Beware of Pride

Wendy Blight

Day: 9 | Plan: Deuteronomy

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 9

Deuteronomy 9:5 (NIV) It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Sometimes the taste of victory evokes pride. Our human hearts tend towards taking credit for our success, reasoning it’s due to our strength, wisdom, skill or goodness.

Through the years, Moses witnessed firsthand this prideful attitude in the first generation Israelites whom God had rescued from slavery in Egypt. From the time they left Egypt, they continually provoked the Lord and rebelled against Him, failing to trust Him with their fears and for their needs. For that, God sentenced them to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.

Now, at the close of those 40 years, the new generation of Israelites stood on the border of Canaan overlooking the land promised to their fathers ... the fulfillment of the promise God had made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was within sight. Moses feared the second generation would repeat the mistakes of the first, so he again addressed God’s people.

Moses opened this message focusing on the formidable size of their enemies. Not to instill fear, but to remind them what seems insurmountable to them was of no consequence to the One True God. Yet knowing their propensity towards pride, Moses recounted the Israelites’ acts of disobedience and rebellion. He spoke bluntly and harshly.

The Israelites had seen God’s power and it was important they understood their pending victories were not because they were righteous or good. Rather, they were about God judging and eradicating the terribly wicked Canaanite nations from the face of the earth.

Second, Israel’s victories were a fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that their descendants would one day inherit the Promised Land. (Genesis 15:13-21) For the 400 years since God gave that promise, He’d shown Himself faithful with each and every conquest.

Finally, it was by grace and grace alone that God chose the Israelites out of all the nations of the world to be His people. They had done nothing to deserve the blessings He was about to bestow. In fact, they disobeyed, doubted, grumbled, complained and rebelled. They were a “stiff-necked,” stubborn people. Yet despite themselves, God preserved them. He went before them, destroying and expelling nations, crowning them with His glory.

God seeks humble and contrite hearts. Just because we are blessed and victorious does not mean we are deserving. Blessing and victory are triumphant evidence of God’s grace poured out upon our lives. Just as God blessed and brought victory to the Israelites to fulfill His promises, God brings us into His best to fulfill His kingdom purposes. It’s not about what we have done but what He has done in and through us.

Prayer: Father, how I needed this lesson in humility. I confess I do take credit. I sometimes even want and seek the credit for the work You have done in me. Forgive me for the times I have acted proudly or in any way hurt You by my prideful words or actions. I don’t want to be humbled, but I want to be humble. Give me a Christ-like heart of humility, a willing and obedient heart that gives all glory and honor and credit to You. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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Moses used one specific incident from the Israelites’ past to illustrate their sinfulness:... Read More

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