Some time ago when I was walking around in the shopping mall accidentally I met an old friend when was in college. I am so excited met her because been many years I have not hear news about her. Afterwards we were deep in exciting conversation. We were talk about many things. But after a while, I felt there was something different from her. I heard sound of arrogance in every of her words. There was her sayings that really show her arrogance when we talked about business, “If you have a problem in business, you can come to me for help. Now with the position and authority that I have, I can do anything. I can change everything from impossible become possible!”
Honestly I really sad to saw her changed drastically. I knew her very well before. A meek young college girl even there was an impression of inferiority. But now she totally changed become an arrogant and snobby woman. Even worse, it seems she was not aware of the changes that happened to him. He felt all she did was reasonable. My husband said to me, “That’s one of the human weaknesses. Many people when they have a great success they could change drastically. When they have high position and powers, they turned out to be an arrogant person. They are forget that it all just a blessing from God”
Of what happened with my friend, I am increasingly aware why in the Christian life God many times advised us to always being humble and always live in humility. As God through Paul advised the Ephesians,
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)
To the Philippians God advised,
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, (Philippians 2:3)
And to the Colossians God said,
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. ( Colossians 3:12)
There are many more advice to always be humble, and this is very important because “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6)
I am reminded of the story of Joshua when he wanted to lead the Israelites to cross the Jordan. (Joshua 3:1-17) God spoke to Joshua before entering the Jordan,
“Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.” (Joshua 3:7)
After Joshua receive God’s message, he was immediately conveyed it to the Israelites. Let us pay attention to what Joshua said to the Israelites, he said,
This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites (Verse 10)
Please note, Joshua did not say, “look, today you all will see how the Lord rearing my name, exalt me among you …” Joshua did not say, “Here I am! I am the chosen, higher than all of you, and if you survived it all that because of me.” Not at all! What Joshua said is,” This is how you will know that the living God is among you…” When I pondering this story I found and see Joshua’s humility. Joshua remains being humble because he was fully aware that it is not because his great or strong power Israelites would have crossed the Jordan, but because of God’s care. Joshua focused not on himself but to God. The focus is only to the God that glorified in all things have ever, is and will happen. Joshua did not take over of what is become God’s right. Furthermore, Joshua also explained in detail how they should to cross (Verse 11-13), and that he did to show that what will happen is not a simply coincidence, or not because of the greatness of Israel or himself, but because there is the power of God that works to protect and save them.
Now let we look at a story which opposite with the story of Joshua. Let’s see to the story of Korah. Initially, Korah was a quite influential leader at the time when the Israelites came out from Egypt. As with other Levites, Korah trusted to do the work in the tabernacle of the Lord and has a duty to serve the people. With such a status Korah automatically got a higher trust compared the other Israelites. It was such an honor and a big responsibility. Yet the fact was, Korah fell into the rebellion sin. He became oblivious to the essence of trust which God has given to him after success. He appreciates himself excessively and then fails to recognize the limits that God has set for him. He forgot to what became the line of his duty and he became arrogant. He was plotting a rebellion.
And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: (Number 16:2)
Why did he rebel? Because he felt himself great above others and thirst for positions. Then Moses rebuked Korah,
Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too (Numbers 16:9-10)
Arrogance made them forget that they are actually not opposed Moses and Aaron alone but God who has outlined immediately like what they have to walk. And what happens next was very fatal. The wrath of God came upon them and the destruction was befalling them.
And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. (Numbers 16:32-33)
Korah and his people eventually perish, down alive into the realm of the dead. It is God’s punishment for the people who are arrogant and dared against to God. And this is a warning to us not to be destroyed caused by our pride.
The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them along with Korah, whose followers died when the fire devoured the 250 men. And they served as a warning sign. (Numbers 26:10)
In everyday life we could found those who extremely changed just because they reached great success, have a high position and authority, feel the most powerful and can do anything. As a Christian, when God blesses us with success and was entrusted with full authority whether we would to be like them change drastically become arrogant and forget the essence of the trust that has been given by God? Today we could learn from these two stories. Whether we want to be like Joshua who was always focused on God and not take over what is become God’s right? Remain humble because he was fully aware that it was not as great or strong his power the Israelites would have crossed the Jordan, but due to the God’s power. Or we want to be like Korah who appreciates himself excessively and become an arrogant person, thirst for the position and honor, wanted to go beyond the limits that God has set for him, and eventually just got God’s wrath?
My dearest friends, this time please allow me to encourage all of you to always remember that everything that we have is only from God alone. Success, position, honor, affluence, authority, it all is just because blessings from God. Always remember to not steal the God’s glory and do not snatch the right of God to boast ourselves as written in Jeremiah,
Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
Please always remember that we saved to save, we are blessed to be a blessing not to be a stumbling block. All of blessing that we have received is not use to boast ourselves but merely for the channel of blessings for others and just for God’s Glory. Without God we are nothing!
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John15:5)
Do not be oblivious and feel that we are the greater than other then forget and steal the glory which becomes God’s right. When we become successful let’s keep it well, continue to being humble, bless others over and over again and continue to glorify God. Do not feel we can do anything just because Intelligence, talent or expertise or even a chance to succeed are only comes from the God’s grace. Amen.
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! (Romans 11:36)
Karina – Living by faith
Photo by Paul Militaru http://photopaulm.com