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News for Friday, June 27, 2014

Sunday School Lesson — Explore the Bible
June 29: When Pride Turns to Greed
By Shawn Allred
pastor, FBC, Bruceton

Focal Passage: Ezekiel 25:1 – 32:32

Who is the most selfish person you know or have known? Remember Ebenezer Scrooge? He is perhaps the most popular, selfish character to ever be portrayed in literature and on television in recent times. The Scriptures offer us some unique perspectives on pride and greed in the twenty eighth chapter of Ezekiel. What we can learn from God’s Word will help to keep us from allowing greed to take hold of our hearts and lives.

After the Lord had disciplined the nation of Israel, He turned His attention to the nations that were contentious toward His chosen people. One of those was the nation of Tyre. Tyre was a nation situated on an island in the Mediterranean Sea. The king of Tyre, having realized great economic and national success, believed that his rule and his nation were impervious to any who would seek to conquer them. The king, possibly Ittobaal II, felt so strongly about his power and position that he had even proclaimed himself a god (see ch. 28:2). As if proclaiming himself a god was not serious enough, his nation gloated and found satisfaction in the destruction of God’s chosen people and the Promised Land He had given to them. God did not look lightly at this type of behavior toward His chosen. When God chose Abraham to be the father of His chosen nation, he made this promise to him in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Ittobaal II is a perfect example from God’s Word of what selfish pride looks like.

To illustrate the folly of selfish pride, the Lord God instructed Ezekiel to speak to the king of Tyre giving an analogy of Satan and the great cost of his foolish pride. Just like Satan, the king had not given credit where credit was due concerning the blessings of this life. Instead of glorifying God, he set himself up as a god. This sounds so much like our world today. God has created mankind in His image and has blessed us abundantly, yet the created is placed above the Creator. The Lord states this clearly in Romans 1:25 (HCSB), “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen”

The result of selfish pride is it removes God from being the first place in our lives and ultimately leads to a destructive fall. Satan went from being the “seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (v. 11) to being thrown down from heaven in sinful shame and disgrace and becoming an “object of horror” (v. 19). The nation of Tyre and its king went from being a wealthy nation, blessed greatly by bustling trade and economic stability, to a nation that was ultimately conquered by Alexander the Great never to rise again to the highs of its political or economic prosperity.

God’s Word is a wonderful thing in the life of a believer. Through it and the power of the Holy Spirit, we are taught how to live, and how not to live. As Christians we must be on guard for an attitude of prideful greed. Through Ezekiel, God’s Word has given us a portrait of pride and greed by revealing to us the character of the king of Tyre. He was compared to Satan in his character and his heart. The folly of selfish pride is also illustrated. As Christians and as a nation, we should recognize, as the writer of James 1:17 states it, “every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” We must not receive credit for God’s blessings, but rather attribute and give praise to the giver of good gifts.

— Allred is pastor of First Baptist Church, Bruceton.


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