Why should we humble ourselves?

Rehoboam is an example of the proverb. Even when warned by Shemaiah the prophet:

“Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and to the princes of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the LORD, ‘You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.'”

2 Chronicles 12:5

Rehoboam did not abandon his pride. It wasn’t until Shishak, the ruler of Egypt, began to decimate his kingdom that he turned and humbled himself before the Lord.

How did God respond when Rehoboam repented?

Then the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The LORD is righteous.” When the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah: “They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”

2 Chronicles 12:6-8

The Lord relented His wrath on Rehoboam and Judah so as to provide them some relief. They were sacked and beaten down but they were not destroyed. God is merciful, but He is also just. Even though God’s heart is bent towards mercy, His character requires Him to act justly (Exodus 34:6-7).

The Psalm that accompanies our reading of 2 Chronicles 12, in our read through Scripture program, reveals how we should think of our relationship with the Lord:

“For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.”

Psalm 73:27-28

We shouldn’t believe ourselves better than the Lord. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to stray from His wisdom and will for our lives. Instead, we should continue to trust in and seek Him. He is our refuge. It is because of Him that we find success.

Rehoboam learned this lesson the hard way, you can argue he never fully learned it because he continued to do evil all his days. Let us not learn the hard way. Let us humble ourselves before the mighty hand of our God all the days of our lives.

Is your prosperity getting in the way of praising God for His provision?

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed. To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!” You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” (Ps 30:4–12)


These verses indicate that David was well off. After all, he was the king of Israel. His kingdom was rich and blessed in many different ways. The things his hands touched prospered. In his life of ease, he forgot about the Lord. He thought his possessions, money, kingdom, and military was all he needed for success. But this was not so. The reason he had what he had was because of the hand of the Lord.

Pride = The Lord’s Discipline

As a result of his pride, David faced the discipline of the Lord (Ps. 30:7). God hid His face from him. In other words, He removed His blessing and protection. Eventually, through the Lord’s discipline, David realized his sin, repented, cried to the Lord for mercy, and was restored (Ps. 30:8-10).

For Us

David teaches us a valuable lesson, especially those of us that live in Western Christendom. We are a prosperous nation and people by all account. Many of us don’t want for anything. We are successful. Live in nice houses, drive nice cars, and have a good paying job that provides well for our family. We are able to take vacations every year, entertain our families every weekend, and enroll our children in extracurricular activities throughout the year. We are a prosperous people.

While it is okay to enjoy the Lord’s blessings, we go wrong, just like David, when we begin to trust in our prosperity instead of the Lord. When things are going well, it’s easy to forget God is the One who provides everything we have. Sometimes it takes God removing His hand of blessing from our life in order for us to realize that He is the One who prosperous us instead of ourselves.

May we always remember the reason we have what we have is because of the Lord’s blessings on our lives. When we forget that all important trust and begin to trust in ourselves, may we be quick to repent of our pride and turn to worship the Lord for His abundant grace, mercy, and provision.

Question for Reflection

  1. Is your prosperity getting in the way of praising God for His provision?



On Man’s Ego

Never in the history of the race has man been so busily occupied with the study of himself as he is today.

The behavioral scientists and the religionists are turning out tons of material for us to read as we search for new knowledge about ourselves. Most of us are surprisingly eager to do our assigned reading because, quite frankly, we are enthralled and fascinated with our subject. We are unreservedly devoted to this baffling, unmanageable creature called man.

No one interests us more than ourselves.

One large reason for this is that we are all egoists at heart. And that’s a problem, the world’s biggest. God has shown us how this problem is solved. God is Himself the solution.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Are you enthralled with yourself?
  2. Do you realize you have an ego problem?
  3. Do you know that God is the solution?


Earl Jabay, The god-players, preface.


Respectable Sins: 4 Manifestations of Pride | Part 4

In my last post in this series, I discussed the pride of achievements. Today, I continue my discussion by focusing on the pride of an independent spirit.

The Pride of an Independent Spirit

This form of pride expresses itself in two ways: (1) “A resistance to authority, especially spiritual authority”, and (2) “an unteachable attitude.”[1]

This particular form of pride stems from believing that we know everything. When we think we know more than someone else, we are less likely to submit to their spiritual guidance and authority. This is something the Bible condemns. In Hebrews 13:17, we read,

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Even though this verse directly applies to spiritual leaders in our churches, the principle of teachability and submission carries over to any situation where we are under the tutelage of a more mature believer. Which means there are those who are more mature than us that can help us grow in our Christian walk. We should take advantage of those relationships by being mentored, which should then result in us mentoring others.

How do we guard against this form of pride?

I believe we can guard against this form of pride by meditating on the following Scriptures.

“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you,” (Prov. 2:1)

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments,” (Prov. 3:1)

“Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight,” (Prov. 4:1)

“My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding,” (Prov. 5:1)

“My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you;” (Prov. 7:1)

All of these Scriptures stress teachability and a respect for authority. Just as a son is to respect his father’s authority and allow him to teach him that which he does not know, we are to respect the spiritual authority of those more mature than us, allowing them to teach us, so that we can grow in our Christian walk.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Are you susceptible to this form of pride?
  2. In what generation does this sin typically surface?
  3. What other issues besides an independent spirit do you believe hinders mentoring relationships in our churches?
  4. How might being mentored by a more mature believer benefit you?
  5. If you are currently being mentored, would you share how that time has benefited your spiritual progress?


[1] Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, 97.

Post Adapted from Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges, 97-100.

Respectable Sins: 4 Manifestations of Pride | Part 3

In my last post in this series, I discussed the pride of correct doctrine. Today, I continue my discussion by focusing on the pride of achievement.

The Pride of Achievement

Let me say upfront, I believe it is okay to take pleasure in and enjoy our accomplishments. Where I believe we become prideful in our achievements is when we believe that we are the ones who got ourselves there, or when we believe we are better than others because of our place in life. In other words,

Pride in our achievements is having too high of an opinion of ourselves and not realizing we have accomplished what we have accomplished because of God’s work in our lives.

While Scripture is replete with references to a “cause-and-effect relationship between hard work and success in any endeavor” (Prov. 13:4; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Cor. 9:26-27; Phil. 3:12-14), Scripture also tells us that all our talents and natural skills, intellect, health, and opportunities come from God, so that nothing happens outside of God’s sovereign control and will [1].

Several verses come to mind to back up that claim. Some of which are: 1 Samuel 2:7; Psalm 75:6-7; Haggai 1:5-6.

1 Samuel 2:7-8 reads,

The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.

Psalm 75:6-7 reads, 

For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.

Haggai 1:5-6 reads,

Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.

So then, we see that “we have nothing that will enable us to achieve success that we did not receive from God”, because there is nothing that we have that did not come from God since He is the all sovereign Ruler of the universe [2]. Granted, from a human perspective, it does not always seem that God has given us everything we have. Rather, it seems that we have what we have because of our hard work.

However, when we look at Scripture we see that our work ethic, intellect, abilities and talents, as well as our opportunities are all given to us by God. Jerry Bridges, commenting on this idea, says, “There is no such thing as a ‘self-made man’ – that is the man (or woman) who has ‘pulled himself up by his own boot straps'”[3]. God is the one who has given that person the “entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen that enabled” them to succeed [4]. Paul confirms this when he writes in 1 Corinthians 4:6-7,

“I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?”

So we see that we have no reason to be puffed up, God is the one who gives us everything that we have.

How do we guard against this form of pride?

First, we need to realize that when we accomplish anything, we have only done our duty. In Luke 17:10, Jesus says,

“So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ ”

Second, all our recognition comes from God, no matter the source. He is the One who causes others to recognize us, and He is the One who causes others to compliment us (Ps. 75:6-7).

Looking Forward

In my next installment in this series, I will focus on the pride of an independent spirit. Until then, reflect on this post through the questions below.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Are you susceptible to this form of pride?
  2. What do you believe God has endowed you with so that you can accomplish all that you have accomplished in life?
  3. What or who do we often believe gets us our achievements?
  4. How might it affect our lives and relationship with God if we rid the pride of achievements from our life?


[1] Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, 9394.
[2] Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, 94.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.

Post Adapted from Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges, 93-96

Respectable Sins: 4 Manifestations of Pride | Part 2

In my last post in this series, I discussed the pride of moral self-righteousness. Today, I continue my discussion by focusing on the pride of correct doctrine.

The Pride of Correct Doctrine

This sin manifests itself when we think our belief system is superior to others. It often occurs in those who are theologically minded, or even in someone who believes doctrinal distinctions are erroneous or unnecessary. Personally, being theologically minded and having attended seminary, I struggle most with this form of pride.

What does Scripture have to say?

Scripture is not silent when it comes to the pride of correct doctrine. In 1 Corinthians 8:1 Paul addresses this form of pride, when he writes,

 “Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.

In this verse, Paul does not disagree with their knowledge. He too believes that idols are nothing and that eating meat offered to idols is permissible. What he disagrees with is the pride associated with their knowledge.

Apparently, some in the church in Corinth had become puffed up because they thought themselves doctrinally superior to the other church members, since they realized food offered to idols was not wrong to eat.

Paul tells them that their knowledge is not to puff them up, but it is to cause them to act in love. Knowing that others will stumble when they eat meat offered to idols, should result in them limiting their eating of it to certain times and places; times and places when and where their weaker brothers are absent. In doing so, they would be acting out of love and not pride.

However, if they chose to partake when their weaker brother was present, they would not only cause them to stumble, but they would be acting out of pride. Since they would be touting their knowledge of correct doctrine.

How do we guard against this form of pride?

First, by treating others with respect. Realizing that many godly men and capable scholars hold differing beliefs than we do for good reasons. We should not down them, as if they are stupid, ignorant, or less intelligent. Rather, we should disagree with the system to which they hold, while still respecting them and their abilities.

Second, by being humble about our beliefs. So what if we have it right? Being doctrinally correct does not make us better than someone else.

Looking Forward

In my next installment in this series, I will focus on the pride of achievements. Until then, reflect on this post through the questions below.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Are you susceptible to this form of pride?
  2. What belief systems might we believe are better than others?
  3. Has God convicted you of this sin in the past? If so, how did you deal with it?
  4. How might it affect our church if we rid the pride of correct doctrine from our church?


Post Adapted from Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges, 89-100