June 13: us and them

It is often easier to look at others than it is to look at ourselves. As I read the Old Testament readings for today, it was easy for me to see the problems with Jereboam and Rehoboam. They put their interests before God’s interests and the consequences were consistently disasterous. But when in 2 Chronicles 12:6, King Rehoboam and the leaders “humbled themselves” before God, they experienced “deliverance.” Come on, people, just humble yourselves before God! Could they not see their problem and take steps to address it? It is so easy for us to identify the problem and the solution. And maybe that’s the lesson of scripture, it is easy.

Or is it? In Philippians 3:17, Paul writes, “Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.” Suddenly, I hear a message from scripture that the focus has shifted from “them” to “us”. Paul is bold enough to offer himself to others as an example. He once lived for himself (verse 4 – “put confidence in the flesh”), but no longer. He humbled himself, imitating Christ’s humility (see chapter 2), and now he offers himself as an example and calls us to do the same.

Okay, here’s the challenge: if it is so easy to see the problem and the solution when I look at others,then it is time for bold self-examination and humility. We hardly need to say, “look at me”, because others already are. “Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” (vs 16)

Today’s readings: 1 Kings 13-14; 2 Chronciles 12; Philippians 3

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