Thursday, January 15, 2015

Jeremiah 13:15-17 -- On Pride and Glory

"Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken.
Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.
But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock is carried away captive."
Jeremiah 13:15-17

This is the prophet Jeremiah encouraging people, long ago, to listen to God rather than accept the negative consequences of not listening.  Unfortunately, in this case they didn't really listen, and the consequences came... but I think the point of the scriptures, and perhaps of all human history, is that God keeps speaking, and we still have an opportunity to listen.
So, the message we are being asked to listen to?  "Be not proud."  "Give glory to the Lord."  ... Those seem deceptively simple, but as we can see with the people in Jeremiah's day, and often with our own efforts, it can be very hard.  Hard to not take ourselves too seriously, or think that what we want is more important than what everyone else wants, and especially what God wants.  It can be a daily struggle.  We think, on a small scale, that it doesn't really matter.  We can do our thing instead of God's thing for an hour, or just this time, and we'll choose God first when things are bigger or longer... but it doesn't work out that way.  Usually, those small choices, made every day, turn into what we value the most, and what we *always* put first.  We think that it's okay if we fight to get our way and maybe offend someone or overlook their needs... just this once, or they'll get over it, and this makes us happier.  But it is the same.  Once we start putting ourselves first, we usually continue to do so, never stopping or taking the time to consider others, especially God.
Today, let's take the time to consider our pride.  Let's work on not thinking that we are better or on putting ourselves first.  Let's try to consider other perspectives, and put the happiness of others and God's will before our own, and make sure we give him the credit and glory for all that he does.  Interestingly, this is one of those cases where the "last shall be first" and the "first shall be last."  If we put ourselves first, we're going to end up last in the end, with some of that captivity and "gross darkness" mentioned above.  But if we put ourselves last, and learn to care for and love others, making them our priority and purpose, then in the end, we'll be some of the first, rejoicing in the perfect day.

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