Nebuchadnezzar

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

 

Sandy Hotchkiss—in  Why is it Always about You?—identifies what she calls the “Seven Deadly Sins” of narcissism.  They are familiar to almost anyone who has been in a relationship with a narcissist: shamelessness, magical thinking, arrogance, envy, entitlement, exploitation, and bad boundaries.

We see almost all of these in a character from the book of Daniel.  The king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, may well have been the most powerful and most ruthless king in history.  Now, I know that some scholars say this was not the real Nebuchadnezzar , but a man who followed him named, Nabonidus.  I don’t really care one way or the other.  Let’s look at the guy the Bible talks about.

Narcissists are often very successful people.  Nebuchadnezzar was successful.  He had conquered most of the surrounding kingdoms and everyone was afraid of him.  He was brutal and merciless and the nations paid their tribute without a fight.  So he became very wealthy and powerful.

But then he had a disturbing dream.  In his day, dreams were considered to be prophetic, so he wanted an interpretation of the dream.  However, narcissists don’t actually trust the people who work for them.  They will use people and get as much as they can from them, but they never really put themselves into their hands.  So, Nebuchadnezzar believed that he was surrounded by sycophants and incompetents who generally lied to him, and he wouldn’t tell his “wise men” his dream.  He wanted them to interpret the dream, but wouldn’t tell them what it was.  He believed they would just make something up.

He threatened the wise men.  Either they told him what he wanted to know or they would die and their families would die with them.  They had no way of knowing what his dream was (because they really were phonies) so he decided to have them all killed.  After all, he could always get other wise men, right?  Just like any narcissistic boss, he saw no real value in his employees.  Fortunately, Daniel had the answer.  He knew the dream and the interpretation, and Nebuchadnezzar was appeased.

The dream involved a great statue, an image, presumably of Nebuchadnezzar.  Even though the statue in the dream had problems, the idea was placed in his mind.  Soon, Nebuchadnezzar had a great gold image of himself made for everyone to worship.  All the people were supposed to bow to his image whenever they heard the trumpet sounds.  Not all of them did and it made him furious.  Well, you can read the rest of that story for yourselves.

But then there was the day when Nebuchadnezzar was walking on the balcony of his palace and looking out over the great city.  I have to quote this:

The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” Daniel 4:30 (NKJV)

Sound narcissistic to you?  He was the only one who built the great city.  No mention of his slaves, his soldiers, his officials, his wise men, or anyone else.  He did it all himself.  What a guy!

And, as he was stretching his arm to pat himself on the back, something hit him.  A voice of judgment came from God and said that it was time Nebuchadnezzar learned that there was a power greater than his, an authority higher than him.  Nebuchadnezzar went insane.  For some unknown time, perhaps a long time, Nebuchadnezzar left the city and lived like an animal.  He ate grass and even started to look like an animal.  God humbled him.

When the time was fulfilled, God restored his mind and brought him back to his kingdom.  Now, I don’t know if Nebuchadnezzar became a believer, but he certainly learned that he was not the highest power around.  There’s still a little of the old boasting left in him, but he acknowledges that there is at least One who is more deserving of praise than he.

At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me.
37  Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down. Daniel 4:36-37 (NKJV)

“Those who walk in pride He is able to put down.”  Narcissism is ultimately a problem of pride.  God is able to bring down the proud person.  What that person does as a result of this brokenness may not be what God wants,  but God can bring him/her down.

Maybe a direction for prayer in a narcissistic relationship. . .

7 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

7 responses to “Nebuchadnezzar

  1. Healing

    Amen! Another great post – thank you.
    I have always thought that the love of money was not really the root of all evil but rather the worship of self (aka pride). It is definitely the core of narcissism which as we all know causes so much destruction. Maybe it was lost in translation somehow and the real meaning had more to do with loving the power that money can bring which also has to do with pride, n’est-ce pas? 😉
    I look forward to your posts every Friday, thank you!

  2. Sunflower

    And, when people (i.e. pastors) talk about the lusts of the flesh, after having lived with an N for a while, it came to me that the biggest lust of the flesh is the lust for power over others. Money can give you that, too.

  3. Note to all:

    Please be on your guard even here. The internet is a wonderful gathering-place for people who share situations and stories, but it is also an opportunity for predators to find and entice victims. I try to watch what is happening, but I can’t see much more than you. When someone uses an alias, you really don’t know the truth about their story or their motivation. You don’t even know if anything they say is true. Please be very careful.

    If someone tries to connect with you off this blog, be especially careful. It is easy, when you are hurting, to open your heart to someone who seems caring and loving. Yet, that’s how so many got into relationships with N’s in the first place. Keep your guard up, even here. And, please, if you see something that is suspicious or inappropriate, feel free to contact me. I can’t do much, but I can restrict access and delete comments, among other things.

    (I don’t have a good place to put this, so I just stuck it in the comments here. I may repeat it from time to time.)

    Dave

  4. HDG

    Thank you pastor Dave for the ‘warning’ I have gained so much from this blog,just knowing I am not alone. What I experienced with my N is nothing new. 😦 I did share something when I first learned of this blog under my actual initials a friend warned me if my N found out it might not be good so I changed them.He kept talking about something called keystroke program. I hope people here are genuine and caring that evil does not invade and ruin the safe place you’ve created to share and learn.Thank you again!

  5. This post is “Suitable for Framing”. (Most of em are.) How thoughtful of God to put that story in the Bible for us. I have wondered how many and who the narcissists in the Bible are. I think there are MANY. I am somewhat detached from my narcissist friend, now that I know his game, and I pray much less fervently and with much less love… But I still try to pray, and I hope for a day when he and I will get to sit together and really be friends (in another place). Thank you so much for this blog. It is so important to those of us trying to understand and have hope for our situations.

  6. Jennie

    Thanks for Narcissist Friday, Dave. As a survivor (my Mom, brother and husband), I appreciate the truth, the wisdom, and the validation of my experience from a Biblical perspective. It took my 3 1/2 months in a women’s shelter with my 3 kids, marriage separation, and then 3 1/2 years of counselling to come to terms with the emotional wreckage of their antics, but I survived by God’s grace, mercy and providence! Woohoo! Of course he’s sitting in another church now, and wooing another Christian woman, and we aren’t even divorced. I can only pray that she sees the light of day before it’s too late. :/

    • prodigalkatherine

      I think that if she has her own relationship with God, the Holy Spirit will clue her in. However, if her need for a Christian husband verges on idolatry (something I have had to confront in my own sin nature) she will likely ignore the still small voice and have to learn the hard way that a Christian narcissist wants you to worship him, not God.

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