“Men throw broken things away, but God never uses anything until He first breaks it.” – Adrian Rogers
“Pride grows in the human heart like lard on a pig.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Be careful bragging about what “you” have accomplished, God may actually let you do the next endeavor on your own! Aesop gives us a vivid example of this in one his fables: The Gnat and The Lion. The parable that is presented is that of an annoying insect, a gnat, who was buzzing around the head of a lion. The lion roared at the insect to leave him alone, “Don’t you know who I am? Why I am the King of all beast! See my teeth and claws? You will be sorry if you do not leave me alone bug!” The gnat defiantly replied, “what, do you think I am afraid of your claws and teeth? I don’t care if they call you king, I am not afraid.” The gnat then flew directly at the lion and stung him on the nose. The lion filled with rage, wildly swung at the gnat only to catch himself with his own claws.
The gnat came again and again, stinging the lion. The lion, becoming more enraged and wild, tore at the gnat with his teeth and claws. Each attempt to vanquish the gnat resulted in more self-inflicted wounds. Finally, the lion gave up the fight; defeated and humiliate by a measly insect. The gnat excitedly flew away, enraptured with his feats of heroism and desire to tell the world of his victory, but instead he flew straight into a spider’s web. The gnat who defeated the king of beast was now prey to a little spider. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” – 1 Corinthians 10:12.
The Israelites were fast approaching the end of forty years wandering in the wilderness, and their entrance into the Land of Promise. Their story from Egypt to this point is littered with failure and regretful choices. God’s faithfulness has been seen time and again and yet they have rebelled and been stiff-necked more than obedient. Moses will soon be off the scene, and he wants to remind them of some very important truths.
First, they weren’t chosen because they were ultra-righteous. It was God choice to single them out and use them. The reality was they had more failure than success, and often represented the holy character of God worse than the wicked nations around them! Moses gives a startling revelation about this reality in Deuteronomy 9:6 – “Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.”
It would do us well to remember that we are just sinners saved by grace. We honestly don’t have the ability to tout how spiritual or “arrived” we are. Far to many Christians forget the mess they were in (or would be in) were it not for God’s grace. Do you look down your nose at “less” spiritual people than you? Just remember, were it not for the mercies of God, you would be lost and bound in sin. It would do us well to remember that God saved us because of His great love for us, not because we had great merit and righteousness. When I was completely unlovely, He loved me!
Second, If Israel forgot what God had done for them and through them, they would be tempted to love the world around them. Moses tells them in Deuteronomy 8:9 – “And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.” Synonymous with forgetting the Lord is walking after other gods. God wanted the people to remember God’s provision and blessings, because this remembrance would continually prompt them to love and serve the Lord.
We do ourselves a great disservice when we forget the goodness of God. I have learned in my life, that if I am not proactively remembering by placing reminders in front of me, I will forget. There is a reason God established all the sacrifices and feast, they were to act as perpetual reminders. You need to put some things in place in your life that remind you of God’s blessings and goodness every day. Daily Bible Reading, Prayer, Meditation of God’s truths, Godly music, worship, praise, and more will help you reset your mind to focus on God’s blessings. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2
Today, purpose in your heart to see the reality of your life. You are a sinner saved by grace whose only hope is in Christ Jesus. Your righteousness is His righteousness, and He has blessed you so so much! Renew your mind by pushing the “reset and remember” button on your heart and brain every day. Don’t make the blunder of the gnat, who won the victory over the lion only to forget he was just an insect. Let humility reign in your life today.
Daily Scripture Reading
Deuteronomy 8 - 10
“All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers.”