Friday, June 12, 2020
Humble Submission, the Way to Life
"Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah." (2 Chronicles 12:12)
This verse struck me during my quiet time with God this morning.
The background: The nation of God's ancient people, the Israelites, split in two after the death of King Solomon. Rehoboam, like Solomon, an heir of King David, took over as king. But the tribes in the north formed a separate country known as Israel (and later as Samaria), while Rehoboam reigned in Judah.
But instead of gratitude to God for His faithfulness to His promises to David and to God's people, we're told, "After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the Lord." (2 Chronicles 12:1)
It's baked into our human sinful nature to seek God and His help when things are going poorly, then to forget Him when they're going well.
But when his kingdom was assaulted and nearly all was lost, Rehoboam realized his need of God. He humbled himself before God and the wrath to which Rehoboam was subjecting his nation and himself diminished. God recognized that in Judah, which had fallen into idolatry and the sin which always goes with idolatry, injustice, there still were those who recognized the fundamental fact of life: God is God and we're not.
Arrogant leaders, who rely on the world's idols--money, brute force, crafty schemes, the applause of the crowd, the myth of personal, national, or racial superiority--incur God's wrath, whether they're the leaders of churches, corporations, universities, or nations. They and those they lead are eventually adversely affected by the evil of self-reverence. Because God loves the human race, He won't long allow the empires we build, even those built by individuals to keep themselves and their families comfortable with no thought of their neighbors, to stand for long. They will topple, break, and die.
When these things happen, what good are our privileges or power? The answer: Nothing!
Our call is to humble ourselves before the God revealed to all people in Jesus Christ, to acknowledge Him as our only Lord, God, and source of hope or peace and grace.
Our call is also to share this God we meet in Jesus with others so that they too can have a share in God's kingdom, the eternal reign of God that cannot be entered by those who live by force, arrogance, good works, indifference to others, or acquiescence to injustice.
It comes to us only by faith in Jesus.
And because of our impulse to self-worship, idol worship, arrogance, and injustice, we need to daily turn to Jesus, admitting our deficiencies and our desperate need of Him to turn us away from the paths that incur wrath and turn us to Jesus, "the way, and the truth, and the life."
Arrogance doesn't work. Humble submission to Jesus does.
Father, this day once again, humble into following Jesus alone. Amen