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Same Song Second Verse

Every day I have a choice. I can humbly cooperate with the way life is or I can arrogantly try to define life the way I want it to be. In this regard, the nation of Israel is the ultimate example for the rest of us. Whenever they sought to humbly follow God’s lead, things went well for them. Their economy flourished, their enemies backed off, their personal well-being improved and they lived in peace. Whenever they proudly decided they had the right to devise their own way of living, a progressive set of steps were set in motion to get them to return to humility. God sent setbacks to motivate them, then prophets to warn them, and finally calamity to discipline them. Isaiah is one of those prophets who is attempting to get the attention of the nation. In chapter 5, verses 18-23, he presents a number of characteristics that help us recognize humility by describing what we ought to avoid:
• The humble accept what is true. “Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit,
and wickedness as with cart ropes.” (v. 18) What a graphic picture of a person who has a cart or trailer loaded with deceitful schemes who is defiantly looking for a way to put them into practice. Rather than dumping the load and replacing it with worthwhile goods, he is defiantly looking for a market for the products that will help no one.
• The humble are patient. “[Woe] to those who say, “Let God hurry; let him hasten his work
so we may see it.” (v; 19) Many people confuse God’s historic patience with inability. They think, since He isn’t doing it right now, He can’t do it. The humble realize it is never a question of power. It is simply a matter of timing.
• The humble call good things good. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” This is the age-old argument between God’s ways and man’s ways. Ever since the fall of mankind, people have loved the darkness and have searched for ways to justify whatever they want to do. Humility says, “I didn’t create life so I must accept it the way it is. I don’t have the right to redefine life but I do have the privilege of enjoying the good things God has made.”
• The humble are willing to learn. “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.” (v. 21)
• The humble love sobriety and self-control. “Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks.” (v. 22)
It seems almost too simple to be a problem. If you were ask people, “Do you want to do what is true, be a patient person, love what is good, be willing to learn and possess self-control?” you would expect most people to say, “Yes.” In action, however, most people have done the opposite. I accept that I am no different. Today, I need to choose to be humble. Today I need to be determined to wait on God. Today I need to be willing to learn.
Dear God, give me your strength today to humbly accept life the way you created it.

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2 Responses

  1. Nice. Thanks for the reminder!

    I only have one question: in humbly accepting life the way “it is”, this doesn’t equate with being complacent or inactive regarding your current situation or circumstances, right? I’d think there’d be a line (maybe a fine line) between the two, where God provides correcting or protecting or even perfecting/refining circumstances, or maybe even just allowing us to experience the consequences of our own decisions and actions, in order for us to shift and move away from what we are doing/have done towards what we should be doing?

    A little further elucidation perhaps?

    Thanks!

    • Great question Scott. God did not go to great lengths to motivate, warn and discipline His people so they could be passive. The goal is, and always has been, to be an example to others of how good God is by pursuing excellence. The nation of Israel was designed as an “evangelistic” nation. By that I mean they were going to be the visual aid to the rest of the world of how God cares for, guides, and corrects the people He loves. The hope is that others would see God’s hand of favor on Isael and bring drawn into a relationship with Him also. The goal of our lives is likewise all about influence. We are to “let our lives so shine before men” so that others will desire what we have. We can only accomplsh this through a humble pursuit of excellence. The struggle I see is that people try to change the rules of life rather than chane themselves to match God’s design for life.

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