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)

Context

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?

Resource

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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?

Resources

Earl Jabay, The god-players, preface.

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