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Monday, March 26, 2007
Sign along rural Pennsylvania Route 897.
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"The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, 'Who can bring me down to the ground?'" (Obadiah 1:3).
There is perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive. Even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.*
Obadiah is the smallest book in the Old Testament having only one chapter with 21 verses. This prophecy is against the Edomites, an ancient people who had descended from Esau, Jacob's brother, and who were long-time enemies of God's chosen people.
The Edomites had rejoiced in the destruction of Jerusalem by her conquerors. (The hatred of Israel by her neighbors is ancient.) Psalm 137:7 states, "Remember O Lord what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. 'Tear it down' they cried, 'tear it down to its foundations!'" This was at the time of the Babylonian conquest. Obadiah was written to assure God's people of His judgment on the Edomites.
Our daily verse indicates a timeless principle: pride deceives. This ancient people indeed had some distinct military advantages due to the seeming invincibility of their position, which indeed was amazing. The cities of Edom were cut right into the face of the cliffs providing imposing natural defenses, which gave their inhabitants feelings of invulnerability.
They thought they could taunt the misfortunes of their neighbors and remain untouched. They had declared, "Who can bring me down to the ground?" The Lord declared, "I will bring you down" (v. 4) and the historical record indicates He did just that.
Pride continues to deceive. The hard but valuable lessons from history are often ignored by the heart of a nation and the heart of an individual.
Where is your source of hope and assurance today? In your education? Your position? Your financial plan? National defenses? The arm of flesh (yours or anyone else's) will surely fail you!
Our only firm foundation is Jesus Christ. Today and everyday let us be mindful of pride's deceitfulness! As God's redeemed people let us humble ourselves before the Lord. Let us remember His Word, "pride goes before destruction" and declare again this day, "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, I consider today that pride reflects my giftings, possessions and knowledge but thanksgiving reflects Your abundance, goodness and all-surpassing wisdom. A heart with godly gratitude instead of a prideful attitude will deflect that which is about me and reflect that which is about You. In the same spirit as John I cry out, "Help me to decrease so that You will increase in my life." Amen.
* Benjamin Franklin from his autobiography.
Today's music is a selection that brings back powerful sentimental memories for both Brooksyne and me. As young Christians Keith Green was one of our favorite musicians. He wrote a song titled "Create in Me a Clean Heart" based on Psalm 51 that is still sung in many churches. Here's an online audio version I found as we prepared today's message. This is a wonderful song to sing during an altar service.
Here's another Keith Green song that always moves me titled "Altar Call" (audio). As we played it this morning Brooksyne lifted up a prayer for a loved one for which she is burdened and this prompted me to do the same.
Finally Keith Green was an outstanding pianist and here's a piano instrumental prelude.
(Keith Green and several of his children died in a plane crash in the early eighties).
We've had our dog Roxie now for two years when she joined our cat Dottie whom we've had since she was born in our summer kitchen in 2001. They now get along quite well and share a spot on a pet pillow underneath our steps. This may sound kind of corny but we are so blessed that our pets get along and just sort of wonder if that's not how our heavenly Father is blessed as he sees His children getting along!
Finally today - Driving along a rural country road on a Sunday afternoon in Lancaster County we encountered these Amish boys playfully blocking the road! The Amish gather in homes for services and visit through the afternoon as the children go off to play.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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