Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Haughtiness and a lofty look

Nebuchadnezzar by William Blake (Daniel 4:30-33)
"Nebuchadnezzar" by William Blake (Daniel 4:30-33)

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Isaiah 2:1-22

The lofty looks of men shall be humbled
The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down,
And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.
For the day of the Lord of hosts
Shall come upon everything proud and lofty
Upon everything lifted up—
And it shall be brought low—"  Isaiah 2:11,12

 Our tendency, encouraged by our humanistic culture, is to get the credit, desire prominence, be the successful, beautiful, wealthy ones that everyone admires. Our word for it is pride: An undue sense of one's own superiority; inordinate self-esteem, arrogance, conceit.

In today's reading in Isaiah and many other places in the Bible we find reasons to pause, though. For the way of pride is not God's way.

Some of the things the Bible says about pride and the proud:
  • Pride is listed among the things that God hates and is called sin - Proverbs 6:17; 21:4.
  • The writer of Proverbs identifies pride with shame and strife, humility with wisdom - Proverbs 11:2; 13:10.
  • The proud set themselves up for a fall - Proverbs 16:18.
  • Habakkuk depicts the person with a proud outlook as a contrast to the person who lives by faith - Habakkuk 2:14.
  • Pride is one of the possessions of this world that is passing away - 1 John 2:16,17.

If we're still not convinced of the wrong-headedness and danger of pride, we need only look at a few Bible characters and see pride's consequences:
  • Pharaoh's scorn of God and Moses led to his ultimate defeat - Exodus 5:2; 14:26-28.
  • Naaman nearly missed being healed because of pride - 2 Kings 5:11.
  • King Uzziah entered the holy place of the temple where only the priests were to go and became infected with leprosy - 2 Chronicles 26:16-20.
  • Haman's pride of position and wrath when Mordecai wouldn't bow to him began a chain of events that ended in his own death - Esther 3:5; 7:9,10.
  • Nebuchadnezzar was full of pride over building Babylon. As a result he was, for a time, inflicted with insanity - Daniel 4:30-33.
  • King Herod refused to give glory to God and suffered the bizarre consequences of death by parasites - Acts 12:23.

A commentary article on this passage in my Bible makes a good application for our lives:

"How often are we wise to be reminded of two things, especially when fruitfulness or blessing attends our work in Jesus' name. First be reminded of the amazing things God did to bring us to a place of blessing; and second be reminded to give Him the glory unswervingly. … Let every inclination to think highly of our work become an occasion for prostration in the presence of God, 'that no flesh should glory in His presence' - 1 Corinthians 1:29" - Paul F. Crouch, "Give God the Glory," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 877 (emphasis added).

Dear God, thank You for this clear warning against pride. Help me to take it to heart and practice a mindset and lifestyle of humility and gratitude. Amen.


New King James Version (NKJV) Used with permission. The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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