Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment…
I. WHO THEY ARE THAT WALK IN PRIDE. There is not a man, however near his walk may be with God, but he hath cause, abundant cause to deplore his self-seeking, his want of entire motive in following after God, and that sad admixture of self, that defiles all that he does, and all that he thinks. And, I believe, the nearer is the approach to the living God, the more is the soul made conscious of the hatefulness of that pride that lurketh within it. The cross is the great revealer of it. And yet, though believers in the Lord are ever constrained to mourn over the pride that is in them, they are not "those that walk in" it. This is the feature of the unregenerate soul: and it is true of all of them. I need hardly attempt to prove that the careless sinner "walketh" altogether "in pride'; for he setteth up his own will, his own pleasure, above the will, and above the pleasure, of God; he is his own rule, and his own master. The self-righteous formalist, who "goeth about to establish his own righteousness," "walketh in pride"; it is a remarkable expression — he will a not submit himself to the righteousness of God"; he cannot stoop so low. Need I attempt to prove that the more lover of the world "walketh in" his"pride"? "The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life," mark out his features, and at once disclose his character. And what is that lofty, independent spirit, which the self-important man has, that will not for one moment allow that all he is, and all he has, and all he can do, belongs to God?
II. THEY THAT WALK IN PRIDE SHALL BE ABASED. God hath said it; and what He has said He will most surely accomplish. Both the apostle James and the apostle Peter make use of the same words: "God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace unto the humble." If you ask why so great a stress is laid upon this in God's Word, it is because pride is infinitely hateful to God. There is in all sin that which stands opposed to God; but there is in pride that which insults Him, that which rejects Him, that which dethrones Him. And as destructive is it to the soul. For no proud, unsubdued spirit can ever see aught of beauty in Christ.
III. But now observe that GOD IS ABLE TO ABASE THEM. So Nebuchadnezzar knew. Truly he had lessons, awful lessons; he had proof, awful proof, laid upon him, that God "is able to abase." There are some striking exhibitions of this same truth in the prophets. In the sixteenth chapter of Isaiah, we have a particular notice of proud Moab; observe, in the sixth verse, "We have heard of the pride of Moab (he is very proud), even of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath" — so notorious, it Is mentioned thrice in one verse — "Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab; every one shall howl; for the foundations of Kir-hareseth shall ye mourn; surely they are stricken." Look at the thirteenth of Jeremiah, and there see how awfully the Holy Ghost directeth us to Jerusalem (in the eighth and ninth verses), "Then the word of the Lord came unto me, Thus saith the Lord, after this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem: this evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart; and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing." Remark what the Lord says of Babylon, in the fiftieth of this same prophet, the twenty eighth verse: "The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, the vengeance of His temple; call together the archers against Babylon; all ye that bend the bow camp against it round about; let none thereof escape; recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do unto her, for she hath been proud against the Lord, against the Holy One of Israel; therefore shall her young men fall in the streets, and all her men of war shall be out off in that day, saith the Lord; behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the Lord God of Hosts, for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee; and the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up; and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all round about him." Observe how again and again the Lord speaketh of her as most proud. I bessech you mark His dealings with His own people. They know it. Look at the great work of conversion. How He layeth low! For in what doth the life of faith consist? Many a believer here present can reply, "Dependent upon Christ for all I want and all I have; just as poor at the last as at the first; Christ my wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; living upon Him for what He has done, receiving from Him what He has promised, and having not one thing in myself to recommend, me to His notice, but bringing my poor empty vessel to receive out of His inexhaustible abundance." What is this but the "abasing" of those that did "walk in pride?" And what is the very life of a close walking with God? Why, it is but the continued denial of self. For what is the Spirit's victory? It is but His victory over that nature of mine that would always lead me to self; it is but substituting, as it were, the love of Christ for the love of the creature. Truly God is able to do this; and no one but God is able to do it. Afflictions cannot do it — the deepest awe upon the conscience cannot do it — the most alarming representations of eternal woe cannot do it — and the most winning unfoldings of Divine glory cannot do it. The ministers of Christ cannot abase the soul of man — angels and archangels cannot; they can rejoice over the abased spirit, but abase the soul they cannot. It is the work of God, the eternal Spirit, and no one but Him. And by what simple means can He do it! By a word, by a thought, by a glance of the mind, by a conversation, by a text, or by bringing before us some glimpse of the cross of Jesus. And the same power doth it take to keep them low. He always abases, that He may exalt. How patiently, then, ought you to submit yourselves to the will of God! "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." And, above all, He would 'have you learn the perpetual causes for abasement. That is hew we ought to reason — what cause have I for deep abasement, that I require it so much?
(J. H. Evans, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.