Scripture: Isaiah 39.8
“The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.”
Reflection: Pride and Shortsightedness :: Throwback Thursday
By John Tillman
The remarkable life of Hezekiah ends in pride and shortsightedness. Pride in showing off his kingdom’s wealth to the Babylonians—planting the seeds of Israel’s future looting and exile. Shortsightedness in his interpretation that at least his life would not be affected by his mistakes.
Richard Baxter (1615–1691) discusses how the temptation of pride is aimed at the strong:
The tempter overcomes very many, by making them presumptuously confident of their own strength: saying, “You are not so weak as not to be able to bear a greater temptation than this. Can you not gaze on beauty, or go among vain and tempting company, and yet choose whether you will sin? It is a child indeed that has no more government of themselves. Cannot your table, your cup, your house, your lands, be pleasing and delectable, without you over-loving them, and turning them to sin?”
O know your own weakness, the treacherous enemy which you still carry with you, who is ready to open the back-door to the devil! Remember that flesh is on the tempter’s side, and how much it can do with you before you are aware. Remember what an unsettled wretch you are, and how many a good purpose formerly has come to nothing, and how often you have sinned by a small temptation.
Remember that without the Spirit of Christ, you can do nothing, nor stand against any assault of Satan; and that Christ gives his Spirit and help in his own way, and not to those that tempt him to forsake them, by thrusting themselves into temptations.
Shall ever a mortal man presume upon his own strength, after the falls of an Adam, a Noah, a Lot, a David, a Solomon, a Hezekiah, a Josiah, a Peter and after such ruins of multitudes of professors, as our eyes have seen?
“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” 1 Corinthians 10.11-12.*
The recent falls of many Christian leaders have been dominating news cycles. Some of the fallen had enemies who might be tempted to glee and friends tempted to excuse them. Instead of either of these, may we turn to inward examination.
As Beth Moore posted this week, “These things ought to scare us to death…Only a fool gloats when others fail.”
*Abridged and language updated from Christian Ethics: Temptations to Particular Sins
Prayer: The Morning Psalm
In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands;
They shall perish, but you shall endure; they all shall wear out like a garment; as clothing you will change them, and they shall be changed… — Psalm 102.25-26
– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.
Read more about Pride and Cowardice
The separation of cowardice and pride is a false one, for these two are really one and the same.
Read more about Pride, the Enemy of Pleasure
When our lives take on a posture of humility it affects not just our relationships with others, but our relationships with the objects and pleasures of this world.