Power, Pride and Pain

Power, Pride and Pain

The Bible makes very clear the virtues of humility and the dangers of pride.
  • Matthew 23:11-12 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

In the Bible, we see many times when God reveals His power through someone. And unfortunately, we then see in that person the pride that arises due to human weaknesses. And finally we see the pain  and humiliation that comes after a fall. In this devotion, we will examine two examples of this: a King and a Disciple of Jesus Christ.


Amaziah

Amaziah was the son of Joash and became King of Judah at the age of twenty-five after his father’s servants conspired against Joash and killed him. Like his father, Amaziah did right in the sight of the Lord (to a large extent). God blessed Amaziah and gave him victory in battle over the Edomites.
  • 2 Kings 14:7 He killed ten thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt, and took Sela by war, and called its name Joktheel to this day.

After this display of power, pride led Amaziah to challenge the King of Israel to battle.
  • 2 Kings 14:8 Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, “Come, let us face one another in battle.”

Unfortunately Amaziah ignored a clear warning from the King of Israel about going to war. The disastrous results of this battle were very painful for Amaziah and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
  • 2 Kings 14:11-14 But Amaziah would not heed. Therefore Jehoash king of Israel went out; so he and Amaziah king of Judah faced one another at Beth Shemesh, which belongs to Judah. 12 And Judah was defeated by Israel, and every man fled to his tent. 13 Then Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash, the son of Ahaziah, at Beth Shemesh; and he went to Jerusalem, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the Gate of Ephraim to the Corner Gate—four hundred cubits. 14 And he took all the gold and silver, all the articles that were found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria.

Peter

Peter was a bold, brave and brash disciple of Christ. He briefly walked on water with Christ.  While defending Christ during His arrest, Peter rashly drew his sword and cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest. God demonstrated His power in Peter by revealing to him that Jesus was the Son of God, the Christ.
  • Matthew 16:15-17 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Yet as close to Christ as he was, as much as He loved Him, even when Jesus told Peter and the other disciples they would stumble that very night, in pride Peter declared that he would never deny Jesus (notice that the other ten disciples made the same claim – Judas had already departed to betray Him).
  • Matthew 26:33-35 Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples.

Just as Christ had foretold, later that night when Jesus was arrested, in shame and pain Peter (along with the other disciples) abandoned Him.
  • Matthew 26:55-56 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. 56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.
  • See Matthew 26:69-75 for Peter’s threefold denial of Christ and his bitter weeping afterwards.

What other Biblical examples can you think of that repeat the pattern of God’s Power, Personal Pride and Resulting Pain? Pray that God will manifest His power in and through you. But also pray that God will keep you humble! Instead of elevating yourself, be humble and let God do the exalting in His timing!
  • 1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,

Prayer

Father, I know that much of Your Word is meant to be an example for my learning. I pray dear Lord that Your Spirit teaches me from these and other examples in the Bible of pride and pain following a clear demonstration of Your Power. May You empower me to be truly humble; putting others above myself. Christ showed the ultimate example of humility by coming to earth as a man and as a perfect sacrifice to die for the sins of the world. I pray that His love and sacrifice will motivate and guide me when pride rears its ugly head in me. I pray this in Christ’s name, Amen.