Through the Word in 2020 / March 17 – Blessed reduction, Jesus is mine.


We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/

Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 26:36-56; Romans 111-24; Psalm 64, Deuteronomy 6-8.  

Pride is a terrible thing. How terrible, and how insidious is not easy to discern. Because pride is also very self-protective. It hides itself. But God in His loving desire to rid us of such an evil, often uses circumstances to expose our pride. And it shows up in some surprising places. 2 of those paces are shown to us in Deut. 8 and God’s dealings with Israel. 

1 – Deuteronomy 8:2 (ESV) — 2 And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.

Nowhere is pride and lack of humility more revealed than in our bristling against God’s right of authority over us. Pride which seeks position and power doesn’t like to submit to any other authority.

Note the testing in our text was for the purpose of exposing their hearts. Not so that God would know what was in their hearts, but so THEY would come to grips with how deeply sin is rooted in their hearts. It is to inform us. To help us grapple with what He knows, so that we live in His reality. When we are in uncharted territory, when by Providence God leads us where would not choose to go, into circumstances we chafe against, we want to seize control rather than look to the Heavenly Father and trust His hand in it. But learning to relinquish our imaginary control over all of life into the hands of our God and Christ is not an easy thing to do. We want to lead, not be led. We want to be masters over our own course. But when the destination is His, He also gets to choose the route – the means. We cannot conform ourselves to the image of Christ – that is a Spirit-wrought work. And The Potter will shape and re-shape us many times in bringing forth the vessel which brings Him the most glory. Which best reflects His handiwork. And which in the end, will make us the most joyful. But when His leading takes us frightening places, dry places, places where we have no option but to rely on Him alone – that’s where our pride will show itself the most. 

2 – And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Dt 8:3.

The second place where humility or its lack is revealed is in an unwillingness to submit to God’s providential provisions. When we demand more or other than what His hand provides – we are acting out of pride. When the only thing He gives to sustain us is – manna. 

This leads us to understand that life does not consist in the external things which support our animal existence, but rather in our connection to God Himself in right relationship. We focus on the material – He is wanting to lead us away from that. That is how we fell in Eden. The fruit LOOKED good, would TASTE good, had a perceived BENEFIT. All of which is our reasoning whenever we step beyond the lines God has set for us.

But nothing so exposes our readiness to violate God’s ways, than the pinch of some appetite. When we think we MUST secure it- lest we die – no matter what sin it might entail, we are the Devil’s prey.

And then, to be forced to wait for a strange answer to our need, and not the answer we are familiar with or that most perfectly fits our appetite – is almost too much to bear.

Father save us from ourselves! Reduce us to Jesus. To rest content in what we have in Him. And to know that you provide all we REALLY need, in the Bread of Heaven. 

 

 

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