Listen and pay attention! Do not be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God before it is too late. Acknowledge him before he brings darkness upon you, causing you to stumble and fall on the darkening mountains. For then, when you look for light, you will find only terrible darkness and gloom.
And if you still refuse to listen, I will weep alone because of your pride. My eyes will overflow with tears, because the Lord’s flock will be led away into exile.
Say to the king and his mother, “Come down from your thrones and sit in the dust, for your glorious crowns will soon be snatched from your heads.” . . .
What will you say when the Lord takes the allies you have cultivated and appoints them as your rulers? Pangs of anguish will grip you, like those of a woman in labor! You may ask yourself, “Why is all this happening to me?” It is because of your many sins! That is why you have been stripped and raped by invading armies. . . . Can an Ethiopian change the color of his skin? Can a leopard take away its spots? Neither can you start doing good, for you have always done evil.
(Jeremiah 13:15-18, 21-23)
The king in Jeremiah 13:18 was Jehoiachin, and the queen mother was Nehushta. The king’s father, Jehoiakim, had surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar but later rebelled. During Jehoiachin’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar’s armies besieged Jerusalem, and both Jehoiachin and Nehushta surrendered. Jehoiachin was sent to Babylon and imprisoned (2 Kings 24:1-12).
Not even the threat of captivity could move the people to repent. The people had become so accustomed to doing evil that they had lost their ability to change. Likewise, our attitudes and patterns for living can become so set that we will lose all desire to change and will no longer fear the consequences.
When is pride harmful? When it causes us to (1) look down on others; (2) be selfish with our resources; (3) force our solutions on others’ problems; (4) think God is blessing us because of our own merits; or (5) be content with our plans rather than seeking God’s plans.
God never rejects those who turn to him in humility. We must never put off until tomorrow those changes God wants us to make now. What changes do you sense God whispering to you about?