Meditating on these verses from Isaiah makes me feel like the guilty perpetrator, squirming in the witness stand as the skillful prosecutor delivers a devastating barrage of accusations.
The prosecuting prophet in today’s passage doesn’t hold back. Using the prominent biblical metaphor of the heart as the center of one’s thinking, feelings, motivations, and behavior, his indictment of the accused beats like the rhythmic pounding of one’s heart under extreme stress. “You said in your heart ‘I will… I will… I will…’” (vv. 13-14). Five times this beat reverberates.
This sustained assault on my defenses is a brutally honest
indictment of my pride of self-reliance, a sin that effectively displaces God from God’s rightful place as a trustworthy presence in my life. How often has my relationship with God been based on convenience more than constance, my back-up plan rather than my go-to plan? The dominant pronoun in my life has been “I,” rather than “Thou” for God and “you” for others. Too often my various forms of I will, both blatant and subtle, betray how thinly I trust in God’s faithfulness.
To be brought down (v. 15) from the perch of arrogant pride or vain self-sufficiency is jolting. It can be deeply humiliating. At the same time, in God’s goodness and grace, such an experience can be profoundly humbling. And humility can be an entrance to the path of transformation.
At an event I attended years ago, Parker Palmer shared one of his dad’s humorous sayings: “Today’s peacock is tomorrow’s feather duster.” How might this practical life lesson point you to deeper spiritual truth today?
Show me, O God, my pride and arrogance. Forgive my idolatrous self-reliance that diminishes the unmerited gift of your grace through Jesus Christ. Amen.