Monday, August 29, 2011

August 29- The Problem With Pride

August 29, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Job 31:1-33:33; 2 Corinthians 3:1-18;
Psalm 43:1-5; Proverbs 22:8-9

In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes. 
 ~John Ruskin

Job 31:1-33:33

Perhaps, you remember from your studies in school the myriad of cases throughout history where the pride of an individual leads that person to make a fatal mistake.  Perhaps a general forges ahead into battle, even though the odds are against him and his forces.  He forges ahead because of his pride.  Today, Job is on a roll.  He is a good man.  Perhaps, you could even call him a great man, but Job has one problem, he is prideful about his goodness.  Let's take a look at Job's heart...

As the reading begins, Job is furiously defending himself against the accusations of his friends.  He is tired of them proposing that his suffering is a result of his behavior.  Job lists the the areas where he considers himself without blame:
  • He has not lusted. Vs. 1
  • He has not lied. Vs. 5
  • He has not been seduced by a woman or lusted after a woman. Vs. 9-12
  • He has not refused to help the poor or crushed the hope of widows. Vs. 16-17
  • He has cared for orphans and not abused them. Vs. 18-21
  • He has not put his trust in money. Vs. 24-25
  • He has not worshiped the sun or the moon or made an idol. Vs. 26-28
  • He has not rejoiced at his enemy's misfortune. Vs. 29
  • He has never sought revenge. Vs. 30
  • He has always been hospitable to strangers. Vs. 32
  • He has been vulnerable and not hidden his sins. Vs. 34
Job cries out for someone who will listen to his defense.  With this, Job ends his argument before God.  Wow.  Could you proclaim even half of what Job was able to say about his personal integrity and holiness?  Job is an extremely impressive individual.  But, Job is bragging about all of this.  He is justifying himself before God with his good works and behavior.  Job has a problem.  His problem is pride.

Next, we meet Elihu.  He is apparently a young man who has been witnessing this intellectual sparing match.  He is completely angered at two things:  Job's claims of innocence and Job's friends' utter and complete ignorance.  As a young fellow, he held his tongue anticipating wise words from these elders.  In his view, his wait was futile.  Elihu proceeds to speak words of true wisdom to the group.  God has brought His Spirit upon this young man as a witness. Elihu speaks of God providing a special messenger from heaven who will intercede for man and declare him righteous because a ransom will have been paid.  Elihu would only be able to speak these words through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Elihu calls out for Job to be silent, so that he can teach Job wisdom.

Lessons:  Pride can get in the way of us seeing God's purposes.  A young person can be wise if the Holy Spirit is guiding that person's words.  Good works are a sign of faith, but humility before God is necessary, even if one has mastered personal holiness.

What is your pride level on a scale between 1 and 10?  How do you stack up to Job on personal holiness?

2 Corinthians 3:1-18

Paul considers the Corinthians his spiritual children.  As well he should.  He is their spiritual father in the faith.  Today, Paul tells the Corinthians that their obedient lives, lived in faith, are a letter of recommendation to the world about Paul.  Do you realize that when you bring a person to faith in Christ, their subsequent walk of faith is a reflection of your influence and teaching?  Our earthly children are similar letters to the world of what we imparted to them.  Paul's teaching are written by the Holy Spirit on the hearts of the Corinthians.

The Law of Moses was etched in stone.  This Law sealed our death.  The gift of God in the new covenant is written on our hearts.  The New Covenant provides our eternal life. The New Covenant, therefore, creates bold confidence in the believer. Paul refers to a veil covering people's hearts as they hear the Law read aloud.  He contrasts that with the veil being lifted when one believes in Christ. We now are mirrors that reflect the bright glory of God to the world as we become more and more like Christ.

Lesson:  If you believe in Christ, you are a bright mirror that reflects God's glory on earth.  Job was that kind of man. 

Are you a bright mirror of God's glory?

Psalm 43:1-5

Vs. 3 says, "Send out your light and you truth; let them guide me.  Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live."

Proverbs 22:8-9

"Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor. " Job did this.

What did you learn today?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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