“Go, say to Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel, “Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over My people Israel,
“Inasmuch as I exalted you from the dust and made you leader over My people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made My people Israel sin, provoking Me to anger with their sins,
Someone lifting someone up
As He spoke to me the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet; and I heard Him speaking to me.
The Spirit then entered me and made me stand on my feet, and He spoke with me and said to me, “Go, shut yourself up in your house.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” Philippians 2:3 NASB
Kids are great! Things that we take for granted are occasions for awe and wonder for them. And their perspectives are often convictingly right on.
Take, for instance, the little girl who loved watching the planes that took off from a nearby airport as she played in her backyard. From her point of view, planes literally got smaller and smaller the farther they flew away. Which explains the strange thing she said to her dad after he decided to take her on a business trip. Soon after taking off, she turned to her dad and said, “Daddy, are we small yet?”
That’s a really important—and challenging—question to ask ourselves. There is something about us that doesn’t like feeling small. It starts early. Any kid worth his salt will gladly throw up his arms and do the “so big!” routine when you ask him, “How big are you?” We may stop throwing up our arms, but we never really grow out of wanting to be “so big” in other people’s eyes. It’s amazing how quickly life gets to be all about who’s got the nicest house, the best job, the coolest car, the highest degree, the biggest diamond, or the best office on the executive floor. We are quick to defend ourselves to keep ourselves looking good. We like to draw attention to our accomplishments and turn conversations to focus on us, and we find ourselves a little put out when we are not noticed or invited to hang out with the “in” crowd.
For most of us, life is about anything but making ourselves small. We are the tall “I” in the middle of our universe.
And that’s a problem.
In Philippians 2:3-11, Paul tells us that we need to stop living to advance ourselves and our own interests and instead start considering others as more important than ourselves. In fact, he says that we should do nothing from “empty conceit”—which literally means the puffing up of our nothingness. I love the graphic picture in that thought. No matter how big you puff up a zero, it’s still a zero!
And then he points us to Jesus who didn’t consider his “big” standing in heaven a thing to hang on to, but rather He humbled himself to care for our interests by becoming obedient to death on the cross. Think of that! Jesus thought of us and our needs as being more important than His own! He made himself small that we by His abundant mercy might become big in the riches of His grace.
Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus!
Are you small yet?
He answered nothing (Mark 15:3).
From: Streams in the Desert
There is no spectacle in all the Bible so sublime as the silent Savior answering not a word to the men who were maligning Him, and whom He could have laid prostrate at His feet by one look of Divine power, or one word of fiery rebuke. But He let them say and do their worst, and He stood in THE POWER OF STILLNESS–God’s holy silent Lamb.
There is a stillness that lets God work for us, and holds our peace; the stillness that ceases from its contriving and its self-vindication, and its expedients of wisdom and forethought, and lets God provide and answer the cruel blow, in His own unfailing, faithful love.
How often we lose God’s interposition by taking up our own cause, and striking for our defense. God give to us this silent power, this conquered spirit! And after the heat and strife of earth are over, men will remember us as we remember the morning dew, the gentle light and sunshine, the evening breeze, the Lamb of Calvary, and the gentle, holy heavenly Dove.
–A. B. Simpson
The day when Jesus stood alone
And felt the hearts of men like stone,
And knew He came but to atone
That day “He held His peace.”
They witnessed falsely to His word,
They bound Him with a cruel cord,
And mockingly proclaimed Him Lord;
“But Jesus held His peace.”
They spat upon Him in the face,
They dragged Him on from place to place,
They heaped upon Him all disgrace;
“But Jesus held His peace.”
My friend, have you for far much less,
With rage, which you called righteousness,
Resented slights with great distress?
Your Saviour “held His peace.”
–L. S. P.
I remember once hearing Bishop Whipple, of Minnesota, so well known as “The Apostle of the Indians,” utter these beautiful words: “For thirty years I have tried to see the face of Christ in those with whom I differed.”
When this spirit actuates us we shall be preserved at once from a narrow bigotry and an easy-going tolerance, from passionate vindictiveness and everything that would mar or injure our testimony for Him who came not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.
–W. H. Griffith Thomas
From: Through The Bible
Deuteronomy 4:7-8 (NIV) 7What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? 8And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?
Our God fills the universe, and yet He is near everyone, ready to commune with hearts that are receptive to Him. He is over all and yet willing to have a personal relationship with those who seek Him in truth. There has never been a god invented by any religion that is so great and so loving as the God of the Bible. We did not invent our God. He revealed Himself to us. He continues to reveal Himself to us as long as we continue to seek the wonder of His infinite greatness.
Though Israel was a nation with the privilege of seeing Him move on their behalf, all the nations that came in contact with Israel could witness the same and decide if they wanted to pursue the God of Israel. He would be just as near any of them that sought Him whenever they prayed to Him.
What really made Israel unique was that they had the recorded word of God. The laws that they received were full of the Creator’s instructions that kept them from the diseases and injustices that the nations around them experienced. The revealed Word gave them a new culture, the culture of God. Even the culture was meant to be a witness to the nations.
Consider: Appreciate the fact that you have a God that is near when you pray. Appreciate your unique culture by living as a person of the Word. Both will speak to the world you come in contact with and show that there is a Living God who is near those who call upon Him.
Matthew 21:12-13 (NIV) 12Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.'”
Jesus had cleaned out the outer court of the Temple on the first Passover of His ministry. At the last Passover, He did it again. The outer court was the area dedicated for the nations of the world to come and pray to Jehovah. The religious leaders had allowed it to become a market for exchanging coins to pay the Temple tax and for the purchase of sacrificial animals. The archeological finds of opulent homes of the priests indicates there may have been some financial gain for them in allowing this to take place there. Instead of a quiet courtyard for people to come before God, it was a noisy business center. It had also become a shortcut from one side of the city to the other. You can bet the religious leaders would never have allowed any of this to go on in the inner courts! It was a blatant disregard for the call of God to the Jewish people, to present the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to the world. It was an attitude that said, “We know God, and we could care less about the rest of you that don’t know Him.” That was a complete misrepresentation of God who loves the world.
We are the temple of God today. Is your heart a quiet place of seeking after God and communing with Him, or is it filled with busy shouts of profiteering? Is our heart a place of merchandise or praise and thanksgiving? Our testimony can present the mandates and price tags of ritual, or the peaceful invitation to commune with God. Jesus’ desire is for our hearts to be a house of prayer. His heart is for the nations. If your heart is a house of prayer, the worshipful atmosphere with the outward expression of your life will draw the nations to Him. You will be bringing the outer court of prayer to every unbeliever you contact.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, make my place of worship and my heart a house of prayer.