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Part of the FBCS 2010 Read Through the Bible Project: Enter the Story. Join the Song.

More Wisdom From Above.

James 4    Jeremiah 27-28    Psalm 132

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10). Today’s readings continue the theme of wisdom, adding to yesterday’s “willing to yield” (James 3:17) a call to “humble” ourselves before the Lord.  And what does such humility look like? Well. It isn’t seen in Hananiah, who presumes to speak for God, though the Lord has not sent him (Jeremiah 28).  Nor is it found in the all-too-common “conflicts and disputes” (James 4:1) that mar life together. And what shall we say about the manner in which we plan our future with hardly a nod to God (James 4:13-16)? Consider, then, both the challenge and the wisdom of humility before God.

“For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his habitation” (Psalm 132:13). As the psalm writer celebrates God’s blessings on Jerusalem, the challenge of humility comes into focus. This psalm could be sung with an air of arrogance (think of Jeremiah’s people) or with humble gratitude. The difference lies in the attitude of the singer in relationship to God. We know this from our own experience, do we not? The danger of taking God and God’s gifts for granted  . . . The arrogance of entitlement . . . always wanting — expecting — more. Perhaps it is for this reason that James reminds us that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

“If the Lord wishes . . .” (James 4:15). Here, then, is the heart of humility: Submission of our desires, plans, and very selves to the will and grace of God. All else is foolish arrogance. What, then, might God’s word be saying to you this day? I know I am challenged by this word. Are you? May we, each one, humble ourselves before the Lord. And may we thereby learn and practice wisdom. Today. Amen.

“You do not know what will happen tomorrow!
Your life is like a mist. You can see it for a short time, but then it goes away.
So you should say,
‘If the Lord wants, we will live and do this or that.’”
— James 4:14,15

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