September 21, 2017

This Week…1 Corinthians 3:16

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Do you not know that you are a temple of God
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, Ann, Ahmee, Cynda and Tina have reminded us that we ARE a temple, a sanctuary that God chooses to dwell in.   In light of the importance of this subject, and the fact that we desperately need God’s help to do this, I would like to repost the humble prayers that our sisters included in their devotionals this week.  May each of us be drawn into a closer relationship with Almighty God recognizing the privilege of living as a sanctuary and a temple for Him.

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Cynda‘s prayer in Living Sanctuary…

Father, gently remind me that Your Spirit permanently dwells in me.  Let my actions reflect that I am a sacred and holy place.  Taking care of Your temple, Your sanctuary is in itself an act of worship and gratitude.  Thank You for being there…a proven help when I struggle.  I am so thankful Your mercies are new each day and that I do not have to do this on my own.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen – It is so!

In Spiritual Temple, Ann prayed….

Dear Lord, thank You for giving us this insight that our bodies are Your temple and the Holy Spirit dwells in it.  We feel honored to be loved in such a way!  However we confess our sins of not doing the right things at the right time with our bodies.  Cleanse us with hyssop; let us be whiter than snow.  We pray for new beginnings in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

In Sanctuary, Tina prayed…

Father, I thank You again for Your wonderful example of how to trust You and how to seek You in all things.  Forgive us when we forget to seek You first.  Holy Spirit, come back to us!  Do not grow weary with our stubbornness to not seek You first.  We need you—like a headstrong child needs a patient, loving, and caring parent—be there with us.  We want to have solid food from our Father.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

And Ahmee asked in We Are Stewards of Our Bodies

Lord, help us to be good stewards of the body that you have provided in whatever fashion that looks like in your eyes for us. Help us to have open minds and to seek your guidance in how you would have us care for this gift you have given us. Thank you, amen.

What Is A Peacemaker

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Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
James 3:18 NIV

I am a peacemaker by nature; a conflict resolver at any cost, or at least I used to be.  I don’t think that is the kind of peacemaker James is referring to.  He is actually talking about healthy peacemakers who are personally at peace with God‘s authority and willing to bring a sense of peace wherever they go.  It doesn’t matter who they are with…they just have that gift.

Turn in your Bible to James 3:13-4:1

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.  What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? (New Living Translation)

What a hard question he is asking the people!  And what kind of answer do you think you would have given him?  What does cause the fighting among God’s people?  I think the answer comes in the second question that is asked: “Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?”  That answer is yes.

The fact is: conflict is part of our human condition.  It exists in most households, offices, and churches.  But just because there is conflict, doesn’t mean that there has to be fighting and quarreling.  However, they usually go hand in hand, especially if people are not willing to take responsibility for their own part in an argument.  They find someone or something to blame for their actions instead of just admitting the wrong that they did or the words that they said.

But God calls us to be different.  As His children, we pray for the wisdom to do the hard things—like admitting we were wrong and asking for forgiveness.  He calls us to be humble, knowing that we are human and will make mistakes. Read James 3:13 again.  The writer is reminding us that one who is wise and understands God’s ways will show it by deeds done in humility.  Saying we are sorry requires humility and that means admitting to others that we are actually wrong sometimes.  (We don’t like that very much.)  But in order to be the light that Jesus calls us to be and to be the witness that leads others to Him we must right our wrongs.

This is the kind of peacemaker that God calls us to be.  The kind that humbles themselves and shows love to others.  Seeking God’s wisdom delivers us from the need to be right all the time and helps us become the humble servant to those that we come in contact with.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
Matthew 5:9

 { You are a child of God….  }

Do you know this God that loves you so much?  He is your Father and He wants so much to be in your life.  Or maybe you know Him but you’ve moved away from Him and need to get back on track.  If so, He is waiting and He will meet you right where you are.

I would love for you to pray this prayer with me today:

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and I need forgiveness.  I am far from You today and I want to change that.  I believe that Jesus is Your Son and He died for my sins.  I ask that Jesus come into my heart today and be Lord of my life.  Walk with me…gve me more knowledge of You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Show Me Your Ways

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Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore He instructs sinners in His ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them His way.
Psalms 25:8 and 9 NIV

Show me Your ways
Teach me Your paths
Lead me in Your truth, O Lord
On You I will wait

You are upright
Teaching sinners the way
The humble You guide in justice
The humble You teach Your ways

All Your paths O Lord are mercy and truth
And Your secret is for those who fear You

You will teach me the way I should go
You will guide me in the fear of the Lord
In Your presence, You will give me rest

You will show me the path of life
In Your presence is fullness of joy
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore

This Week…Psalms 25:8 and 9

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Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore He instructs sinners in His ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them His way.
Psalms 25:8 and 9 NIV

What a loving and kind God we have—He doesn’t just tell us that we must follow His ways (though He could do that).  He instructs and teaches us His ways. Who could be a better teacher than He?  No one.  And when we humbly seek His instruction and guidance, He faithfully teaches us His ways.

This week’s devotionals have centered on verses 8 and 9 of Psalm 25.  Earlier on in this psalm, David asks his God to teach him; listen:

Show me Your ways, Lord,
teach me Your paths.
Guide me in Your truth and teach me,
for You are God my Savior,
and my hope is in You all day long.

And these are the very things that my friends…Ann, Ahmee, Cynda, Laura, and Tina…have shared in the Seeking Him devotional blog this week.  Here is a short synopsis of some truths that they have shared.

Laura shared about the vital importance of being in a relationship with our Teacher:
“We become wiser the longer we stay in the Word of God and immerse ourselves in our relationship with Christ…By allowing God to be our Teacher, we gain the wisdom to be able to discern what is right and wrong. We become humbled and are able to teach others about God.”

Tina reminded us how humility allows us to be teachable:
“We, as believers, continue to learn every day. Each day is a new opportunity to learn about the wonder of our God. He shows us what is available to us. All we have to do is look and take action. God wants us to seek after Him and be teachable. We can do this by becoming humble. We are to ask God to reveal His heart to us and we need to be receptive to His Word.”

Ahmee wrote about God’s accessibility and willingness to teach us:
“…all you need to do is ask Him for help and He will guide you…One thing I love about God is that He is accessible. Even though He lives where we cannot physically see Him (like we would our friends or family), He is still ever so close to us. He also has a limitless wealth of wisdom and knowledge, and He is willing to share with us!”

Ann brought us back to foundation of asking and seeking:
“…seeking His guidance. And also make sure we are guided by the Spirit of God through the Word of God.” Take a look, again, at the some of the Scriptures she shared with us.
When we allow God to guide us…Psalm 32:8
He will guide us into glory..Psalm 73:24
He will guide our path…Isaiah 42:16 (also Isaiah 48:17, Luke 1:79)
He will guide us in all truth…John 16:13

Cynda focused on the value of biblical humility—’a lowliness of mind’ and being ‘submissive, meek, contrite, teachable.’  She wrote, “I would much rather bask in God’s grace than have God oppose me; wouldn’t you? Psalm 25:9 states that if we are willing to be humble, God Himself will teach us His ways. I couldn’t ask for a better teacher!”

How very thankful I am for each of these reminders!  I want to be humble and meek…teachable…soaking up like a sponge all that my Father chooses to teach me.  You, too?

Gone Astray?

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The Lord is good and does what is right;
He shows the proper path to those who go astray.
He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them His way.
Psalms 25:8-9

Are you confused?  Lost?  You don’t know what to do next?  Or have you knowingly wandered off the path you know was set before you?  Remember, God knows everything—all you need to do is ask Him for help and He will guide you.

Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, imprisoned in iron chains of misery.
They rebelled against the words of God, scorning the counsel of the Most High.
That is why He broke them with hard labor;
they fell, and no one was there to help them.
“Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress.
He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; He snapped their chains.
For he broke down their prison gates of bronze; He cut apart their bars of iron.
Psalms 107:10-14, 16

One thing I love about God is that He is accessible.  Even though He lives where we cannot physically see Him (like we would our friends or family), He is still ever so close to us.  He also has a limitless wealth of wisdom and knowledge, and He is willing to share with us!

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you.
He will not rebuke you for asking.
James 1:5

God can be mysterious, but the more and more we grow in relationship with Him, the more and more we can understand Him.  So, go to God and let Him set you straight.

The Humble

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He leads the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.
Psalm 25:9 AMP

As I read this passage, my eye kept returning to the word humble.  Being humble is something I have struggled with.  Not necessarily that I think I am better than anyone, but that I know what is best for them or the best way to handle a situation.

The world’s view of humble and the Biblical view of humble are vastly different.  The world tends to view humility as a weakness, being a wimp. The biblical Greek translation of humble is “a lowliness of mind.”  That doesn’t mean putting yourself down or talking bad about yourself.  As the Pulpit Commentary defines it, being humble means you are “submissive, meek, contrite, teachable.”

Humility is an absence of self. It is a heart attitude…not an act we put on.  A humble person willingly submits themselves to God.  Humility is giving up our desires for the good of another—a willingness to step aside so another can shine.  Being humble means giving up my right to be right in order to do what is right.  It takes a strong person to put oneself aside.

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves,
you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy,
kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Colossians 3:12

Now finally, all of you should be like-minded and sympathetic,
should love believers, and be compassionate and humble…
1 Peter 3:8 HCSB

But, why should we be humble?  1 Peter 5:5 (AMP) offers the best reason I can think of:

Clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility [as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance] toward one another. For God sets Himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful)—[and He opposes, frustrates, and defeats them], but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble.

I would much rather bask in God’s grace than have God oppose me; wouldn’t you? Psalm 25:9 states that if we are willing to be humble, God Himself will teach us His ways.  I couldn’t ask for a better teacher!  Plus there are so many benefits to being humble:

  • If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.
    2 Chronicles 7:14 HCSB
  • I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at My word.
    Isaiah 66:2 HCSB
  • Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their hearts. You will listen carefully
    Psalm 10:17
  • The humble will eat and be satisfied.
    Psalm 22:26a HCSB
  • But the humble will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
    Psalm 37:11 NASB
  • The humble will see their God at work and be glad.
    Psalm 69:32a NLT
  • …a humble spirit will obtain honor.
    Proverbs 29:23b NASB
  • Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
    James 4:10 NASB

The world may try to convince us humility is a weakness, but all it offers in return is self-satisfaction.  It cannot offer anything that compares to what God offers the humble.  And there is not one of these benefits I am willing to give up.

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Father God, we thank You for Your grace.  We thank You for the blessings You are waiting to bestow upon us if we are willing to humbly submit ourselves to You.  What the world has to offer pales in comparison.  Gently remind us when our attitude shifts away from humility.  Continue to help us as we struggle to become humble and teach us Your ways.  In Your Holy name I pray, Amen – It is so!

Humility

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We have now entered the season of Lent.  For many Christians, Lent is taken as a time of preparation for the celebration of Easter where God miraculously redeemed mankind by resurrecting His Son from the dead. It is also a time to consider what Jesus said and did; and how we should be living in light of His Words.  ✞ ♥

During this season, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have chosen to focus our devotionals on Jesus’ instructions and admonition communicated in Matthew chapter 5—the Beatitudes.  Jesus said, “Blessed are…” and He went on to give instruction as to how to be “blessed.”  To be ‘blessed’ is to ‘be happy, or to be envied.’   Truly for the Christian, we ARE blessed—oh, how very blessed we are!  Those who observe our lives should clearly be able to tell that we ARE blessed—and that we KNOW it! ✞ ♥

Please consider Jesus’ instructions along with us.  We pray that our words will encourage you and spur you on to be prepare your hearts for the joyous celebration of His Resurrection!  ✞ ♥

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 
Matthew 5:5

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You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less.  That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. 

Matthew 5:5

Humility…this is one of those words church people say alot, but sometimes don’t understand.  I can see why when there are verses like Philippians 2:3 in the Bible.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit,
but with humility of mind
regard one another as more important than yourselves.

Humility is definitely something I struggled with at first and I’m still learning how to live this out.  The Message Translation (in Matthew 5:5) explains it as being “content with who you are—no more, no less.”  According to Philippians 2:8, Jesus was an example of humility when He “…humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death to the cross!”

I like to think of humility as accepting myself just the way I am this very minute; and understanding that, although I may not be perfect, I am loved and adored by the Most High…and if God can love me, then I can love me.  Humility to me is looking at another person, whether they be a murderer, thief, or liar (all of which are sins), and understanding that I am no better than they are.  They sin and I sin…and a sin is a sin.  Paul makes this concept simple in Romans 3:23 and 24:

For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and are justified FREELY by His grace
through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

When we see others who sin, our thoughts shouldn’t consist of “Oh, at least I don’t do that,” and we shouldn’t think of one sin as worse than another.  Instead we should be concerned with whether they have heard the gospel and if they know the awesome Savior, Jesus Christ.  And if they do? Great!  And so we should…

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews 10:24

Don’t be so harsh with your brothers and sisters in Christ.  None of us are perfect, and although we may (or may not) strive to be perfect ambassadors for Christ, we all make mistakes.  One of my favorite verses (Proverbs 24:16) is, “For a righteous man falls seven times, and he rises again….”

A perfect example of humility is shown in Luke 7:36-50.  This passage tells the story of Jesus being anointed by a sinful woman.  This woman knew who she was.  She knew who she needed, as well.  She could have looked at herself and felt that she was unworthy or “too” immoral/sinful; but she humbled herself and approached Jesus. The Pharisees, of course, looked down on this woman and criticized Jesus for allowing her to touch Him.

Jesus is willing to accept all…all can humbly approach His throne.

Thank You, Lord for loving me.  I am so thankful that I can do nothing to make You love me more or less—I am loved!  It’s just that simple.  Help me to remember not to complicate the love You give me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Be Humble

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We have now entered the season of Lent.  For many Christians, Lent is taken as a time of preparation for the celebration of Easter where God miraculously redeemed mankind by resurrecting His Son from the dead. It is also a time to consider what Jesus said and did; and how we should be living in light of His Words.  ✞ ♥

During this season, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have chosen to focus our devotionals on Jesus’ instructions and admonition communicated in Matthew chapter 5—the Beatitudes.  Jesus said, “Blessed are…” and He went on to give instruction as to how to be “blessed.”  To be ‘blessed’ is to ‘be happy, or to be envied.’   Truly for the Christian, we ARE blessed—oh, how very blessed we are!  Those who observe our lives should clearly be able to tell that we ARE blessed—and that we KNOW it! ✞ ♥

Please consider Jesus’ instructions along with us.  We pray that our words will encourage you and spur you on to be prepare your hearts for the joyous celebration of His Resurrection!  ✞ ♥

Blessed are the meek (those who are humble) for they will inherit the earth. 
Matthew 5:5

The meek are those who are humble and submissive before God.  They are more concerned about God’s Word and God’s people than about what might happen to them personally.  The meek, rather than the aggressors, ultimately inherit the earth.

But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.
Psalm 37:11

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4

Humility is a selfless regard for the needs and desires of others over your own, and maybe even at the expense of your own.  It is first and foremost looking at others as more important, more worthy, and more significant than yourself.  Instead of saying “I deserve this,” say “Why should I deserve this more than someone else?”  Paul continues on in Philippians 2 to put Jesus forward as the ultimate example of humility and selfless sacrifice.

This attitude doesn’t mean we never try to achieve goals, or advance in the world.  I believe God blesses people with material advancement so that they can be a blessing to others.  Wealthy Christians and successful Christian businesses are in a position to use their wealth and resources for the advancement of God’s Kingdom, and the nurture and encouragement of the Church.  So humility doesn’t mean “not getting on in the world,” but it dictates how we get on—not at the expense of others.  And, of course, our humility must always be in the context of our relationship with God.  We must always humbly recognize God’s ways as superior to ours, and accept our place in God’s decrees.

Another underlying meaning for humble is “the oppressed”—i.e., those who have been humbled.  In this sense, this beatitude mirrors the first (verse 3): the poor in spirit receive the Kingdom of heaven…the humble (or humbled) inherit the earth.  God promised Abraham that he and his children would be heirs of the world through faith (see Romans 4:13), and clearly God had a greater plan than merely the spread of His people over a piece of land. Rather it is the spread of the gospel amongst every tribe, tongue, and nation, where countless numbers of people will receive an eternal inheritance unconstrained by national boundaries.

Think of it in this way: those who humble themselves before God and embrace the gospel…who then consider others more important than themselves…show their willingness to become servants in obedience to the gospel…will become co-inheritors with Christ of eternal life and the Kingdom of heaven.  Does that include you?

Father, we thank You for the right Word at the right time.  Make this Word be alive in our hearts.  Make us conscious of our weaknesses and quick to give credit to You, Father, and others for what we accomplish.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

16 Day Love Challenge: Chapter 5 – Love is not Proud

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
1 Corinthians 13:4

In this verse, we are first told a bit about what LOVE is—LOVE is patient and kind. Earlier this week, our sisters Cherie and Rebecca (the authors of The 16 Day Love Challenge: Matching our Words and Actions with 1 Corinthians 13:4-8) encouraged us to honestly and bravely ask God to show us if we really are patient and kind women. We looked at the state of our own hearts to see how impatience had cost us in our relationships and if we were really willing to “be kind no matter what!”  I, myself, love these challenges; how about you?

Then we see two things that LOVE is not—LOVE does not envy or boast. Again, Cherie and Rebecca prompted us to search our hearts and seek God’s help in dealing with any and all areas of envy and boasting. Because they are sin…enough said, yes?

Now here we are at the end of Verse 4 where the Scriptures tell us “LOVE is not proud.” Now this is not talking about the kind of pride where a momma is ‘bust my buttons’ proud over the accomplishments of her little ones. Nor is it the type of pride that we are to sing “I am proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free!” Nor is it the kind of pride my young grandson has when he stands up during circle time and—from cover to cover—reads a book to his classmates without a stumble or a falter. Nor the pride we boast of when we proclaim and exclaim over the power of Jesus’ Cross.

No, this pride talked about in Verse 4 is NOT good. This pride is “the absence of love.” Wow! Not where we want to be, hmmm? As Cherie says to us, “…Pride has invaded your heart and separated you from your husband, friends, co-workers, neighbors, family members…” But there is great HOPE! Listen…

But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.
James 4:6, 10

alright, quick now: what DOES humility mean?
From Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Lowly; modest; meek; submissive; opposed to proud, haughty, arrogant or assuming. In an evangelical sense, having a low opinion of one’s self, and a deep sense of unworthiness in the sight of God.

So, to paraphrase, if one is humble or has humility, then they are modest, submissive, with a deep sense of unworthiness compared to God (and, to a lesser extent, compared to others also).

In closing, consider this section from 1 Peter 5:5-7:

You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

From these verses, we see four motivations to be humble:

  • God is opposed to the proud. Could there be anything worse? God opposed to you? So don’t be proud.
  • God gives grace to the humble. Could there be anything better than to have your awesome God treat you so graciously. He does that to the humble.
  • God exalts the humble: Under His mighty hand, God will exalt you at the proper time.
  • God cares for the humble: So give to Him all your worry, care, concern, because He cares for you.

May I encourage you (me, too!) to be a humble person because, if you are proud, God will be against you in your pride; but if you are humble he will give you grace, exalt you in due time, and care for you along the way so that you don’t have to be anxious.

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Here are a few other verses to help hide God’s Word regarding humility in your heart:

Proverbs 15:33   The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord brings instruction in Wisdom, and humility comes before honor.

Zephaniah 2:3   Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.

Ephesians 4:1-3 Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.

Philippians 2:3   Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…

Colossians 3:12 and 13   Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other;

1 Peter 5:5   Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Esther – Chapter 6:12-14

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Afterward Mordecai returned to the king’s gate.

Esther 6:12

How interesting that all that honor and fanfare didn’t seem to give Mordecai a big head.  He went back to his daily position and duties.  I believe he knew his true value came from his God, and not from men, and that’s all he needed.  What a difference humility and faith makes in a person’s life!

Then there was Haman.  Obviously, honor from the king fed his self-centered pride so it meant everything to him.  But the honor went to the “other guy!”  Esther 6:12b, “But Haman rushed home, with his head covered in grief,”  How frustrating, depressing, and embarrassing for Haman.  What could be more defeating than to have his plans for destruction completely reversed, and perhaps begin to fall on him!?

Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.

Proverbs 29:23

Esther 6:13 (NLT), “When Haman told his wife, Zeresh, and all his friends what had happened, his wise advisers and his wife said, ‘Since Mordecai–this man who has humiliated you—is of Jewish birth, you will never succeed in your plans against him. It will be fatal to continue opposing him.’”  In his arrogance, Haman expected some sympathy from his wife and his “wise” friends but instead they foretold of his demise.  They told him two things which turned out to be prophetic.

The first was based on a fact: “Mordecai is a Jew, and because of that fact your plan will fail.” They were implying that the Jews’ God was watching over them, and He was more powerful than any human plan.

I found this very intriguing.  Here was the Jewish Nation defeated in war, their cities destroyed, and the people taken captive to serve in foreign lands.  In spite of those facts, the citizens who lived around the Jews recognized that God was with them.  They saw the resilience, strength, and confidence of the Jews that could only be explained in reference to their worship of and their trust in their God.

This raised questions in my own mind: Do others see the evidence of resilience, strength, and confidence in my life that demonstrates my faith that God is taking care of me?  Do I live a life of humility so that my life points others to my God?

What “great“ friends these guys were, and they weren’t finished with Haman yet!  They barely took a breath when they hit him with the second prophetic statement: “You, personally, will be ruined!”

Without a chance to think that through, a knock came at the door and Haman was escorted, as was the custom, to the second of Queen Esther’s banquets.  I imagine in light of what his friends had just told him, he had many conflicting thoughts as he went.  Would this be his chance to make more “brownie points” with the king and queen and receive more honor, or was doom lurking in the very shadows of the queen’s banquet hall?

Our author, Darlene Schacht says, “This entire chapter has a strong focus on the dangers of pride and the blessings of humility. It is further exemplified here as Mordecai is exalted and Haman is cut down.”  We talked last week in chapter five about pride and humility, and Tonya talked about the dangers of pride on Tuesday.  Oh my, here we are again today.  Over the years I’ve heard Bible teachers say that if God’s Word repeats something more than once God must consider it important enough for us to stop and reflect on it.  (Okay, Lord, I’m listening!)

Humility:  Mordecai is our example of humility.  He was meek, having a quiet, gentle spirit. He was more concerned about others than he was for his own welfare.  True humility is more than an outward act of service.  It is also an attitude that comes from the heart. Colossians 3:12, “Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

Pride: There are two kinds of pride.  We can take “pride” in a job well done; that is to be happy for the accomplishment.  We see the other kind of pride that the Bible refers to in Haman; pride in himself, giving himself all the credit.  Like humility, pride is an attitude of the heart.  We, too, can have this pride which convinces us to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. This pride can be subtle. This pride is self-righteousness, not giving credit to God for the good in our lives and what we’ve accomplished, and that is sin.                 

I Corinthians 4:7, “For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?”

Darlene asks, “What are some of the ways you might protect your heart against pride?”  I’ll share a couple and then please add your thoughts as you share today:

  1. I remind myself regularly that any gifts and talents that I have, and the fruit of the Spirit, all come from God.
  2. I must recognize that whatever is good within me is only because of Jesus.
  3. Your turn!

I would like to use some of John Piper’s quote that Darlene shared with us as part of our prayer today.

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord, we are once again confronted with the sharp contrast between humility and pride, two very opposing forces in our own lives.  You want us to be clothed in humility, and to be alert to protect our heart against pride.  Holy Spirit, we can’t do this without You.  Please help us “to cultivate a joy in Christ, His wisdom, power, justice, and love that is more satisfying than the pleasures of human praise.  We pray that we will experience the miracle of self-forgetfulness in the admiration of Christ, and in love toward people.”  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.