Daniel 11:36-12:13; 1 John 4:1-21; Psalm 123:1-4; Proverbs 29:2-4
The Futility of Self-Importance
It is likely that all of us have met, at one time or another, a person who tried to impress us, perhaps with pompous manner, or with fine clothing, or with vast wealth, or with esoteric knowledge, or with a palatial home. The opening words of today’s Scripture from the Book of Daniel made me think of that sort of person. “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods” (Daniel 11:36).
We do not need to be made to feel inferior according to the concluding words of Daniel 11:45. The lofty, self-important one will “come to his end, and no one will help him.”
Words with a similar ring from the Canticle of Mary, the Magnificat, immediately come to mind: “He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek” (Book of Common Prayer, Evening Prayer, Rite One).
Clearly humility and simplicity are much to be desired. The reading from Proverbs also reminds us that righteousness, justice, and a love of wisdom pave the path of the Heavenly Way. How much richer our lives would be if we could interrupt our quest for worldly possessions and self-importance and follow the messages in today’s Scripture!
Randall B. Krum
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
Lake Mary, FL