This morning I saw the effects of “the pride of Moab” played out in the elite of Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 48 records the words of the LORD as they concern the people of Moab. Not very good words. Words of judgment. Words of impending doom. How come?
Moab shall be destroyed and be no longer a people, because he magnified himself against the LORD.
(Jeremiah 48:42 ESV)
Moab magnified himself against the LORD. He exalted himself rather than God. He billed himself as great at the expense of the great God of heaven. Any question as to what such “magnification” looked like is removed as God details the indictment, identifying it as “the pride of Moab.” “He is very proud,” says the LORD, calling out his loftiness, arrogance, haughtiness of heart, and insolence which showed itself both in Moab’s fake boasting and fake deeds (48:29-30). And when it comes to being magnified, when it comes to receiving the glory, the glory of man and the glory of God cannot coexist. One is set against the other. Like those old westerns, when it comes to the glory of man and the glory of God, “this town ain’t big enough for the two of us!” And there’s gonna be a showdown.
When it comes to His glory, God don’t share!
True of ancient Moab? True of New Testament Israel.
“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” ~ Jesus
(John 5:44 ESV)
It’s only the fifth chapter of John’s twenty-one chapter gospel and already the Jews, the religious elite of Jesus’ day, were seeking to kill Him. Not just because they thought He was breaking the Sabbath by healing lifelong invalids on the seventh day of the week (5:1-17), but because “He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (5:18).
That’s because He was equal with God! He was the Word. The Word that was with God and the Word that was God (John 1:1). Come as the manifest glory of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 ESV)
But there was no room for any more glory among the Jews. They were consumed with their own glory. Their great occupation was to receive glory from one another . . . heaven need not apply. They had jumped on the Moab-mania bandwagon. Self-exalting, self-promoting, and self-sufficient people who only had eyes for themselves. Whose mirror was so occupied with their own light that there was no room for the Light of the world.
They had magnified themselves against the LORD. No room to believe in another because they so believed in themselves.
And as I chew on the pride of Moab and the self-glorification of the Jews, I’m reminded that it’s not an issue of how big “the town” is. Not a matter of whether or not there’s room in the mirror for both me and my God. But that my God is a God who will not give His glory to another (Isa. 48:11).
It’s not about sharing the spotlight, it’s about whose spotlight it is. My glory and God’s glory cannot coexist. My pride finds no place in His presence. They don’t get along. One is set against the other.
It’s not like I can believe in Jesus while still believing in me. When I’m seeking my glory, it will impact my faith. The Jews could not believe or receive the glory of God before them because they were so concerned about their own glory and exaltation. Similarly, if I’m focused on establishing how I great I think I am, it’s going to impact knowing how great my Father truly is.
Not enough room in the mirror for both He and me.
He must increase, I must decrease (John 3:30).
Because of His grace . . . and for His glory alone.