“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 2:14
I have been reading through both books of Chronicles over the past several days, and I keep seeing two themes emerging over and over again. The first is that God grants success to His people. “And David became more and more powerful because the Lord Almighty was with him” (1 Chronicles 11:9); “So the Lord gave David victory wherever he went” (1 Chronicles 18:6b). About Uzziah: “…and as long as the king sought the Lord, God gave him success…His fame spread far and wide, for the Lord helped him wonderfully until he became very powerful” (2 Chronicles 26:5b,15b). And later, “Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful” (2 Chronicles 31:21b); “Hezekiah was very wealthy and held in high esteem…for God had given him great wealth…And so he succeeded in everything he did” (2 Chronicles 32:7a,29b,30b). There are a number of accounts of those who chose to trust God, seek Him wholeheartedly and rely on His strength; and they had great success in life because God was with them, blessed them and acted on their behalf.
In my own life, there are many times that I have prayed and seen God work on my behalf. I truly think our successes are due to His gifts (even the skills and abilities we have are from Him!) and His blessing in our lives.
So, it’s somewhat troubling to see the next theme that has emerged…the need for humility. Sadly when we start seeing success in our lives, it’s easy to let that sneaky sin of pride get rooted into our hearts. We listen to the lies that it’s our own hard work, our own skills that we’ve made good use of, or our own “good luck” and neglect to praise God for the blessings He has given us. The words HUMBLE and HUMILITY have come up over and over and over again:
“When the Lord saw their change of heart, he gave this message to Shemaiah: ‘Since the people have humbled themselves, I will not completely destroy them and will soon give them some relief.'” (2 Chronicles 12:7a).
“The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all His warnings. So the Lord sent Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the Lord his God and cried out humbly to the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request for help. So the Lord let Manasseh return to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Manasseh had finally realized that the Lord alone is God!” (2 Chronicles 33:10-13).
Later (when Josiah was reigning): “You were sorry and humbled yourself before God when you heard what I said against this city and this people. You humbled yourself and tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. So I have indeed heard you, says the Lord” (2 Chronicles 34:27).
God has great power – He has the ability to give us success when we seek Him wholeheartedly and walk in His ways AND He can punish us greatly for our sins. I believe pride is a stench to Him (and to others – let’s be honest, is it fun to be around someone arrogant and proud? Are they easy to work with? Easy to like?). If God blesses us and instead of praising Him, we take the credit and become downright awful to be around, how disgusting is that?
Instead, we can realize success and give credit where it’s due. We can be humble before God and before others. We can openly admit that it’s God’s blessings in our lives that have made us who we are, where we are, and how we live. It’s God’s protection while we sleep, His hand on us as we walk, His grace in giving us jobs and enough to eat, His blessing of joy and peace, and so forth… may we not be proud but rather full of Thanksgiving, humility and respect. Let’s give glory to God!
Father God, we recognize that You alone are the One True God. We see Your faithfulness and give You credit for being Lord and Master. We thank You for the many blessings and successes we’ve realized. And we likewise want to repent for times that we’ve allowed pride to infiltrate our thinking. Help us take every thought captive and surrender it to Your truth and Your Word. We humble ourselves before You today, we seek Your presence and Your will, and we ask that You would help us succeed in doing what’s right, what’s holy, what’s just, what’s pure, what’s lovely, what’s admirable. Help us act according to Your ways. We thank You and praise You. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!