Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

April 4, 1905

Lessons from the Life of Daniel

Self-exaltation

From the record of Nebuchadnezzar's experience we may learn how the Lord regards the spirit of self-exaltation. Had the Babylonian king heeded God's warnings in regard to self-exaltation, the humiliation with which he was threatened might have been averted; but he went on with proud superiority, using the gifts of God as his own to exalt self, until he felt the humbling hand of the Almighty. Not until he had passed through seven years of shame and suffering, did the king learn that God is able to abase those who walk in pride and self-exaltation. Nebuchadnezzar's experience is a warning to all.

The Creator has given abundant evidence that his power is unlimited, that he can establish kingdoms, and overturn kingdoms. He upholds the world by the word of his power. He made the night, marshaling the shining stars in the firmament. He calls them all by name. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork, showing man that this little world is but a jot in God's creation. Should every member of the human family refuse to acknowledge him, saying, There is no God, he would not want for subjects to proclaim his power.

The inhabitants of the unfallen worlds look with pity and reproach on man's pride and self-importance. The wealthy and the honored of the world are not the only ones who glorify self. Many who profess to revere God, talk of their wisdom and their might. They act as if God is under obligations to them, as if he can not carry on his work without their aid. Let such gaze into the starry heavens, and with admiration and awe study the marvelous works of God. Let them think of the wisdom he displays in maintaining perfect order in the vast universe, and of the little reason that man has to boast of his attainments.

All that man has—life, the means of existence, happiness, and other blessings unnumbered that come to him day by day—is from the Father above. Man is a debtor for all he proudly claims as his own. God gives his precious gifts, that they may be used in his service. Every particle of the glory of man's success belongs to God. It is his manifold wisdom that is displayed in the works of men, and to him belongs the praise.

Every moment the Lord's grace is exercised in behalf of human agencies. Unless the Lord keeps the heart, we are overcome by the enemy. It is Satan who perverts man's powers, and fills the heart with thoughts of self-exaltation. To fear the Lord in holiness, to walk before him in contrition and humility, is the only way to true exaltation, for nations and for individuals; while to walk boastingly and proudly, in presumptuousness and transgression, ends in speedy humiliation, defeat, and ruin.

Men may forget, men may deny their wrong course of action, but a record of it is kept in the book of remembrance, and in the great day of judgment, unless men repent and walk humbly before God, they will meet this dread record just as it stands. If they repent, and keep the fear of the Lord before them, their sins will be blotted out.

God is infinitely gracious. He waits for us to return to him by heart-humiliation, confession, and repentance. He will have mercy on all, and will save all who cherish contrition of soul. The renunciation of self-confidence prepares the way for true faith in God. The moment human beings renounce their selfishness, covetousness, and idolatry, that moment God becomes their all-sufficient Helper. In the infinite fulness of his grace he imparts, for time and for eternity, whatever is needed for the souls and bodies of those who believe.

O that those upon whom light has been shining in rich abundance, might become humble, faithful men and women! O that they would, like the king of Babylon, raise their voices in recognition of God, revealing that they have come to their senses, and that their heart of stone has been changed to a heart of flesh! Then they might form the cabinet of God, being made, in truth, guardians of sacred trusts.

Mrs. E. G. White

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