For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57:15
God only dwells with a certain class of people. What does this scripture say the class of people is? It says contrite and humble. What does the word contrite mean? It means broken, that you’ve really been broken. What does the word humble mean? It means not proud, it is not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. Humble means, that with a consciousness, we recognize that we have defects and shortcomings. Don’t we all have defects and shortcomings?
Pride on the other hand doesn’t recognize defects and shortcomings. The proud are just going to be interested in themselves. Don’t we live in a world that is self-sufficient, self-oriented, self-centered, and everything is about me and what I want? In our world, people want to serve God the way that they choose to serve him.
Humility isn’t anything like that. Humility is a total submission to God and God’s way. Without humility there will never be a submitting to God’s Word because there will always be self on board and wanting to do things your way.
Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies. The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation: It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth. And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him; This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king: That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity. Daniel 4:19-27
Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and Daniel came in and interpreted it. He told him what the dream was about and that the tree that was going to be cut down was him. He told Nebuchadnezzar specifically that he was going to be driven from men and his dwelling place would be with the beasts of the field. He was going to eat grass with the oxen until he realized that God ruled.
Then Daniel said; O King break off thy sins by righteousness and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Believe in God and repent. But, Nebuchadnezzar let it go in one ear and out the other. He was not teachable and he refused Daniel’s council. It didn’t matter what the Word of God said, he was going to do his own thing.
We can sit right in bible study or in church, God can give us council through the lesson and the Word of God and we can think; I don’t have to do that, I can do my own thing. You can go out and do your own thing, but just like it happened to Nebuchadnezzar in the scripture, God’s Word will always come true. If we are not willing to humble ourselves in real repentance, God will humble us.
What happened to Nebuchadnezzar? He refused the council, wanted to go his own way, even though he heard what God said was going to happen to him.
All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? Daniel 4:28-30
One whole year passed without anything happening. King Nebuchadnezzar was so lifted up in himself and thinking that whatever he wanted he could get. He was thinking that everything that he had in the kingdom was his. He said that Babylon was built by his might and for his honor and majesty. You can lift yourself up and think that you are great, but there is going to be a falling.
God gives people a space of time to repent. At some point and time, if they refuse to repent, that comes to an end. In the days of Noah, God gave the people 120 years. Didn’t the longsuffering of God come to an end when the flood came? There was no more longsuffering; it had come to an end. God gives every one of us a space of time. You can still be living like Nebuchadnezzar was but there came a time when the longsuffering of God came to an end. Then exactly what God had said would happen to him did indeed happen to him.
While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws. Daniel 4:31-33
In these scriptures, Nebuchadnezzar thought that he was the greatest king that there was. He was so filled up with pride. In just a moment of time he was cut down and driven out to eat grass. His body was wet with the dew of heaven until his hairs were grown out like eagles feathers. His fingernails and toenails were like bird’s claws. It was a terrible sight. Don’t you think so? He wasn’t just out there one day or one year. How many years was it? It was seven years; that he was living out on the hillside eating grass and having his hair like bird feathers and his nails like bird claws. He didn’t have a home, he didn’t have his palaces, he didn’t have indoor plumbing, he didn’t have the comforts of life. He was out on the hillside and didn’t have a place to lay his head except the dirt and the grass, just like the oxen and the birds.
And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. 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. Daniel 4:34-37
After seven years what happened? He saw all of the inhabitants of the earth reputed as nothing. We’ve got to see ourselves as nothing in the eyes of God. God is sovereign. God knows everything. Whatever we have is strictly given by the mercy of God. We need to see ourselves as nothing and in total submission to his will. That is what Nebuchadnezzar finally realized. Do you see that it took him seven years out on the hillside eating grass with eagle’s feathers and bird claws? He finally got it that he was nothing and everything he had was due to God's mercy.
His own reasoning returned to him. There are people that have gone too far and their reasoning has never returned to them. They don’t have an opportunity to repent if their reasoning doesn’t return to them. It is vitally important that we see ourselves as nothing and everything that we have comes from God.
God can do what he wants to in Heaven and he can do whatever he wants here in the earth too. Isn’t that what Nebuchadnezzar was saying? God’s the one that has control over everything. Nebuchadnezzar’s reason came back to him and that was strictly the mercy of God. We need to realize that if we walk in pride God is going to abase us and bring us down. It doesn’t matter how long people walk in pride, there is going to be a coming down at some point. They can walk in pride many years, but at the very end there will be a coming down. God is going to bring every one down that has lifted themselves up.
At the Final Judgment there is not going to be one proud person. They are all going to be on their knees owning and recognizing that Jesus Christ is Lord. For some, they will be on their knees but it is going to be too late and they are still going to be cast into Hell because they still have their sins. Isn’t that what the scripture says? Doesn’t the scripture say that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord? Just because every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess doesn’t mean that everyone is going to Heaven. There are people in Hell that are already bowing on their knees but they are in Hell and they are never going to Heaven. It is going to be the same way at the Judgment. It is vitally important that we humbly ourselves now and repent, before it is too late.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 1 Peter 5:6
If we humble ourselves now, repent and live for God in humility, then we will make it to heaven in the end. Isn’t that what we are all striving for?