The two lessons of today are warning us about pride and self-justification.
“To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” (Pro. 8:13).
No amount of good works, church attendance, tithes, community service, loving our neighbor or anything else we do are sufficient to take away our sin and enable us to stand before a holy God on our own.
“If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared” (Ps. 130:3-4)
1st Lesson (2 Kings 20:12-19)
The son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick (v12).
Hezekiah showed them his treasures and armour, and other proofs of his wealth and power (v13).
The sins and shortcomings of Hezekiah
- Pride: He foolishly displayed his personal value, status and achievements.
- He failed to give glory to and rely on God.
- Hezekiah missed the opportunity of speaking to the Chaldeans about God who had wrought the miracles which excited their attention.
- He failed to point out to them the meaninglessness and evil of idolatry.
God says I should warn you that anything you show off with pride of yours hearts, to gain applause from men, not giving praise to God, it becomes sin in you, as it did in Hezekiah.
“When pride cometh, then cometh shame; But with the lowly is wisdom” (Pro. 11:2).
Nothing shall be left, says the lord (v16-17). Hezekiah was indeed humbled for the pride of his heart.
CCC Hymn 772: Today is the day ye Celestial Church.
2nd Lesson (Lk. 18:9-14)
Jesus spoke this parable to those who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others” (v9).
- Self-justifying: Believes that his own goodness was so impressive that it could not fail to make him acceptable to God (Rom. 8:33).
- Hypocrisy: He makes a public show of his religiosity, all to be seen by other men, many of whom he despises as being beneath him (vv11-12).
- Notice that his prayer has no elements of confession.
- He does not ask forgiveness for his sins.
- Neither is there any word of praise or thanksgiving to God.
- His prayer is all about him.
- Even the thanks he does offer is designed to exalt himself and place him above others (Rom.10:2-4).
Such a “prayer” is not heard by God.
The Tax Collector (perceived as a sinner and traitor to Israel because of the association with the hated Romans).
- He is overcome by his transgressions and unworthiness before God, beats his breast in sorrow and repentance and appeals to God for mercy (v13).
- His prayer is the very one God is waiting to hear, and his attitude is exactly what God wants from all who come to Him.
Jesus tells us that the tax collector went away justified and made righteous (v14)
- He humbled himself before God
- He confessed that only God’s mercy could save him from his sin.
Hymn 5: Let us sinners repent from sins.
Repentance is a serious event. If we are truly broken-hearted over our sin, we can be assured of God’s boundless love and forgiveness in Christ. That is why God sent Jesus to die on the cross. His death is the only “work” that is able to cleanse us and make us acceptable to God. If you return to God today and trust completely in Him:
- He will forgive your sins (1 John 1:8-9).
- He will turn your reproach into glory and your sorrows in to joy (Is. 60:15)
Come to Jesus
This is the conclusion of the matter, turn back to God today.
- It is by the grace of God that we are saved(Eph.2:5-9).
- The greatest grace of God is the offer of free salvation to the worse sinners (Jn. 3:16-17).
- God demonstrate His love towards us in that while we were still sinners Jesus died for us”. (Rom. 5:8)
There is power in the name of Jesus