As I carry on with my study of Jeremiah I was struck by how timely today's verses were. I didn't want this post to be political in nature, but this post is about pride. And if there is one person in the world today who is a great example of someone who has an inordinate amount of it, it is Donald Trump. So I apologize for using him as my example, but his type of arrogance seemed to be exactly what Jeremiah 9:23 was talking about today.
Pride is a finicky thing. It can be exhibited as a feeling of well-being, like when you graduate from highschool or college for example. It can also be exhibited as a feeling of joy, like when we take pride in the accomplishments of others - like our children. Every milestone they achieve makes us happy and excited for them and yes - proud. These types of pride are not evil or sinful of themselves. One is based on completing something after working hard. It is a mixture of relief and satisfaction in getting the job done. The other is based on love and wanting the best for someone.
The type of pride God frowns on however is based on something totally different. We see and hear it almost every time Donald Trump speaks. It is a combination of arrogance and haughtiness. And yes, I realize the two are almost identical in meaning, but arrogance is excessive pride in oneself, combined with contempt for others. While haughtiness is a feeling of superiority over others, which is often exhibited by a person's demeanour and with disdain for everyone else.
Three Examples of Pride God Frowns On
In Jeremiah 9:23 we learn of three different types of pride God frowns on. Remarkably, these types of pride are also exhibited in certain types of people.
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Glory in Hebrew means "to praise, to shine, boast or be boastful". In this case the Lord says to the prophet Jeremiah that the wise man should not boast in his wisdom. In other words, don't brag about it, don't flaunt it over others. Don't think you know everything because you don't. Only God knows everything. Don't be arrogant.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;
The same is true for the mighty man. This doesn't necessarily mean a person who is strong. Mighty men were also people with positions of power and authority. Again, the Bible says don't praise or glory in your might. Don't boast about it. Don't lord it over others. Only God is all-powerful and mighty. Don't be haughty in your position.
He has shown strength with his arm;
Do you have money? Be thankful, use it for the betterment of mankind, but don't flaunt it. Don't boast about your riches or take pride in how much you have. The Bible says, a rich man who boasts about his money and is not rich toward God is a fool.
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Three Things All Christians Should Boast About
But let him who glories glory in this,
These are the things the Lord delights in. He wants His children to know these three things about Him and He wants His children to talk about them to others. And yes, talking about Him, His character and what He has done for us is a form of boasting. But it is not self-centred, prideful, arrogant or haughty because it is God-focused not self-focused. And when God is the focus of our lives then our eyes are taken off ourselves, and pride in what we may have accomplished with our lives, or pride in our jobs or money, will not take root and grow. Why? Because people who focus on God and who He is and what He has done for them, realize that everything they have comes from God and it is only because of God they have been blessed.
So when we see someone like Donald Trump, who exalts himself every time he opens his mouth, how should Christians react to that? How does God react to it? I'll let the Scriptures answer that.
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
This morning when I woke up I began thinking about my study in Jeremiah. I am using as my guide, the New Inductive Series by Precept Ministries founder Kay Arthur. When I first began the study I was thinking it would lead me into the same theme that Kay found - Listening to God in Difficult Times. But the Lord has taken me in a completely different direction.
I began to notice after chapter three, that the Lord was showing me how the warnings from God through Jeremiah to his people apply to the people of this century. These warnings given centuries ago to the Jews are eerily similar to events transpiring today. And that is not a coincidence. The Bible wasn't preserved for over 2,000 years merely to entertain us with its stories. It is filled with words of wisdom, history, the plan of salvation, lessons and commandments on how we should live, and most importantly, how God expects us to live in light of His presence.
But one thing I keep seeing during my studies is how history is prone to repeat itself. Just as the people in the past were sinful, so is this world today. But will God deal with us the same way He dealt with people during Jeremiah's time? Most of the lessons I'm learning during this study seem to be saying yes. But sadly, it seems no one is listening.
Have We Forgotten the Past?
In 2 Chronicles 6 we read a lovely prayer from King Solomon as he dedicates the newly built Temple in Jerusalem to God. Immediately after his prayer this happened:
When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshipped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying,“He is good. His love endures forever.” Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord. - Jeremiah 8:1-4)
God had just made Himself known and His glory filled the temple. Yet, it was this same temple that Jeremiah would stand at the gates of (see Jeremiah 7), hundreds of years later, warning the people that destruction was about to come upon them. Why? Because they had forsaken God and disobeyed Him.
But how did the people get so far off track, from seeing the glory of God to not being afraid of Him and not caring at all if they offended Him? It was because of their leaders. Incredibly, disobedience toward God and sinning against Him started first with King Solomon, the one who built the temple to honour God, whom God appeared to twice. - 1 Kings 11
And it continued on with his children and grandchildren.
In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign. Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree. - 2 Kings 16:1-4
The king led his people into sinning against God. And it didn't stop with Ahaz. It continued with Manasseh. "He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced divination, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger. - 2 Kings 21:6. He built altars to foreign gods and put them in the temple of God. You can read about all the evil he did in 2 Kings 21. In fact, if you go to Biblegateway.com and type in the words "did evil" you will get a list of all the kings who led their people into sin.
How Does This Relate to us Today?
Look at our leaders. What are their values? Where do they stand as far as God is concerned? What about the world in general? We don't have to look far to see how ridiculous things have become: Donald Trump, an egotistical, narcissistic, racist maniac is running for president of the United States and God's people (Evangelical Christians) are supporting him. This isn't just evil, it's crazy! Why wouldn't they support Ted Cruz or Mark Rubio, who have both professed belief in Jesus as their Saviour? Both of these men know their Bible. They know their God. Donald Trump "says" he is a Christian, yet it is clear by his behaviour that he is anything but. Donald Trump is a modern day Herod and the only reason Christians are favouring him is because they are no longer listening to God. If he is by some horrible twist of fate, EVER elected president, history will repeat itself and America will have its very own Herod the Great ruling over them.
Think it can't happen? How do you think Obama got elected? The people didn't listen to God and God said, "Fine. Here 'ya go. Here's the leader you wanted so badly." And then He stepped back and watched Obama destroy not only the inner workings of America, but the reputation of America. All because the people wanted a new king (1 Samuel 8:1-20). When people ask for unreasonable things, sometimes God gives them what they ask for just to teach them a lesson.
Obama has destroyed relations with Israel, the only democratic country in the Middle East, and he openly welcomed terrorists into the White House! He played a game of cat and mouse with the American people. Pretending to be a Christian to get votes and then showing his true colours when he was elected. And he didn't do it once - he did it twice! Donald Trump is ALREADY showing his true colours and yet against all reason, people are supporting him. And those Christians who have not fallen sway to a deceiving spirit are shaking their heads in disbelief. People are actually starting to fear Donald Trump might be elected as President. Think it can't happen? As a Canadian I am still stunned at our change in leadership.
Our new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has said he admires China's Communist dictatorship, echoing his father, Pierre Trudeau, who not only claimed communist leader Fidel Castro as a friend, but also deeply admired mass murderers Mao Tse Tong and Joseph Stalin. History shows that Pierre Trudeau was the one who liberalized Canada's laws on divorce, abortion, and homosexuality. Following in his father's footsteps, Justin is a huge supporter of gay rights, he also says yes to murdering babies and wants to make abortion clinics more accessible to women. In addition, he is in the process of allowing medically assisted suicide. So while he isn't personally burning children as sacrifices to Ba'al, his approval and encouragement of both of these practices show us that, like his father, Justin has rejected the Bible and God, by couching it with the words "equal rights."
These things are just the tip of the iceberg and are only about the leaders on this side of the world. Don't get me started on what is going on in Europe. One thing is certain, our world is on a downward spiral, whose leaders are setting the course of our demise and God will wait only so long for a nation to repent before He acts.
God warned the people, speaking through Jeremiah saying:
This warning rings true for us today. Our leaders have forced God out of schools, government, and businesses. They have consistently, as Anne Graham Lotz once said, "Shaken their fist at God." But we don't need to follow our leaders into immorality. We don't need to believe what they believe. We can stand firm in our convictions and believe in and continue to trust in God and follow Him and this is something we must do!
God will be patient for only so long and then He will act. Will you be ready?
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. - 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3