Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Proud’

Proverbs

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;

To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;

To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;

To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

~~  Proverbs 1:1-7  (KJV)

The purpose of the proverbs is education — for attaining wisdom and discipline, for understanding words of insight. My grandmother used to say “experience is a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other.”

Proverbs are short truths drawn from long experience. When we learn from other people’s experience, we take ourselves out of the category of “fool” and put ourselves into the category of disciple.

Fool here doesn’t mean just silly or someone to laugh at. Fool in this context means perverse as well. Perverse: stubborn, hardheaded.

At one point, the Lord calls the children of Israel “a stiffnecked people.” Stiffnecked: proud, stubborn, perverse. It wasn’t a compliment.

A teachable, humble spirit is the mark of a true follower of Christ. While we know what we know, we are always ready to learn more of the Lord.

Our eagerness to learn comes from the awareness of our limitations. No matter how much we learn of God, there is always more to learn. Our finite minds are incapable of encompassing the whole of our infinite God.

But that truth should never stand in the way of our wanting more of Him.

Father, God,

Keep us from pride and stubbornness. Help us to be hungry to know more of You. Grant us a teachable spirit.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

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Source Of Sorrow

Focus verses: Jeremiah 13:15-27

Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet. Reading these verses, one can well understand why Jeremiah wept.

God told him to speak. God told him what to say. And God told him the people would not listen to him, but to the prophets that would tickle their ears with what they wanted to hear.

This particular passage speaks to the arrogance of the people. When a people are arrogant, they tend to glorify themselves, not the God who made them. They forget that their blessings are not earned but are a gift from God.

They grow proud (having excessive self-esteem) and become unteachable because they already know it all.

Israel’s destruction is coming from the north in this passage. They had allied themselves with Babylon – had even taken some of the Babylonian dieties into their homes as objects of worship. They thought that an alliance with Babylon – a strong nation – would protect them.

In the musical “The King and I,” the king sings a song called “It’s a Puzzlement” in which he says:

Shall I join with other nations in alliance?
If allies are weak, am I not best alone?
If allies are strong with power to protect me,
Might they not protect me out of all I own?

Unfortunately, Israel did not consider that their only safe ally is the Lord. They turned their backs on Him. And He will turn His back on Israel in this instance.

I keep seeing our nation in Jeremiah’s prophecies. We have a government system in place that fosters the idol religion of secular humanism. Everything is seen with man as the measure of all things. We have allowed this humanism to grow for almost all of the twentieth century without checking it. In the twenty-first century, we need to stem this tide and return to the basis on which we were founded.

This burden is on the people of God. He says “if my people“… Only the prayers of the faithful (God’s people) can stay the coming captivity of our land. We need to be on our knees.

Father, God,

Save us from arrogance and pride. Give us teachable spirits and praying hearts. Help us to move the people of this land that we love back into the knowledge of and reverence for You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Boasting

Focus verses: Jeremiah 9:23-24

People are natural braggarts.

They love to brag about their accomplishments, their possessions, their skills, their powers. But these are not things to brag about. There will always be someone who has accomplished more in less time. Someone will possess more. Someone else will have greater skill in the same field. Another person will be more powerful.

All these things are vain and empty.

God asks us to be proud of only one thing: that we know Him.

So exactly Who is He?

He is the Creator of all things. He is compassionate and gracious. He is slow to anger. He is loving and faithful. His love is shown by His willingness to forgive. He is righteous. He punishes the guilty. He is just.

It is only when we have a close relationship with Him and understand His ways that we have anything to boast about.

If we have accomplished anything, it’s only because we’ve had His favor. Anything we have acquired to possess has been a gift from Him, because He has made it possible for us to acquire it.

Any skills we have are the gift of God for the natural talents He has given us. Without that innate ability we could not have acquired these skills.

Any power we may have is through His grace. Physical strength is His gift from our birth. Political strength is His gift of favor. Financial strength is His blessing.

None of the things people boast about are theirs to brag about. They are all gifts from God. He is the only thing worth bragging about.

Father, God,

Let our mouths be full of Your praise always. Let our speech reflect Your power and might and majesty. Help us to speak of You, not our selves, that we may draw all men unto You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.