The Bible often reminds us that pride is a barrier between us and God. We must humble ourselves to receive what God has to offer.
Yet if we do, a wonderful thing will happen. God will take delight in us. Not just tolerate us or accept us. He will delight in us.
And that is a marvelous thought.
“Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.” (Daniel 10:19)
Daniel was a special man. He received attentions from God that most of us never will, especially regarding the visions he had.
Yet we can all receive God’s peace and be strengthened by him. We can be esteemed by God; not because of anything we’ve done, but because of his Son Jesus. Just as the angel strengthened Daniel and gave him peace, we can be renewed through our faith in Jesus, identifying with him in baptism, and becoming an esteemed child of God.
“Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” (Proverbs 23:22)
As Western culture continues to favor the young, it’s worth remembering what the Bible says about honoring your parents and listening to them. We do well to draw on the wisdom of those who have lived longer than we have.
“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalms 23:6)
To live with God forever… there is no greater goal. We can accumulate money, gather stuff, gain power… all of that will fail us in the end. But if the Lord is our Shepherd, the finale will be even greater than the journey to get there.
“The Israelites are stubborn, like a stubborn heifer. How then can the LORD pasture them like lambs in a meadow?” (Hosea 4:16)
God wants to lead us and give us guidance, but he can’t do it when we resist him and insist on our own way. We have to learn humility, recognizing that our ways aren’t always best. Then God can show us the right way to go.
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)
We like to focus on our talents and our giftedness, yet God works best through our weaknesses!
“Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” (Psalms 16:9-10)
The apostle Peter explained to the crowd on the Day of Pentecost that these words were written about Jesus. He did not stay in the tomb, and his body did not decay. He rose from the grave, defeating death and assuring the victory of life for all who believe in him.
Therefore our hearts are also glad and our tongues will rejoice. Christ is risen!
Many times the Bible faithfully reproduces the words of humans. Here we have the despairing cry of a man who sees no hope for the future. Job saw little hope of anything good happening after death.
But we know that a man can return from the grave. We follow a man who rose on the third day, who left behind an empty tomb, who gives us all the hope of life without end.
The view is very different from this side of the cross. We know that death is but a moment, while the life that God offers has no end.
“You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.” (Daniel 5:23)
While few of us worship idols of metal, wood, or stone, many of us get caught up following modern idols: money, technology, patriotism…
We allow these worldly concerns to take up our time while never giving thought to eternal things. We focus on the creation rather than the Creator.
Let’s take time each day to honor the God that holds our lives and our futures in his hands.
The old Ghostbusters song made famous the line “Who you gonna call?”
There are lots of answers to that one, depending on the circumstances.
But when it comes to giving your life meaning, freeing you from sin, and offering you life without end, there’s only one answer:
But I call to God, and the LORD saves me.