In 1863, Abraham Lincoln called for a day of humility, fasting, and prayer. In his introduction, he said, “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have vainly imagined that we produced all these blessings by our superior wisdom and virtue. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.” Lincoln knew the danger of pride; that was also a fatal problem for ancient Israel. We read in Isaiah (Chapters 5 and 6) that pride led them to reject and even mock God. Their arrogance caused God to charge that their hearts were so hard that they would “not see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts and turn to him for healing.’ The prophet asked God, “Lord, how long will this hardness go on?” The Lord replied, “Until their towns are empty, their houses are deserted, and the whole country is a wasteland.” If we are not careful, pride of race, pride of grace, and pride of face, will distort our view of reality. When that happens, we can lose the favor and blessing of God.
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