5 As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything. 6 In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good. (Ecclesiastes 11:5-6)
Pride is subtle. With knowledge comes the temptation to be arrogant in our knowledge. With all of mankind’s advances, the truth is there are many, many things hidden from our sight. Especially is that true about “the works of God” our Creator. Only as He has revealed Himself in His word can we confidently say we know what God has done, is doing and will do. We take courage in this and choose to live by faith in our God who does all things well. Do your work today with all your might. There will be ups and downs in your life, but through them all know that “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8:28).
20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, “See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)
In the days of Christ the prevailing view of the kingdom of God among the Jews was of a nationalistic king who would purge their land of their enemies. The prevailing notion of many today is of a future kingdom with Jesus reigning in Jerusalem and purging the globe of evil. Both are mistaken. The kingdom of God is “not of this world”, yet it came during the lifetime of those to whom Jesus spoke (Jno. 18:36; Mk. 9:1). The rule and reign of God “comes” as “the word of the kingdom” (the gospel) is planted into good and honest hearts and it bears fruit (Matt. 13:19, 23). Saved people compose the kingdom of God, Christ’s church (Acts 2:47; Col. 1:13-14). The kingdom has come, just as Jesus said it would. The question now is, will the kingdom of God be with you?
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
The tragedy of self-righteousness is the offender rarely recognizes it in himself! The root of self-righteousness is pride; the remedy is humility before God and before men. Pride can persuade us to compare ourselves with others and take comfort that we are “not like other men”. But, we are not. All of us have sinned and all of us need God’s mercy and grace. Only a humble heart that trusts God will obtain His mercy. Put your faith in God, not yourself. Do His will, not your own. The Lord will exalt you when you humble yourself before Him.
“For My people are foolish, They have not known Me. They are silly children, And they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, But to do good they have no knowledge.” (Jeremiah 4:22)
Is it possible for the people of God to forget their God? Yes. It happen to Israel when they did not keep “His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes” (Deut. 8:11). That awful condition is where Jerusalem found herself in the days of Jeremiah. Christians today (like Jerusalem then) can succumb to the allurement of sin. We become “silly (foolish) children” when we serve evil instead of the will of God. In her hardness of heart, Jerusalem became “wise to do evil” but ignorant of God and His good will. We must heed the warning. Do not play around with sin. It will turn you away from God and turn you into a fool.
1 Let God arise, Let His enemies be scattered; Let those also who hate Him flee before Him. 2 As smoke is driven away, So drive them away; As wax melts before the fire, So let the wicked perish at the presence of God. 3 But let the righteous be glad; Let them rejoice before God; Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly. (Psalm 68:1-3)
When it seems the enemies of goodness have the upper hand, remember that God Himself will arise and destroy every opponent of justice and holiness. Wickedness scatters in fear and flees before His awesome presence. The arrogant unbeliever who defiantly rebels against God and inflicts pain on the upright is truly foolish. Evil will not stand. God Himself defeats all wickedness. Rely on the Lord God today, confidently assured that “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 Jno. 4:4). Let the righteous rejoice and be glad in the God of our salvation!
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. (Psalm 51:3-4)
Sin is preeminently against God. Until I am able to admit that my sin is against Him I will fail to fully acknowledge my transgressions. I may ask the person I have offended to forgive me; I may plead my sorrow before them. Until I acknowledge my sin to God and plead with godly sorrow for His mercy, divine forgiveness is not obtained. God judges sin, and He is just to do so. Only when I confess my sin to God and repent will He forgive. In another psalm David wrote, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5). Acknowledge your sin to God and He will forgive you by the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:37-41; 3:19; Rom. 1:16).
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. (Philippians 2:14-16)
The way a Christian deals with disputes and conflicts stands in sharp contrast to the crooked and perverse generation in which he or she lives. Christians endeavor to live without complaining or grumbling, and without the disputing or arguing that usually arises over such complaints. Make it your goal today not to grumble and argue but instead, to resolve every dispute that may occur at home, at work or at school. By doing so you are holding fast the word of life and shining as a light in the world.