The Seven Filters – Filter #6, Pt 3 Is my motive to glorify God?

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18, ESV)

When our motives are wrong, we open ourselves to deception and are unable to make the best choices with regards to our thoughts and ideas. One of the great problems we see in proper motivation is that of self-glorification.

Self-glorification can create difficulties in life. – One of the greatest examples of self-glorification is seen in the life of king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He reigned from 605-562 B.C. Babylon had conquered vast territories. They captured and destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C. He took a remnant of the Jews captive after conquering their land, deporting them nearly a thousand miles by foot into Babylon. Among the deportees was a man named Daniel.

Nebuchadnezzar was a successful military leader and also was instrumental in orchestrating many building activities in Babylon. However, all of his successes fed a prideful heart that led to his own degradation. The backdrop is this. Following the Lord’s miraculous deliverance of three Hebrew men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fiery furnace, Nebuchadnezzar praises the “Most High God” for all the works He did for the king (Dan 3:8-4:3).

After the event of the deliverance of the three Jewish men from the furnace, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that scared him. He called upon the wise men of the Chaldeans to interpret the dream, but they could not (Dan 4:4-7). Then Daniel, who was renamed Belteshazzar, arrived and Nebuchadnezzar relayed to the dream to him for interpretation (Dan 4:5-18).

The dream was of a large strong and towering tree that reached to heaven. It was visible to the whole earth, and it was beautiful. It gave shade to the beasts of the field and a resting place for the birds of the air. It also provided the nourishment for all flesh. However, a holy one came down from heaven and proclaimed the tree to be chopped down, the branches lopped off, the leaves removed, and its fruit scattered. Moreover, the beasts and the birds were to flee. The stump of the tree was to be bound. The holy one from heaven then referred to the stump as a person who would have his place with the beasts of the field and have a beast’s mind given to him for an extended time. In the dream, the main point is revealed to the king. It was so “the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.” (Daniel 4:17, ESV)

Daniel then interpreted the dream for Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 4:19-27). The tree represented the king and the greatness of his kingdom. The decree of chopping down the tree, the scattering of its fruit, the flight of the living creatures, the binding of the stump and its representation of the man given over to be like a beast was given as a message to the king. Daniel gave a clear interpretation of the dream regarding what would happen to the king.

this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” (Daniel 4:24–25, ESV)

Then Daniel gives a word of exhortation to the king to repent from his sins by practicing righteousness and to show mercy to the oppressed, for the possibility to extend the reign of the king’s prosperity.

However, the king forgot Daniel’s exhortation (Dan 4:27-33). Twelve months later while the king was on the roof of the palace, he made great blunder of pride. Looking over his kingdom, he stated, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30, ESV) In this statement, Nebuchadnezzar stole the glory from God. It was the true revelation of the sinful view of his heart. As a result, just as Daniel had interpreted, the king was driven into the field, given the mind of the beasts of the field, and made to eat grass like an ox. He lived like this for seven periods of time until his hair and fingernails grew long.

Following the seven periods of time, Nebuchadnezzar regained his senses and gave glory to God (Dan 4:34-37). “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” (Daniel 4:37, ESV) He once again experienced the prosperity of his kingdom.

The point we must take from the account of Nebuchadnezzar is this. The writer of Proverbs put it like this. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18, ESV) We will never be able to accurately filter out our thoughts and ideas to make sure they align with the will of God, if we allow prideful attitudes to result in self-glorification.

You say, “Yea, I get it,” but how many times have we failed to give glory to God? How many times have we boasted, “Look what I have done.” We will never be able to use the filter, “Is my motive to glorify God alone,” if we are not giving the glory to God in our heart. This means that we need a time of serious examination. This has been mentioned before but needs repeating. We should pray the prayer of the Psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23–24, ESV)

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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