Not every time you read a Bible passage will you have some mind-blowing revelation. It is kind of like eating—not every meal is a 7-course experience of culinary delight; sometimes you just eat a piece of toast on the fly (at least I do). On the other hand, you may be surprised by the voice of God breaking through a seemingly “dullish” passage of Scripture. Let me give an example from my reading this week in the book of Ezekiel.
When I approached Ezekiel 31 a few days ago, I have to admit that I didn’t have real high expectations… OK, another prophesy for Pharaoh King of Egypt. I wasn’t seeing the immediate relevancy to my life in Glenwood IL. But the Spirit of God used these words to shoot an arrow of conviction into my heart.
I was struck with verse 9 where God was telling Pharaoh straight up, “I made it beautiful with abundant branches, the envy of all the trees of Eden in the garden of Eden.” In other words, Egypt’s amazing fruitfulness and beauty as a nation (compared metaphorically to the garden of Eden) was a direct result of the grace and blessing of God. However, God says through Ezekiel, “because it [Pharaoh and Egypt] was proud of its height, I handed it over to the ruler of the nations, for him to deal with according to its wickedness. I cast it aside.” It hit me like a brick—God is sovereign, he is in control, he rises up, and anything that we have or are is a gift from his hand. It is his grace and blessing that we have anything at all. Pride brings ruin and destruction for both individuals and nations.
With that revelation, I was reminded of 1 Peter 5:5-6, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” Wow, God opposes the proud! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want God to oppose me.
Having teenagers in the house can be a good source of humility. They don’t miss a beat. The other day I did something rather dumb. (I know, shocker, right?) My teenagers were quick to point it out and said, “Dad that was an epic fail!” Translation: that was really dumb. Pride is a great way as an individual or a nation to set oneself up for an epic fail. God opposes the proud… the proud will ultimately be humbled, but listen to this… “But God gives grace to the humble.” Peter further expounds on this in v. 10, “And the God of all grace… will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
That’s what I want; I want God to restore me, revive me, and ultimately give me his infinite strength so I might stand strong, firm, and steadfast in Him. This word really caused me to reflect on my life… Am I proud, setting myself up for an epic fail? Or am I humble, opening myself to God’s amazing grace? I would encourage you to reflect on the words below, and pray accordingly…
|Pride says…||Humility says…|
|Look at me||Look at God|
|I deserve it||I’m grateful for it|
|I’m all good||I need God|
|Serve me!||I’m here to serve you|
|I’m in charge||God’s in charge|
|I did it my way||I did it God’s way|
|Look at my accomplishments||God has used me, and He gets the glory|
God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble!