9 Minute Read + Scripture readings
Today’s Bible Reading:
Today’s Bible Verse(s):
Psalm 123:3–4 (CSB): “Show us favor, Lord, show us favor, for we’ve had more than enough contempt. We’ve had more than enough scorn from the arrogant and contempt from the proud.”
Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):
There is no shortage of arrogant people in the world. There are plenty of folks who think only of themselves and have little or no regard for others in general, or certain others in particular.
In the two verses that I have chosen from our text today, we see the problem and the solution.
First, the problem. Notice what the Psalmist was experiencing. He had “scorn from the arrogant and contempt from the proud.” The Psalmist had people who were looking down their noses at him and saying all sorts of hurtful things about him that simply were not true, or maybe they were true but they were being used to beat the Psalmist down.
I’ve seen a boatload of so-called Christians do the same thing. They look down their self-righteous noses at people that, in their eyes, are “less than.” Those people are called Pharisees. And if we are the object of such disdain and return the attitude, people can get hurt.
One such time comes to mind and its a memory that still haunts me. Quite a few years ago, the husband of a church member became furious at me. He was a druggy and was putting his wife and daughters in harm’s way. His wife had come to me, seeking biblical counsel. I provided counsel that affirmed her desire to remove herself and her children from a dangerous man and a dangerous situation.
He became furious and called for a meeting with me, the Personnel Committee Chairman, a couple of Deacons, and his Sunday School teacher (even though he hadn’t been to church in years). The husband started the meeting in such a way as to make it clear that he arrogantly refused to acknowledge his own sin and how he had put his family in harm’s way. He was loud, animated, and he only desired to impugn my character as the pastor in front of the others in the meeting.
I simply wouldn’t allow a bully to come into my office and intimidate the pastor and other leaders in that church. So, the volume of the meeting went up a notch and I clearly and firmly pointed out where he needed to repent if there was any chance of getting his family back. I encouraged him to see that when he was pointing a finger at me, he was pointing three back at himself.
Unfortunately, one of the men in that meeting was elderly. He went home after the meeting and had a stroke that night. He was in a nursing home for the next year before he passed away. I have always wondered if that meeting caused his stroke. It breaks my heart to think that something I participated in, thinking I was doing the right thing, led to his early death.
So, whenever someone treats me with contempt and disdain, I am motivated not to return the attitude. I don’t always succeed. But, when I am tempted to get an arrogant spirit and begin a mud-fest, my mind takes me back to that incident so many years ago. I will typically take the hits and not hit back … because I can’t forget how matching an arrogant man’s attitude might have hurt someone I dearly loved and respected.
So, what is to be done? Do you and I simply become doormats when confronted with someone who arrogantly points out our flaws and fails to acknowledge their own? Do we simply sit back and take the “scorn from the arrogant and contempt from the proud?”
No. At least the Psalmist didn’t see it this way.
What did the Psalmist do?
He cried out to the Lord, that’s what He did. Maybe he attempted to stand up for himself or the truth, but the arrogant folks simply continued to beat him down with their words. In other words, they were being a bully.
When it was no longer appropriate for the Psalmist to try to remedy the problem by himself, he offered up prayers to Heaven.
Psalm 123:3–4 (CSB): “Show us favor, Lord, show us favor…”
The Psalmist recognize that the Lord saw the injustice. He not only heard the words and saw the actions, He also observed the motives of the heart. And the Lord is such a good judge that He simply cannot overlook the offense.
This is what Paul addressed in Romans 12. I wrote about it a few days ago in an article that I titled: “A Mindset that Makes Forgiving Easier.” I’ll end with simply quoting the Scripture I referenced in that post.
Romans 12:17–21 (CSB): “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written, Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord. But If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.”
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Lord Jesus, I know that Your Word says that You oppose the proud but give grace to the humble. Lord, I struggle with pride like everyone else. As much as I don’t want it to be true, my world often revolves around me. Help me, Lord, to evidence the attribute of humility that you demonstrated in Philippians 2. And please help me never to evidence pride and then look down on others with scorn and contempt. Amen.