In the first half of chapter 6 of Amos, we found Israel heaping upon themselves material treasures and boasting presumptuously, as if they were utterly successful. In the second half of this chapter, we find God heaping condemnation upon Israel, as if they were utterly in misery. Listen how God responds to their trust in human devices. “I abhor the pride of Jacob, and hate his palaces; therefore I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.” … For behold, the LORD gives a command: He will break the great house into bits, and the little house into pieces.
Curiously, in verse 13, Amos accuses the Israelites of rejoicing in Lodebar – or as the King James Version translates it, “Ye which rejoice in a thing of naught.” Lodebar was an Ammonite city, which means in Hebrew, “nothing.” The absurd irony is that though Israel was bragging in her military victory in Lodebar, in God’s eyes it was no reason to rejoice at all; in fact they rejoiced over nothing. How foolishly absurd it is for man to boast in what only God can do. Yet this is exactly that man does every time he raises up the almighty “I.” Think about it, even in our language, “I” is the only pronoun capitalized, other than those which refer to Deity.
Human beings are the only creation who rejoice in themselves – and as such rejoice in nothing. People boast and glory in their bigger houses, expensive cars, high-paying jobs, better social status, finer ethnic background, advanced education, theological superiority or extraordinary spiritual experience. Such behavior is evident even in children who brag about their bicycle, their report card, or their physical accomplishments or attractiveness. Pride then fuels a complacent life that ignores the needs of others who are deemed as different and therefore less important. Be assured that the root sin that causes man to ignore his fellow man is surely nothing other than pride. Pride causes a man to think of himself as better off than he truly is, so he becomes smug, and easily forgets about others. So watch out when you think you’ve got it made, because your demise is not far off (Prov 16:18).
Paul calls believers to a sober judgment of themselves (see Rom 12:3, 1 Cor 4:6-7, Phil 2:1-11). At its core, the sin of pride entails taking credit for an accomplishment, which should be attributed to the grace of God alone. In 1 Cor. 4:7 Paul asks, “and what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” James reminds us (1:17) that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above … not the least of which is the gift of salvation (James 1:18). Yet we find men often boasting how he has “accepted Christ,” while the Word of God clearly teaches that the natural man is unable to accept anything spiritual (1 Cor 2:14). Foolish man, you did not accept Christ – He accepted you! Why do you glory in anyone other than Christ? Oh how man loves to rejoice in nothing!
Are you rejoicing in Lodebar (nothing)? Think about which of God’s gifts you may be taking credit for by examining your behavior toward others? Have you no care for the poor? Perhaps you’re trusting in your own material success. Has your higher education kept you from considering those who may not be as astute? No care for the weak or infirmed? Maybe you’re taking your own strength for granted. Has your ethnicity kept you from reaching across cultural boundaries to lend a helping hand? Has your theological understanding caused you to criticize others who are not as well studied? Do you often pass judgment on those you consider “less spiritual” than yourself? Maybe you are glorying in your own unique spiritual experience.
This week search the Scriptures below and believe God’s Word about pride so that you might repent by the power of the Holy Spirit and instead of rejoicing in nothing, rejoice in God!
Cross Refs: Job 8:14-15, 27:16-21; Is 10:15, 17:13, 28:14-15; Jer 9:23-24, 23:28-29, 49:4; Luke 12:19-20; Rom 4:2, 1 Cor 3:18-21; Gal 6:14-15; Eph 2:8-9
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