July 16: Jack-in-the-Box Pride
1 Samuel 28:1–29:11; 1 Peter 2:13–17; Psalm 130:1–131:3
It’s dangerous to become too confident in the maturity of our own faith. Our pride is like the spring of a jack-in-the-box: Just when we think it’s broken or that we’ve gotten the lid on tight, it springs back to life. It rears its ugly head, bobbing around like a circus fool.
It’s so easy to get caught up in our own achievements—even when it comes to faith. We can grow in knowledge and then look down on others who still need to grow. The psalmist of Psa 131 presents the solution with a sure, succinct declaration. He fully submits to God’s order. He doesn’t wrestle with the things that don’t make sense—he is able to place these in God’s hand. His inner peace comes from total trust in God: “My heart is not haughty nor my eyes arrogant, And I do not concern myself with things too great and difficult for me. Rather I have soothed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother, like the weaned child is my soul with me” (Psa 131:1–2).
Maturity of faith is found in childlike trust—trust that sees ourselves as small and God as mighty. Peter also speaks about peace that is a result of having faith that submits to God. Submission allows us to act wisely in a situation, all “for the sake of the Lord” (1 Pet 2:13). Doing good will silence the ignorant (1 Pet 2:15), and if we do good while enduring the mistreatment of others, God will show us His favor (1 Pet 2:20). Ultimately, it’s Christ who serves as the example of submission. Even while suffering and enduring abuse, Jesus “did not commit sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth” (1 Pet 2:22). Instead, He “entrusted himself to the one who judges justly” (1 Pet 2:23).
Jesus’ act of redemption should be the focus of all our actions. While pride is rebellion against Him, forgiveness and grace through Christ are enough to drive us to the end of ourselves and send us into the haven of God’s love. His sacrifice eliminates the need to be prideful and self-seeking. It quiets our souls.
How are you turning to Christ’s sacrifice in moments of pride?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- Now at that time the Philistines assembled their bands and army to fight with Israel: therefore Achish said to David, Be sure, thou shalt go out with me to the battle, thou, and thy men. And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Surely I will make thee keeper of mine head forever. Samuel was then dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah his own city: and Saul had put away the sorcerers, and the Soothsayers out of the land.) Then the Philistines assembled themselves, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul assembled all Israel, and they pitched in Gilboa. And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart was sore astonied. Therefore Saul asked counsel of the Lord, and the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor yet by Prophets. Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and ask of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman at En Dor that hath a familiar spirit. Then Saul changed himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, conjecture unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath destroyed the sorcerers, and the soothsayers out of the land: wherefore then seekest thou to take me in a snare to cause me to die? And Saul swore to her by the Lord, saying, As the Lord liveth, no harm shall come to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he answered, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice, and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending up out of the earth. Then he said unto her, What fashion is he of? And she answered, An old man cometh up lapped in a mantel: and Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he inclined his face to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquited me, to bring me up? Then Saul answered, I am in great distress: for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by Prophets, neither by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest tell me, what I should do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing, the Lord is gone from thee, and is thine enemy? Even the Lord hath done to him, as he spake by mine hand: for the Lord will rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and give it to thy neighbor David. Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon the Amalekites, therefore hath the lord done this unto thee this day. Moreover the Lord will deliver Israel with thee into the hands of the Philistines: and tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me,a nd the Lord shall give the host of Israel into the hands of the Philistines. Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid because of the words of Samuel, so that there was no strength in him: for he had eaten no brad all the day nor all the night. Then the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him, See, thine handmaid hath obeyed thy voice, and I have put my soul in mine hand, and have obeyed thy words which thou saidest unto me. Now therefore, I pray thee, hearken thou also unto the voice of thine husbandman, and let me set a morsel of bread before thee, that thou mayest eat and get thee strength, and go on thy journey. But he refused and said, I will not eat: but his servants and the woman together compelled him, and he obeyed their voice: so he arose from the earth, and sat on the bed. Now the woman had a fat calf in the house, and she hasted, and killed it, and took flour, and kneaded it,and baked of it unleavened bread. Then she brought them before Saul, and before his servants: and when they had eaten, they stood up, and went away the same night. So the Philistines were gathered together with their armies in Aphek: and the Israelites pitched by the foundation, which is in Jezreel. And the princes of the Philistines went forth by hundreds and thousands, but David and his men came behind with Achish. Then said the Princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here? And Achish said unto the princes of the Philiistines, Is not this David the servant of Saul the King of Israel, who hath been with me these days, or these years, and I have found nothing in him, since he dwelt with me unto this day? But the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him, and the princes of rhe Philistines said unto him, Send this fellow back, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest that in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he obtain the favor of his master? should it not be with the heads of these men? Is not this David, of whom they sang in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousand, and David his ten thousand? Then Achish called David, and said unto him, As the Lord liveth, thou hast been upright and good in my sight, when thou wentest out and in with me in the host, neither have I found evil with thee, since thou camest to me unto this day, but the princes do not favor thee. Wherefore now return, and go in peace, that thou displease not the princes of the Philistines. And David said unto Achish, But what have I done/ and what hat thou found in thy servant as long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not go and fight against the enemies of my Lord the King? Achish then answered and said to David, I know thou pleasest me as an Angel of God: but the princes of the Philistines have said, Let him not go up with us to battle. Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master’s servants that are come with thee: when ye be up early, as soon as ye have light, depart. So David and his men rose up early to depart in the morning, and to return into the land of the Philistines: and the Philistines went up to Jezreel. 1 Samuel 28:1–29:11
- And shall receive the wages of unrighteousness, as they which count it pleasure daily to live deliciously. Spots they are and blots, delighting themselves in their deceivings, in feasting with you. Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease to sin, beguiling unstable souls, they have hearts exercised with covetousness, they are the children of curse: Which forsaking the right way, have gone astray following the way of Balaam, were of Beor, which loved the wages of unrighteousness. But he was rebuked for his iniquity: for the dumb beast speaking with man’s voice forbade the foolishness of the Prophet. These are wells without water, and clouds carried about with a tempest, to whom the black darkness is reserved forever. 1 Peter 2:13–17
- Out of the deep places have I called unto thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears attend to the voice of my prayers. If thou, O Lord, straightly market iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But mercy is with thee, that thou mayest be feared. I have waited, and I have trusted in his word. My soul waiteth on the Lord more than the morning watch watcheth for morning. Let Israel wait on the Lord: for with the Lord is mercy, and with him is great redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities. Lord, mine heart is not haughty, neither are mine eyes lofty, neither have I walked in great matters and hid from me. Surely I have behaved myself, like one weaned from his mother, and kept silence: I am in myself as one that is weaned. Let Israel wait on the Lord from henceforth and forever. Psalm 130:1–131:3