“Better To Be Humble Than Nimble” – One Year Bible Reading – November 20

Old Testament: Ezekiel 40:28 – 41: 26

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Ezekiel 40:28-41:26   Measuring Up

Chapter 40:28-49  An angel (most likely, cf. v. 3) continues to measure the Temple.

Chapter 41   A description of the altar in the Holy Of Holies.  Notice that there is no veil between the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place as in the old temples.  It was torn after Christ died (Matt. 27:51) to indicate that we have access to the presence of God in this dispensation of the church.  In the Millennial Temple it simply does not exist.

New Testament: James 4:1-17

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James 4:1-17  Better To Be Humble Than Nimble

James explains to us the reason for quarrels between people.  It is because we don’t get what we want (v. 1).  People can even commit murder because they can’t get what they want (v. 2).  James says that we can have what we want if we ask God (v. 2b).  Of course, we have to ask according to God’s will (cf. 1 John 5:14-15).  We can not ask for something that is purely worldly (vv. 3-5).  To be friends with the world is to be an enemy of God’s (v. 4, cf. Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 6:24).  God is jealous for us (v. 5).  He longs for a relationship with us which can only come when we humble ourselves to serve Him (vv. 5-6, the quote is from Prov. 3:34).

Our humility protects us when we find ourselves in the midst of spiritual warfare.  Pride is the main characteristic of Satan and he tempts us with pride.  To oppose him, we must humble ourselves by submitting to God and resisting Satan.  The devil, then, has to abscond (v. 7).

If we draw closer to God, He will come closer to us (v. 8a).  Again, James does not suggest, rather he commands us to clean ourselves up if we want to draw closer to God (v. 8b).  He recommends we get serious with God (v. 9) and promises that God will exalt us if we do (v. 10b, cf. Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 5:3-5).  He emphasizes that humility is the key to a good relationship with God (v. 10a).

We are not to be overly-critical of our brothers and sisters or we will be similarly criticized (cf. Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 7:1-2).  By this, James does not mean that we shouldn’t be discerning (cf. 1 Thess. 5:21).  In fact, in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus told us not to judge, just five verses later, we are told not to give dogs what is holy or throw pearls before swine.  How could we know who the dogs or swine are if we are not discerning?  James is saying that if we want to be the law for others, then God will be the Law and Judge of us (v. 12)!

Finally in this chapter, James warns against being presumptuous, thinking like we are going to live forever (v. 13).  He says that we don’t know when we’ll be recalled.  He compares our lives to a vapor that is here and then evaporates (v. 14).  We should try to live according to God’s will and check out everything we do with Him (v. 15).  It is arrogant to think we are the captain of our own lives (v. 16).

It is a sin, actually, to know what God’s will is and then not do it (v. 17).

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