“Israel is a luxuriant vine
that yields its fruit.
The more his fruit increased,
the more altars he built;
as his country improved,
he improved his pillars.
Their heart is false;
now they must bear their guilt.
The Lord will break down their altars
and destroy their pillars.
For now they will say:
‘We have no king,
for we do not fear the Lord;
and a king—what could he do for us?’
They utter mere words;
with empty oaths they make covenants;
so judgment springs up like poisonous weeds
in the furrows of the field…
Sow for yourselves righteousness;
reap steadfast love;
break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the Lord,
that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
You have plowed iniquity;
you have reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your own way.” Hosea 10:1-4,12-13
“Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and rules and statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you… out of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness,.. who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna… to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth… And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.” Deuteronomy 8:11-19
From early on, the Lord warned Israel of the dangers of amassing fruit and wealth, filling lusty eyes with treasure until they sparkle, and of corrupting affections by claiming them their own. They’d relinquished right thinking and distort the reality of proper authority and who gives every perfect gift. Succumbing to greed and idolatry ultimately brings judgment. (Romans 1:21-25; James 1:17)
We work hard to achieve, build, or overcome, then claim success and victory as our own. We profess to know God, and even identify our bounty as ‘blessing,’ yet we deny His ownership of and favor on our works. In fact, the Lord mercifully saves us unto these works. Our intent should always be to bring Him the glory He deserves by putting into practice His bestowed gifts. (Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 1:16; 3:3-8,14)
What resources or successes am I calling mine? Where am I denying God’s desire or ability to bless? What if I checked my motive against the truth that ‘His is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is His? Both riches and honor come from Him, in His hand are power and might and… to make great and to give strength?’ (1 Chronicles 29:11-13)
Father, may every effort be by Your strength, every achievement for Your honor, and every success unto Your glory alone. (Isaiah 42:8)