Isaiah 65:4-5
At night they go out among the graves,
worshiping the dead.
They eat the flesh of pigs
and make stews with other forbidden foods.
Yet they say to each other,
‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me!
I am holier than you!’
These people are a stench in my nostrils,
an acrid smell that never goes away.
What stinks to God? People who are living wickedly and still have the audacity to boldly declare themselves more righteous than others. That is the context of Isaiah 65. This group of people was participating in pagan practices and rituals yet still concluding that they were the enlightened ones. Currently, in America at least, most hypocrites don’t worship the dead and ceremoniously feed on the flesh of pigs, but they do come to church and lift up defiled hands in worship. Most today don’t make forbidden stews, but they do still conclude that they are holier than the next person.
It might seem harsh, but when we conclude that only our perspective is valid, we are essentially relaying the same thing as the people in the above verses, that we are holier than everyone else. This mentality makes us believe that only our viewpoint is accurate, that only our viewpoint represents truth, so, therefore, no one else should be listened to but us. But this is exactly what God says is a stench in His nostrils. I think that most don’t think that pride is as bad as it actually is. Sure, it’s not good to proclaim that you are the best, but it’s ok for me to think that I’m the only one who is right. How have we missed this connection? God hates pride, especially religious pride. Please listen and know that I say this to myself as much as I do to you, you are not perfect and everyone else flawed. You are not 100% correct and everyone else just needs to jump on board. Please humble yourself and recognize your fallen and fallible condition. In this humility, you will be freed to serve, to give advice, to live with joy. It’s amazing what pride robs you of and it is equally as amazing what humility gives to you! Let’s be people, especially today with knowledge so rampant and gentleness so lacking, who are humble and kind. Let us know that we are not better than anyone else, we are simply sinners saved by grace.