August 6: Feeling Entitled
Isaiah 10:20–12:6; Luke 4:1–44; Job 3:17–26
Familiarity breeds contempt, so the saying goes. But the line from Aesop’s fable “The Fox and the Lion” wasn’t meant to imply that we often take those closest to us for granted. Rather, the fox fails to properly acknowledge the lion—the king of all beasts—because he doesn’t know his place. His self-perception is dangerously inflated.
The same is true for the fickle Nazarenes who heard Jesus interpret the Scriptures. When Jesus preached in the synagogue of His hometown, the Nazarenes were initially receptive. But when He interpreted the prophet Isaiah’s words in a way they disliked—a way that showed Him as the one who “proclaim[s] release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind” (Luke 4:18; see Isa 61:1)—they belittled Him: “Is this man not the son of Joseph?” (Luke 4:22).
The Nazarenes weren’t ready to admit their need (Luke 4:23). They didn’t understand that they were blind and unrepentant. They may have expected Jesus to perform miracles for them—after all, He was a local. But He didn’t show them physical proof of the spiritual truth that they were unwilling to grasp. Instead, He reminded them that Elijah the prophet was sent to a Sidonian woman and Elisha to a Syrian. God chose to show mercy and healing to those who were unfamiliar with Him because they were willing to believe. They were willing to humble themselves to a point where belief was possible.
The Nazarenes’ response to Jesus tells a spiritual truth that we might easily overlook. When it comes to the Christian life, it’s tempting to feel that we have status. When we’re comfortable—when we know what to expect from preaching and have memorized the pertinent passages—we can feel a sense of entitlement that is dangerous. Entitlement breeds contempt that needs to be uprooted. Unless we see our true state—that we need to be set free—we forget that we need to humble ourselves before the Lamb of God.
Do you feel a sense of entitlement? What would it take for you to become humble before Jesus?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- And at that day shall the remnant of Israel land such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, stay no more upon him that smote them, but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy one of Israel in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob unto the mighty God. For though my people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, yet shall the remnant of them return. The consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. For the Lord God of hosts shall make the consumption even determined, in the midst of all the land. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, O my people, that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of Assyria: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee after the manner of Egypt. But yet a very little time, and the wrath shall be consumed, and mine anger in their destruction. And the Lord of hosts shall raise up a scourge for him, according to the plague of Midian in the rock Oreb: and as his staff was upon the Sea, so he will lift it up after the manner of Egypt. And at that day shall his burden be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck: and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing. He is come to Aiath: he is passed into Migron: at Michmash shall he lay up his armor. They have gone over the ford: they lodged in lodging at Geba: Ramah is afraid: Gibeah of Saul is fled away. Lift up thy voice, O daughter Gallim, cause Laish to hear, O poor Anathoth. Madmenah is removed: the inhabitants of Gebim have gathered themselves together. Yet there is a time that he will stay at Nob: he shall lift up his hand toward the mount of the daughter Zion, the hill of Jerusaelm. Behold, the Lord God of hosts shall cut off the bough with fear, and they of high stature shall be cut off, and the high shall be humbled. And he shall cut away the thick places of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall have a mighty fall. But there shall come a rod forth of the stock of Jesse, and a grass shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord, And shall make him prudent in the fear of the Lord: for he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove by the hearing of his ears. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and with equity shall he reprove for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And justice shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie with the kid, and the calf, and the lion, and the fat beast together, and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed: their young ones shall lie together: and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock. And the sucking child shall play upon the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand upon the cockatrice hole. Then shall none hurt nor destroy in all the mountain of mine holiness: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters that cover the sea. And in that day the root of Jesse, which shall stand up for a sign unto the people, the nations shall seek unto it, and his rest shall be glorious. And in the same day shall the Lord stretch out his hand again the second time, to possess the remnant of his people, (which shall be left) of Assyria, and of Egypt, and of Pathos, and of Ethiopia, and of Elam, and of Shinar, and of Hamath, and of the isles of the sea. And he shall set up a sign to the nations, and assemble the dispersed of Israel, and gather the scattered of Judah from the four corners of the world. The hatred also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, neither shall Judah vex Ephraim: But they shall flee upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the West: they shall spoil them of the East together: Edom and Moab shall be the stretching out of their hands, and the children of Ammon in their obedience. The Lord also shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian’s sea, and with his mighty wind shall lift up his hand over the river, and shall smite him in his seven streams, and cause men to walk therein with shoes. And there shall be a path to the remnant of his people which are left of Assyria, like as it was unto Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt. And thou shalt in that day, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou was angry with me, thy wrath is turned away, and thou comfortest me. Behold, God is my salvation: I will trust, and will not fear: for the Lord God is my strength and song: he is also become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw waters out of the wells of salvation. And ye shall say in that day, Praise the Lord: call upon his Name: declare his works among the people: make mention of them, for his Name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord, for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the world. Cry out, and shout, O inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy one of Israel in the midst of thee. Isaiah 10:20–12:6
- And Jesus full of the holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by that Spirit into the wilderness, And was there forty days tempted of the devil, and in those days he did eat nothing, but when they were ended, he afterward was hungry. Then the devil said unto him, If thou be the son of God, command this stone, that it be made bread. But Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread only, but by every word of God. Then the devil took him up into an high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, in the twinkling of an eye. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of those kingdoms: for that is delivered to me: and to whomsoever I will, I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, they shall be all thine. But Jesus answered him, and said, Hence from me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him alone thou shalt serve. Then he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the Temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence, For it is written, That he will give his Angels charge over thee to keep thee: And with their hands they shall lift thee up, lest at anytime thou shouldest dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answered, and said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a little season. And Jesus returned by the power of the spirit into Galilee: and there went a fame of him throughout all the region round about: For he taught in their Synagogues, and was honored of all men. And he came to Nazareth where he had been brought up, and (as his custom was) went into the Synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the Prophet Isaiah: and when he had opened the book, he found the place, where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath appointed me, that I should preach the Gospel to the poor: he hath sent me, that I should heal the brokenhearted, that I should preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, that I should set at liberty them that are bruised: And that I should preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And that I should preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, nad gave it again to the minister, and sat down: and the eyes of all that were in the Synagogue were fastened on him. Then he began to say unto them, This day is the Scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words, which proceeded out of his mouth, and said, Is not this Joseph’s son? Then he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this Proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do it here likewise in thine own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when heaven was shut three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land: But unto none of them was Elijah sent, save into Zarephath, a city of Sidon, unto a certain widow. Also many lepers were in Israel, in the time of Elisha the Prophet: yet none of them was made clean, saving Naaman the Syrian. Then all that were in the Synagogue, when they heard it, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the edge of the hill, whereon their city was built, to cast him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them, and went his way, And came down to Capernaum a city of Galilee, and there taught them on the Sabbath days. And they were astonied at his doctrine: for his word was with authority. And in the Synagogue there was a man which had a spirit of an unclean devil, which cried with a loud voice, Saying, Oh, what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know who thou art, even the Holy one of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. Then the devil throwing him in the midst of them, came out of him, and hurt him nothing at all. So fear came on them all, and they spake among themselves, saying, What thing is this: for with authority and power he commandeth the foul spirits, and they come out? And the fame of him spread abroad throughout all the places of the country round about. And he rose up, and came out of the Synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house, And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever, and they required him for fear. Then he stood over her, and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she arose, and ministered unto them. And devils also came out of many, crying, and saying, Thou art the Christ that Son of God: but he rebuked them, and suffered them not to say that they knew him to be that Christ. And when it was day, he departed, and went forth into a desert place, and the people sought him, and came to him, and kept him that he should not depart from them. But he said unto them, Surely I must also preach the kingdom of God to other cities: for therefore am I sent. And he preached in the Synagogues of Galilee. Luke 4:1–44
- The wicked have there ceased from their tyranny, and there they that labored valiantly, and at rest. The prisoners rest together, and hear not that voice of the oppressor. There are small and great, and the servant is free from his master. Wherefore is the light given to him that is in misery? and life unto them that have heavy hearts? Which long for death, and if it come not, they would even search it more than treasures: Which joy for gladness, and rejoice, when they can find the grave. Why is the light given to the man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in? For my sighting cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the water. For the thing I feared, is come upon me, and the thing that I was afraid of, is come unto me. I had no peace, neither had I quietness, neither had I rest, yet trouble is come. Job 3:17–26