BOASTING about OURSELVES will NOT produce a GOOD OUTCOME
August 23 Bible Reading: Jeremiah Chapters 49-52
"Why do you boast in the valleys, your flowing valley, O backsliding daughter? Who trusted in her treasures, saying, 'Who will come against me?' Behold, I will bring fear upon you," says the Lord God of hosts, "From all those who are around you; you shall be driven out, everyone headlong, and no one will gather those who wander off." (Jer. 49:4-5)
The prophetical words of the prophet Jeremiah were against the Ammonites, who were descended from Lot (see Gen. 19:30–38), and were sworn enemies of the people of Israel. Just as a fulfillment of this prophecy, Ammon ceased to be an independent state when it was defeated by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in that later years, and subsequently its land was overrun by Arab invaders after which they disappeared into oblivion.
The Ammonites had taken possession of the territory of Reuben and Gad after these tribes had gone into captivity. However, the major problem of the Ammonites was pride and self-sufficiency. She trusted in her wealth, but God’s judgment would shatter her complacency. The Ammonites felt secure in resisting Jehovah God, and He bore with them in His longsuffering. When they exhausted their period of grace, all God could do was judge them, and they would be punished for their pride, even though not totally exterminated. The Ammonites are promised restoration after destruction as God was merciful to them to the very end.
We should note that God made a similar observation about two other nations about their pride and boasting that include the Moabites: "We have heard the pride of Moab (he is exceedingly proud), of his loftiness and arrogance and pride and of the haughtiness of his heart" (48:29), and the Edomites: "The pride of your heart, O you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, who hold the height of the hill! Though you make your nest as high as the eagle, I will bring you down from there," says the Lord (49:16).
The lesson to be learned from this is that God hates pride, and boasting about ourselves will not produce a good outcome in the end. The Bible has a lot to say on the subject of pride and boasting, and in particular, has provided us with three real-life examples of individuals who boasted out of their pride, but did not have good outcomes:
- Lucifer: He was an anointed guardian cherub on the holy mountain of God (Ezek. 28:14) who was blameless (v. 15) until he became proud because of his beauty (28:17). This is what he boasted: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High” (Isa. 14:13-14). The outcome was that he was cast out of heaven forever, and could never regain his former position and glory.
- King Nebuchadnezzar: He was the king of Babylon, and his pride began in contentment and prosperity. It caused him to take credit for everything he'd achieved, and one day looking at the great city he had built, this is what he declared: "Is not this great Babylon that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?" (Dan. 4:30) The moment he uttered this statement, that God punished him by dehumanizing him to the level of an ox, and he behaved like one for seven years until was humbled and healed of his pride.
- King Herod: After the death of Julius Caesar, Herod was appointed the ‘king of the Jews’ in Judea. This is how the Bible describes his pride and eventual death as a result of it: “On a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’ Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died" (Acts 12:21-23).