Thoughts on life and Scripture...

Friday, March 18, 2016

Larry the Lamp and A Dark Lesson

 Larry was a typical lamp standing on a small table in the living room. He had a 60 W head with a light brown shade on top. Every day it was the same old, same old. In the afternoon or evening his owners turned his light on until late in the night. Then his light was turned off. His was a typical life for a lamp. The other lamps and lights in the room lived the adventure of lights every day as well. But Larry was a proud lamp. He boasted to the other lamps that he didn't need any owner to turn his light on. No, Larry was fed up with this boring life. Larry had a light bulb moment, he was going to make a break for it. Larry was going to make it on his own. Maybe by his power, he would be the limelight at some famous theater performance. Or maybe he would light up the palace of royalty. All the other lamps laughed at the silly ambitions of Larry, but deep down they wanted to do the same. So one day, when all the owners were away, Larry said goodbye to the other lamps and started to get ready to leave. Larry inched close to the edge of the table. Then he leaped over the edge. The other lamps watched in horror as Larry's light went out and he fell to the ground; lightless. Larry's cord had come out of the outlet. The other lamps reflected on this tragic fall in the darkness until one of the owners came over to help Larry. He was placed on the table again and his cord was plugged in. Then his light shone around the room again. Larry was now a humbled lamp. His great ideas of achieving fame and glory were gone. He realized he couldn't shine in the spotlight because he was plugged into the electrical outlet.

While this story seems a little childish, it contains the same truth as a passage in Isaiah. In Isaiah 10:15 we read God saying, "Shall the axe boast over him who hews it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it? As if  a rod should wield him who lifts it, or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood."  What is God talking about? Well, in verse 5 God calls Assyria his rod and his staff. The Lord had raised up the Assyrians to be a great and powerful nation. He gave them victories and wealth. He was going to use this wicked nation to punish His people Israel for their wickedness. But all this success, power, and wealth produced pride in Assyria, and especially in the king. The king of Assyria wanted to conquer and destroy all the nations. He believed that his success was due to his power, wisdom, and understanding. No one could stand before the great king of Assyria. No god could prevent the king from his ambitions. Or so he thought. In the verse I quoted, God rebukes the king of Assyria for his arrogance. God remind him that he is only a tool in God's hand and a tool is completely dependent on someone for it ability to do it's job. God will show this proud king that he is but a tool when He shall destroy his army. This occurred when an angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers who were besieging Jerusalem. Later this king was murdered as well. It seems he didn't learn from God's punishment.

 But have we learned this lesson? Do we realize that we are 100% dependent on God. He gives us our every breath and every heartbeat. All our talents and abilities come from Him. All spiritual gifts are given by our Lord. God has placed us where we are and given us what we have. The reason we are alive right now is because He wills it to be so. There is no room in the Christian's life for pride or boasting. Do we have wealth or success? It is only because God gave us that. Are we proud of our gifts or abilities? Shame on us, for that too comes from God. When you see godliness and fruitfulness in your life, are you tempted to be proud of your attainments? You have no reason to. Jesus said, "Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5. Ah! but you might say, "I have worked hard. I have been disciplined in the means of grace. Others are immature in the faith due to their own sloth and indifference." But consider Paul's words, "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is within me." 1 Corinthians 15:10.  Without God, we are nothing and can do nothing.

So we should live in dependence on God every moment of our lives. We do need Him every hour. We need to give thanks in all things and for all things He gives us. We should be ashamed of our pride and boastfulness and learn to say, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." 2 Corinthians 10:17.


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