Pride + Time = Judgment
Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was dismayed for a while, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king answered and said, "Belteshazzar, let not the dream or the interpretation alarm you." Belteshazzar answered and said, "My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies!
The tree you saw... it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth. (Daniel 4:19, 20, 22)
Pride plus time equals judgment. Always. "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). You cannot change that law. Pride is the attitude of heart which exalts itself above others and above God.
That's the application of .Daniel's words to King Nebuchadnezzar, "The tree you saw... it is you, O king." You're the tree about to get chopped down. Daniel goes on to basically tell him, "You're gonna go insane. You're gonna lose your mind and act like an animal, sir." Those who study these things believe that Nebuchadnezzar actually developed a form of mental illness where he believed himself to be an ox. And it was a judgment from God.
Daniel 4:27 records Daniel's counsel. He says, "Dude, if I was you, I'd humble myself before God right now! Maybe God will give you a little bit more time before you lose your mind and start living like an animal." The next verse tells us a year later the dream came due. Nebuchadnezzar didn't do anything with the warning! And twelve months later he's walking in the palace, talking pride-fully to himself (see v.30-31). "While the word was in the king's mouth" (v.31). How sudden is that? One moment boasting; the next, out of his mind. A voice breaks into the palace declaring all the details of the dream are now a done deal.
Fast-forward seven years. We can laugh about this crazy picture of the king turned ox, but this guy is one of the greatest leaders known in human history. He eventually gets his kingdom back. Verses 34-37 record the king's personal, humbled testimony. The climax comes in v.37: "And those who walk in pride he is able to humble." God is able to (and will) humble those who walk in pride. Every person needs to hear this, "God is able to humble those who walk in pride" It's not a problem for Him. He's not stretched in any way.
Why is this crucial? Because as long as we walk in pride, we can't walk with God. We are never commanded to be humble. We're commanded to humble ourselves—the lesson all of us, even a king, need to learn. And we will; one way or another.