Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Cost of Arrogance

Tuesday, July 25, 2017
What sorrow awaits rebellious, polluted Jerusalem, the city of violence and crime!  No one can tell it anything; it refuses all correction.  It does not trust in the Lord or draw near to its God.  Its leaders are like roaring lions hunting for their victims.  Its judges are like ravenous wolves at evening time, who by dawn have left no trace of their prey.  Its prophets are arrogant liars seeking their own gain.  Its priests defile the Temple by disobeying God’s instructions.  But the Lord is still there in the city, and he does no wrong.  Day by day he hands down justice, and he does not fail.  But the wicked know no shame.  “I have wiped out many nations, devastating their fortress walls and towers.  Their streets are now deserted; their cities lie in silent ruin.  There are no survivors—none at all.  I thought, ‘Surely they will have reverence for me now!
Surely they will listen to my warnings.  Then I won’t need to strike again, destroying their homes.’  But no, they get up early to continue their evil deeds.  Therefore, be patient,” says the Lord.  “Soon I will stand and accuse these evil nations.  For I have decided to gather the kingdoms of the earth and pour out my fiercest anger and fury on them.  All the earth will be devoured by the fire of my jealousy.  “Then I will purify the speech of all people, so that everyone can worship the Lord together.  My scattered people who live beyond the rivers of Ethiopia will come to present their offerings.  On that day you will no longer need to be ashamed, for you will no longer be rebels against me.  I will remove all proud and arrogant people from among you.  There will be no more haughtiness on my holy mountain.  Those who are left will be the lowly and humble, for it is they who trust in the name of the Lord.  The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will never tell lies or deceive one another.  They will eat and sleep in safety, and no one will make them afraid.”  Zephaniah 3:1-13
Hans Christian Anderson wrote a tongue-in-cheek fairy tale about an emperor who was so vain and arrogant he was convinced by a shrewd tailor that because of the new invisible suit of clothes made for him he was the finest dressed ruler in the entire world.  Parading around in his skivvies, the emperor was the laughingstock of the parade!
Many have compared America as a chosen the purpose of being to God’s representative to the world, and a great force for good…just like ancient Israel.  Now, I would not, as the old expression has it, throw out that baby with the bath water.  However, if my friends are right about America’s self-view of invincible exceptionalism, and if our leaders are fully-clothed, in their right minds, I would simply submit that the comparison between the United States and God’s chosen Israel must be accepted in its’ entirety!  Another old saying holds that you must take the bad along with the good!
In Zephaniah’s prophecy, Israel is lambasted and warned that their arrogant ways, ignoring God, justice and mercy, are stripping the nation of any chance of being God’s witness of love.  Instead they are full of themselves and ripe for judgment. 
Where did this arrogance come from?  It was largely the leaders who began to believe their own press reports about Israel’s special history, power and protection by God.  With impunity and unmitigated gall they began to congratulate themselves on their place in history and how they held all the cards.  They forgot the One who was really in charge. 
Those who want to compare America as the New Israel need to see the pitiful similarity between ancient Israel’s leaders and America’s political power brokers, who act with either ignorance of, or indifference towards God. 
Of course this is not much different than the voters who put them in power.  We have gone way past even the pretense of being a Christian nation, past modern and post-modern, all the way to godless hedonism.
May God have mercy on us; we are going to need it!

For You Today

As bleak as the political scene and horizon may look for America, there is always hope for a nation, an individual, or a neighbor who will return to God. 
May it be so with me, and with you, as we commit ourselves to proclaiming His kingdom today; let the revival begin!
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road…have a blessed day!

[i] Title Image: Pixabay.com

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