Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tempted to exalt yourself?

Nathan & Bathsheba before David
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Kings 1:1-21

TO CHEW ON: "Then Adonijah, the son of Haggith exalted himself saying, 'I will be king'; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him." 1 Kings 1:5

Adonijah, David's oldest living son, thought the throne should be his. Given the frailty of his aged father, he no doubt expected the process to be quick and easy. Taking the matter into his handsome hands he "exalted himself, saying 'I will be king.'"

The Bible speaks—and not reassuringly—of self-exaltation. Some examples:
  • Satan exalted himself, declaring himself above God, before being thrown out of heaven - Isaiah 14:12-15.
  • Moses accused Pharaoh of exalting himself against the Israelites when he refused to let them go (Exodus 9:17) and we know what happened to him.
  • Though the words self exhalation aren't used, that's what Absalom, Adonijah's older brother had done when he tried to take over his father's throne - 2 Samuel 15:1-12. We have recently read of his inglorious end - 2 Samuel 18:9, 14.

Adonijah didn't reckon with the intervention of Nathan the prophet, who alerted Bathsehba, the mother of Solomon, to whom David had promised the throne. She went to David and very quickly the palace was in the thick of planning a legitimate coronation.

The temptation to exalt oneself is just as strong as ever. Though we don't do it to get a physical throne, the real need to be noticed in order to succeed in business or the arts in a noisy world easily morphs into self-exaltation.

More than ever we need wisdom to know when we've crossed the line between giving necessary information (advertising), and self-exaltation. May  the peace of God be the umpire in our hearts (Colossians 3:15 Amplified) as we resist the temptation to exalt ourselves, choosing instead the Kingdom-wise state of humility and faith that God will lift us up if and when it suits His purposes.

Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). James echoes that thought: "Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away" (James 1:9-10).

Do I, do you have the faith to wait for God to exalt us and our projects and causes?

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to trust You to exalt me when needed and resist the temptation to exalt myself. Amen.

MORE: Anti-self-exaltation wisdom

"It is not good to eat much honey; So to seek one's own glory is not glory." - Proverbs 25:27

"Let another man praise you and not your own mouth; A stranger and not your own lips." - Proverbs 27:2
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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