Is Sin Good For Anything?
“Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.”
Daniel 4:37 (BRG)
C. S. Lewis described pride as the complete anti-God state of mind. Nebuchadnezzar had something to say on the subject too, having experienced God’s remedy for deflating his own opinion of himself. He’d had a disturbing and puzzling dream that only Daniel was able to interpret. Daniel explained that the dream showed that the king would be like a tree that is cut down till only the stump remains and that he would be chased away to live amongst the wild animals till he understood and acknowledged that the Sovereign God rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever he chooses. Break off your sins, Daniel urged, do what is right and show mercy to the poor and maybe there is hope.
But a year later Nebuchadnezzar gazed down over Babylon from the roof of his palace, carried away with his own strength, greatness and glory. As it turned out, this was not his best thought for the day, because as he gave voice to his own self-admiration, a voice from the heavens declared that his authority had been removed. He lost his sanity and was banished to live out in the wild and eat grass like an ox. After seven years his mind was given back, and his kingship was restored to him. Humbled and humbly, he wrote a letter to be sent out to all his subjects wherever they lived, detailing all his experiences and praising God, of which our scripture is his conclusion.
Now that’s a drastic way to have your pride removed. Thankfully we are not all put out to pasture in order to have a right relationship with God, for God does have a way of dealing with our pride without resorting to such measures. Jesus told us that the Holy Spirit would convict us of sin and that’s just what he does – holding our faults and failings up to our faces so we too can see them. Hateful and harmful though sins are, he puts them to use – as a tool for our growth; in the face of our own sin our pride withers away as we see ourselves for what we are; we come to God in the simplicity and humility of a child and come to treat others with a compassion borne of understanding.
Father, may the Spirit of Christ lead us to acknowledge our failings and abandon our self-deceiving pride and turn to you in humble love.
Study by Hilary Buck
Grace Communion – Lewes
The Priory School
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