“Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, the wickedness of the kings of Judah, the wickedness of their wives, your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? They have not been humbled, to this day, nor have they feared; they have not walked in My law or in My statutes that I set before you and your fathers” (Jeremiah 44:9-10).
The great boxer Muhammad Ali, once said, “It’s hard to be humble, when you’re as great as I am”. Solomon wrote, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Pride is a vice many of us struggle with, although, perhaps, some of us are too proud to admit it.
Following the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity of the land of Judah (Jeremiah 39:1-8), a group of God’s people led by Johanan the son of Kareah, one of the former army leaders, begin to leave the Promised Land and flee to Egypt (Jeremiah 43:5-7). Through the prophet Jeremiah, God had warned them not to do this and they would face certain destruction if they did (Jeremiah 42:15-19). However, they insist on going and force Jeremiah to go with them to Egypt.
While in Egypt, God speaks regarding those Israelites who chose to go down to Egypt. He reminds them of what He did in the past to those who refused to humble themselves before the Lord: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: 'You have seen all the calamity that I have brought on Jerusalem and on all the cities of Judah; and behold, this day they are a desolation, and no one dwells in them, because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke Me to anger, in that they went to burn incense and to serve other gods whom they did not know, they nor you nor your fathers’” (Jeremiah 44:2-3). God had sent His prophets to them to warn them, but they refused to humble themselves before God. As a result, they faced God’s wrath. God states, “So My fury and My anger were poured out and kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as it is this day” (Jeremiah 44:6).
As the opening verses above indicate, those Israelites who fled to Egypt had seen what happens to those who refuse to humble themselves before God. Yet, by fleeing to Egypt, they were once again subjecting themselves to God’s wrath (Jeremiah 44:7-9). Regarding them, God says, “They have not been humbled, to this day, nor have they feared; they have not walked in My law or in My statutes that I set before you and your fathers” (Jeremiah 44:10). Even after all the consequences they had faced because of their own sin, they still refused to humble themselves before God. Following this warning by Jeremiah to them, notice their prideful response: “"As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you!” (Jeremiah 44:16).
Even though they had seen such great calamity like the terrible destruction of Jerusalem, they still refused to humble themselves before God. How many of us know people that we love who have suffered terrible consequences from their own sins, yet still refuse to humble themselves before God? More importantly, how often do we find ourselves being prideful and resisting following God’s Will in our lives when it comes submitting to such challenging commands as practicing forgiveness towards others (Matthew 6:14-15) or loving our enemies (Matthew 5:44)? What must God do to me in order to get me to walk humbly before Him? Today, I will strive to humble myself before the Lord!
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).