Sunday, February 28, 2010

Are You The Foolish Prince?

Ezekiel 28:1-8 The word of the LORD came again to me, saying, “Son of man, say to the leader of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, because your heart is lifted up and you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods. In the heart of the seas’; yet you are a man and not God, although you make your heart like the heart of God— Behold, you are wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that is a match for you. “By your wisdom and understanding you have acquired riches for yourself, and have acquired gold and silver for your treasuries. “By your great wisdom, by your trade, you have increased your riches and your heart is lifted up because of your riches— therefore thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Because you have made your heart like the heart of God, therefore, behold, I will bring strangers upon you; the most ruthless of the nations, and they will draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, and defile your splendor. ‘They will bring you down to the pit, and you will die the death of those who are slain in the heart of the seas.

There will always be obvious comparisons to the Babylon-like empires that preceded America … since America is in many ways clearly Babylon or the Roman empire of our day, and the nature of man is the same now as it was in ancient times. From those comparisons we can learn much, but please do not misunderstand, although I am a conservative politically, I am very concerned about America’s leadership regardless of the party in power. We must pray that God will rise up a leader worthy of the position that God has given America in the world. At present, I have no idea who that person might be. Any Suggestions?

Ethbaal or Ithobal was the Prince of Tyre. He had all of the qualities that if here today, would likely lead most of us to conclude that he would be the ideal presidential candidate. As noted previously, Tyre had become the trading partner of the world. Under Prince Ithobal’s leadership Tyre ruled the seas and was able to stand when other mighty nations such as Israel fell. Much of his success was a result of his management and leadership skills and his overall wisdom. But the natural barrier provided by the sea and the fact that Tyre had a superior navy were surely more important than his personal knowledge and wisdom. Obviously, strengths lacking in one's adversary have little to do with his personal strength but men's pride will quite often lead them as leaders to take these type of things personally. One of our greatest dangers is to take our success personally rather than to give the glory to the all knowing and all powerful God, where it belongs. For example, America's control of the atomic bomb made us no wiser than the Japanese or Hitler, but it gave us enormous power. Can you imagine what would have happened if Truman had taken that power personally and attributed it to himself ... as Hitler would have most likely done? Certainly men can meet and plan and prepare and build their defenses, but in the end only the all knowing and all powerful God and those standing with Him will stand victorious. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Romans 8:30-31

Our human wisdom is foolishness before God. Proverbs 21:30-31 "There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the LORD." ... "The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the LORD." Proverbs 21:31 And this is the problem for this most successful prince. He took his success personally. Who might we point to in today’s world that faces this same danger? This prince was so proud that he actually said of himself ”because your heart is lifted up and you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods.” He actually called for his people worship him. I know this sounds absurd, but there are many in America who might look upon our current president reverentially and there are other world and spiritual leaders who also might receive such false adulation, but for a leader to see himself as god is serious delusion. But wait a minute, what about you? You might never have thought about it but each of us is in danger of falling into this same trap. All we need is a measure of success and we start to take it personally. We don’t need to be Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, or Barach Obama, to be vulnerable here. It might be your ability to talk, or to write or sing or play the piano or your computer skills, or sports prowess, or knowledge or wisdom in this, that, or the other thing. All are gifts of God, in which we increase our ability through practice and training, and then before you know it, friends and associates heap praise on us and pretty soon we are taking it personally ... rather than thanking the Lord for his blessings. We might not get the point where we think we are God, but it is a smooth transition to the point where we stand on the throne of our life ... saying, "look at me, aren't I wonderful?"

Well, we all know the result. “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18 … and Jesus said, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Lk. 16:14 ... So why do we keep falling into this trap? Because, we haven’t “renewed our mind” and we are not “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” We will never be there completely until we walk with Christ in heaven but we can identify the areas where we are weak and train our heart and mind to bring the counteracting scripture up against the attacks of our enemy who would use pride of life to bring us down.

Are you the foolish Prince?
Are you the Prince of you own private kingdom of Tyre?

We can live victoriously with Christ moment by moment … day by day.

Identify areas where you are vulnerable
Memorize scripture that help overcome prideful ways
Pray for the Lords protection and guidance

Proverbs 16: 2-4 All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. The Lord works out everything for his own ends—even the wicked for a day of disaster.
God Bless You My Friend, Bob

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