God had allowed Daniel to retell the dream to the king and to interpret it, proving to him (Nebuchadnezzar) that He (God) was the sovereign of human history.
God had made it clear to the king through Daniel, that by his mercy, He had allowed Nebuchadnezzar to have the power that he had, in order to carry out His eternal purposes.
Despite the fact that God had been so clear with the king, he decided to turn his back on God.
Let’s see what Nebuchadnezzar did sometime after these events.
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.
He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up.
As soon as you hear the sound of (…) music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.
Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
| Daniel 3: 1 – 2, 5 – 6
In his pride, the king created a giant statue, similar to the one he had seen in his dream.
He ordered it to be made from gold, like the head of the statue that he had dreamed of, which represented him.
Some believe that this was a statue of himself, and that he was commanding that he be worshiped as a god.
The bible does not state this explicitly, but that would not be strange, given that the human heart is like that.
We see examples of the same behavior in other great kingdoms, such as Egypt or Rome, where pharaohs and emperors declared themselves gods and demanded to be worshiped.
Either way, his pride led him to defy God.
He made a giant statue of gold, hinting that the Babylonian kingdom would last forever.
That God was not going to be able to give it to another king.
Even potentially hinting that the kingdom that God would establish would not come to be.
Let us now reflect on what this story tells us about the Dangers of Pride in the Bible.
#1 Thinking that our ideas are infallible
The first of the Dangers of Pride in the Bible, is that:
When we indulge in pride, we become so stubborn that we don’t question our own ideas, no matter how foolish they are.
On the contrary, we believe that our ideas are the best in the world, and we cannot bear that others help us to see their shortcomings.
Given King Nebuchadnezzar’s knowledge of the true God, his idea of setting up a statue like that was pretty foolish.
He knew very well that his false gods did not have the power to do what God had shown him, yet he still insists on promoting his religion instead of the true religion.
He insists on putting himself, his religion, and his empire at the center of the universe.
#2 Being consumed by arrogance
The second of the Dangers of Pride in the Bible that I would like to mention is that:
Pride leads us to a state of illusory superiority. To think that no one is above us. It poisons us with arrogance.
In Nebuchadnezzar’s attitude, we can evidently see arrogance.
His premise was that not even the Most High God could end his kingdom.
The head of gold would extend until the feet.
There would be no other empire after his.
Not only that, but everyone had to accept that premise and affirm it by worshiping the statue.
#3 Being despot and ruthless with others
The third of the Dangers of Pride that the Bible shows us is that:
Pride leads us to dehumanize others, to deprive them of their rights, to belittle the dictates of their own conscience.
The king’s blindness was such that anyone who did not submit to his capricious delusions of grandeur must suffer a horrendous death amid flames of fire.
There was no room for exceptions, there was no room for explanations, there was no room for conciliation.
Only strict compliance with his absurd demands.
#4 Thinking that others have to bow down before me
The fourth terrible consequence of pride that we find in this bible story is that:
Pride can lead us to feel so superior to others that we believe we deserve absurdly preferential treatment.
In the case of King Nebuchadnezzar, it was potentially that, not happy with being honored as king, the people had to regard him as a god.
#5 Believing that everyone has to do things as I say
The fifth consequence of pride that the Bible mentions to us is that:
Pride deprives us of empathy for the beliefs, desires, and preferences of others. There is only my reality.
Faith is something very personal, no one should force anyone to believe something they do not want to believe.
God, being the sovereign of the universe, has given all human beings that freedom.
However, pride led Nebuchadnezzar to believe he had more rights than God and to force people to act against their conscience to satisfy his whims.
#6 Rebelling against God and His will
The sixth of the Dangers of Pride in the Bible that we learn from this bible narrative is that:
Pride leads us to believe that our will and desires are wiser than the divine dictates.
If not tempered and dominated, pride will always lead us to rebellion against God.
As we have already mentioned, God had been clear with the king of Babylon that his empire would not be eternal.
He had also made it clear to him that He was the true God above his false gods.
However, Nebuchadnezzar, in his arrogance, chose to deny divine revelation, and live in the delusion that his kingdom would have no end.
He also rebelled against God by forcing idolatry on others.
#7 Seeking to alienate others from God
The seventh of the Dangers of Pride in the Bible is that:
After rebelling against God, we try to drag others with us in our rebellion. Another terrible consequence of pride.
Because of his pride, Nebuchadnezzar chose to force all the inhabitants of his empire to practice a terrible act of idolatry.
Having acted against the will of God, and having considered himself wiser than God, his absurd madness led him to force everyone, without exception, to participate in it.
#8 Deifying yourself
The eighth terrible consequence of pride and the worst of all according to the bible is that:
Pride can lead us to trust ourselves so much that we naively believe we can usurp God’s place in our lives.
Nebuchadnezzar could very possibly get carried away by his pride to such a degree that he decided to become a God and demand that others worship him as such.
This terrible and fearsome consequence of pride is such a high point that only God can bring us down, but without a doubt, the fall is going to hurt us.
Pride has terrible dangers that can destroy our lives and our relationships with others.
God in his love has warned us of them so that we can live wisely.
The antidote to pride is always to give God his rightful place as sovereign in our lives, and to understand that in God’s eyes we are all equal, regardless of our economic or social position.
If you are looking for a book that can greatly benefit you in fighting pride, I recommend you to have a look at The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy by Timothy Keller.
You may like to have a look at our articles on how to be truly humble and overcomming arrogance.
And you? What do you think about the Dangers of Pride in the Bible? What is your experience? Share in the comments.
A hug, God bless you.