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November 21, 2023, Day 324



Proverbs 28:7-17; James 4; Ezekiel 38; Ezekiel 39


The theme common to all of today’s readings is humility. In Proverbs 28:7-17, we read that “the one who confesses and renounces his sins finds mercy” (verse 12) – which requires humility. We also read that “the one who always trembles before God is blessed” (verse 14). By contrast, this passage also reveals and condemns many heart attitudes that begin with pride (i.e., taking interest or profit from the poor; turning a deaf ear to instruction; and leading the upright into a path of evil, to identify a few). God is not pleased by human pride, which rears itself up and ultimately says, “I don’t need God.” Nothing could be further from the truth, which shows us that human beings are among the most helpless of all creatures. Verse 17 emphasizes this truth: a murderer, ever on the run, can find “refuge only in the grave.”


This theme continues in James 4. Fights, quarrels, covetousness, wrong motives, etc., - all these evils arise from pride. James says, “God opposes the proud” (verse 6). James also explains that the simple antidote to pride is the heartfelt recognition and the honest acceptance of God’s will for our lives - not our own wills. This requires humility. God is in control, and we are powerless (i.e., helpless) to alter that. We need to recognize this and allow Him that control over our lives.


Nowhere is pride illustrated better than in Ezekiel 38-39 and its New Testament counterpart section, Revelation 20:7-10. Here, we read about Satan’s representative, Gog, who reflects the centerpiece of all human pride. Similar to Satan’s own personal expressions of pride and the declaration of his will in opposition to God (repeated five times - cf., Isaiah 14:12-15), Gog says here, three times, “I will.” This is in direct opposition to what God wants, and it reveals where pride begins - in a foolish and irrational heart that opposes the sovereign God of the universe. In the future battle, mighty Gog, his “troops,” and his “many [allied] nations,” will rise up in proud opposition against God and tiny Israel, but Gog will not prevail. God’s judgment upon Gog includes hooks in his jaws, earthquakes, the sword, plague, bloodshed, rain, hail, burning sulfur, and ultimately, becoming dinner for the wild animals. Nothing pleasant there. Gog – and his leader, Satan - will be helpless to defend themselves against the One Who opposes the proud and has prepared this response to their pride. May we recognize that all our pride is self-destructive.


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