by Wayne Barber
As we look in Daniel chapter 3 at the pagan king Nebuchadnezzar, we find such a clear picture of what all of our pride looks like. We see first of all, the arrogance of the proud.
The proud want to be seen! "Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, the height of which was sixty cubits and its width six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon" (v. 3:1). Isn't it interesting that in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, only the head of the statue was gold, but, proud Nebuchadnezzar made himself a statue that is pure gold from head to foot. He seems to overlook that Daniel had revealed to the king that there would come another kingdom after him and another and another after that! Nebuchadnezzar seems to deny that there will ever be another kingdom but his own!
Pride lives in denial that anyone else is one's equal. The statue he built was huge, measuring about 90 feet high by 9 feet wide, figuring a cubit at 18 inches. Talk about exaggeration! If you were to stack three telephone poles on top of each other you would have an idea of how tall it was. The "plain of Dura" where he built the statue seems to be a plain about six miles outside of Babylon surrounded by mountains. (The word dura can refer to any place that is surrounded by mountains.)
No one really knows what the statue represented. Many, including myself, think that it was an image of Nebuchadnezzar himself. The text seems to support this view. Nebuchadnezzar was like the man who got up in the morning and as he looked into the mirror he sang, "how great thou art"! But, even if it represented some god, it still represented King Nebuchadnezzar, because he created it. Idolatry is man-made and man-controlled and illustrates for us how the proud always worship themselves. A proud man is a man whose world evolves around himself! The arrogance of the proud is that they want to be seen.
Secondly, the audacity of the proud is that they also want to be served! "Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent word to assemble the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up" (v. 2). The officials listed constitute the whole administrative government in his kingdom. The "satraps" were the highest officials in each province; The "prefects" were the princes who were the military chiefs. The "governors" headed certain sections of the provinces. The "counselors" were high-ranking advisors or judges. The "treasurers" were superintendents of the treasury The "judges" were second-level judges The "magistrates" were the lower officials-the sheriffs. "Rulers" were those who worked for the satraps. This vain proud man wanted everyone, starting with those who work for him or around him, bowing to him.
"Then the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces were assembled for the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up" (v. 3). If you think about it, he has planned a worship service for himself! "Then the herald loudly proclaimed: "To you the command is given, O peoples, nations and men of every language, that at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe and all kinds of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up" (v. 4-5). It is made very clear!
The penalty for disobeying his command was death in a fiery furnace:"But whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire" (v. 6).
You see, a proud man is one who wants to be worshiped; to be served; and if you don't, he will hurt you! In Nebuchadnezzar's case, almost everyone gave him what he wanted (see v. 7).
The sad thing is that proud people are killing churches all over our land. They are entrenched in leadership and they cannot stand those who seek to live under the Lordship of Christ. They want to be the center of everything, and if you don't go along with them, they will burn you!