When we read about “divine beings” we, understandably, think about angels. What, however, makes a divine being…divine? Apart from God, there is no divine being that isn’t of God. Which becomes a little daunting theologically when we recognize we have the Imago Dei in us.
To be clear, we are not gods (except, perhaps in our deluded fallen minds). We a created beings with the spark of divinity inside of us. It may be a fine line to some. It is a line as large as Creation itself to others. Yet, part of the divine spark responds to God, and God completes us. So, it’s not wrong (totally) to think in terms of the divine beings in Psalm 29:1. Just like those divine beings, we are called and made to glorify God.
This seems contrary, in some ways, to the initial verses of Isaiah. Humanity will be brought low. Yet, it is often the arrogance of humanity that results in wars, animosity, and the general inability of getting along. It is also that particular thing, that when brought low, places humanity in the position of accepting God. One cannot truly accept God through arrogance.
Even as we read further, the arrogance continues with demanding that God hurry up and accomplish God’s work. This all merely so humanity can understand it. Perhaps arrogance is the wrong word. Self-absorbed is probably closer, while arrogance remains part of it.
There there is a lot of doom.
The last of today’s verses in Isaiah though starts with purifying. If you catch the wording, “tongues of fire”, might it remind you of Pentecost when tongues of fire appeared? In this case, the tongues of fire are more of purification rather than empowerment. But that God and the “holy one” are tied into the same verse as “tongues of fire” really do seem to be somehow tied to Pentecost. Then again, that very well be reading too much into it (but it’s fun).
And, while it doesn’t seem to be related when we understand the pride and arrogance of humanity as observed in Isaiah, Jesus‘ words to his disciples (and thus to us) make more sense. The fallen nature of humanity has striven against God. For far too many, it evolved into hate. To be, once again, more along the lines of a divine being rather than fallen creation would indeed cause striving fallen humanity to hate and lash out at those who have been touched by God in such a way.
If we take all of today’s Scriptures into the picture, it makes perfect sense why Jesus warns the disciples that no matter how much they now have (or will have after Pentecost), they are still not greater than God. A good warning, as not too long after Pentecost, Peter performed his first miracle. The Companion (Comforter, Counselor) would come, and they would be tempted to think more of themselves, and even be called gods (Paul and Barnabas).
- When has your pride hampered your relationships with others?
- When has your pride hampered your relationship with God?
Lord, guard our hearts against the pride of the world. Let our pride be that you save us and that you work through us recognizing that it is for you and for ourselves that we move about the world. Amen.