April 2: The Final Say
Deuteronomy 2:1–3:29; 2 Corinthians 1:12–16; Psalm 31:10–24
Having the final say in an argument is more satisfying than I’d like to admit. By default, I’d like to be right, even if I have to be pedantic. I wish I could say this was limited to petty concerns. But on more than one occasion, when discussing issues of eternal significance, I’ve used my trump card in a desire to win an argument.
Paul specifically addresses this type of pride and boasting throughout 2 Corinthians. However, we come across a surprising statement in 2 Corinthians 1: “For our reason for boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, in holiness and purity of motive from God, not in merely human wisdom, but by the grace of God” (2 Cor 1:12).
At first glance, Paul appears to be boasting in his own actions. Isn’t this evidence of the very same pride he denounces (1 Cor 5:6)?
But the key phrases, “holiness and purity of motive from God” and “the grace of God,” provide a foundation for Paul’s boasting. They tell us that it’s not Paul’s pride that is on the line—it’s the good news. Paul is claiming that the integrity of his ministry doesn’t rest on his own wisdom.
Paul wasn’t trying to be a star pastor. His words were motivated by a deep concern for the Corinthians. He didn’t want anything he did to obstruct the message about Christ.
Similarly, our actions shouldn’t be an obstruction to the gospel message. We should examine our motives when we’re inclined to be “right.” Our words and actions should reflect God’s grace in our life—evidenced by humility and a sense of purpose in our interactions with others.
How are your words and actions speaking about your own pride? How can you be testifying about God’s grace in your life?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness, b the way of the red Sea, as the Lord spake unto me: and were compassed mount Seir [a] long time. And the Lord spake unto me, saying, Ye have compasse this mountain long enough: turn you Northward. And warn thou the people, saying, Ye shall go through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir, and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed therefore. Ye shall not provoke them: for I will not give you of their land so much as a foot breadth, because I have given mount seir unto Esau for a possession. Ye shall buy meat of them for money to eat, and ye shall also procure water of them for money to drink. For the Lord thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thine hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness, and the Lord thy God haht been with thee this forty years, and thou hast lacked nothing. And when we were departed from our brethren the children of Esau which dwelt in Seir: through the way of the plain, from Elath, and from Ezion Geber, we turned and went by the way of the wilderness of Moab, Then the Lord said unto me, Thou shalt not vex Moab, neither provoke them to battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession, because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession. The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great and many, and tall, as the Anakims. They also were taken for giants as the Anakims: whom the Moabites call Emims. The Horites also dwelt in Seir before time, whom the children of Esau chased out and destroyed them before them, and dwelt in their stead: as Israel shall do unto the land o fhis possession, which the Lord hath given them. Now rise up, said I, and get you over the river Zered: and we went over the river Zered. The space also wherein we came from Kadesh Barnea, until we were come over the river Zered, was eight and thirty years, until all the generations of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the Lord sware unto them. For indeed the hand of the Lord was agaisnt them, to destroy them from among the host, till they were consumed. So when all the men of war were consumed and dead from among the people: Then the Lord spake unto me, saying, Thou shalt go through Ar the coast of Moab this day: And thou shalt come near over against the children of Ammon: but shalt not lay siege unto them, nor move war against them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession: for I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession. That also was taken for a land of giants: for giants dwelt therein afore time, whom the Ammonites called Zamzummims: A people that was great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims: but the Lord destroyed them before them, and they succeeded them in their inheritance, and dwelt in their stead: As he did to the children of Esau which dwell in Seir, when he destroyed the Horites before them, and they possessed them, and dwelt in their stead, Rise up therefore, said the Lord: take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon: behold, I have given into thy hand Sihon, the Amorite, King of Heshbon, and his land: begin to possess it, and provoke him to battle. This day will I begin to send thy fear and they dread, upon all people under the whole heaven, which shall hear thy fame, and shall tremble and quake before thee. Then I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth unto Sihon King of Heshbon, with words of peace, saying, Let me pass through thy land: I will go by the highway: I will neither turn unto the right hand nor to the left. Thou shalt sell me meat for money, for to eat, and shalt give me water for money to drink: only I will go through on my foot, (As the children of Esau which dwel in Seir, and the Moabites which dwell in Ar, did unto me) until I be come over Jordan, into the land which the Lord our God giveth us. But Sihon the King of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the Lord thy God had hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, because he would deliver him into thine hand, as appeareth this day. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee: begin to possess and inherit his land. Then came out Sihon to meet us, himself with all his people to fight at Jahaz. But the Lord our God delivered him into our power, and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. And we took all his cities the same time, and destroyed every city, men, and women, and children: we let nothing remain. Only the cattle we took to ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took. From Aroer, which is by the bank of the river of Arnon, and from the city that is upon the river, even unto Gilead: there was not one city that escaped us: for the Lord our God delivered up all before us. Only unto the land of the children of Ammon thou camest not, nor unto any place of the river Jabbok, nor unto the cities in the mountains, nor unto whatsoever the Lord our God forbade us. Then we turned, and went up by the way of Baashan: and Og King of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people to fight at Edrei. And the Lord said unto me, Fear him not, for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land into thine hand, and thou shalt do unto him as thou diddest unto Sihon King of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbo. So the Lord our God delivered also unto our hand, Og the King of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him, until none was left him alive. And we took all his cities the same time, neither was there a city which we took not from them, even three score cities, and all the country of Argob, even the kingdom of Og in Bashan. All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates and bars, beside unwalled towns a great many. And we overthre them, as we did unto Sihon King of Heshbon, destroying every city, with men, women, and children. But all the cattle and the spoil of the cities we took for ourselves. Thus we took at that time out of the hand of two Kings of the Amorites, the land that was on this side Jordan from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon: (Which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion, but the Amorites call it Senir) All the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan unto Salcah, and Eldrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. For only Og King of Bashan remained of the remnant of the Giants, whose bed was a bed of iron: is it not at Rabbath among the children of Ammon? the length thereof is nine cubits, and four cubits of a man. And this land which we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, and half mount Gilead, and the cities thereof, gave I unto the Reubenites and Gadites. And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh: even all the country of Argob with all Bashan, which is called, The land of giants. Jair the son of Manasseh took all the country of Argob, unto the coasts of Geshuri, and of Maachathi: and called them after his own name, Bashan, Havoth Jair unto this day. And I give part of Gilead unto Machir. And unto the Reubenites and Gadites I gave the rest of Gilead, and unto the river of Arnon, half the river and the borders, even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon:. Deuteronomy 2:1–3:29
- For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly pureess, and not in fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God we have had our conversation in the world, and most of all to youwards. For we write none other things unto you, than that ye read or else that ye acknowledge, and I trust ye shall acknowledge unto the end. Even as ye have acknowledged us partly, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus. And in this confidence was I minded first to come unto you, that ye might have had a double grace, And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia, unto you, and to be led forth toward Judea of you. 2 Corinthians 1:12–16
- For my life is wasted with heaviness, and my years with mourning: my strength faileth for my pain, and my bones are consumed. I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but specially among my neighbors: and a fear to mine acquaintance, who seeing me in the street, fled from me. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel. For I hae heard the railing of great men: fear was on every side, while they conspired together against me, and consulted to take my life. But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thine hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: and save me through thy mercy. Let me not be confounded, O Lord: for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be put to confusion, and to silence in the grave. Let the lying lips be made dumb, which cruelly, proudly, and spitefully speak against the righteous. How great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee! and done to them that trust in thee, even before the sons of men! Psalm 31:10–24