Learning to Accept Praise

In today’s Old Testament reading, from Isaiah 7, the Lord speaks directly to Ahaz.

The reason you have no idea who Ahaz is, is primarily because he had no idea how to accept God’s blessings…thus, he’s been mostly forgotten.

Watch what happens, vs. 10-14;

The LORD spoke to Ahaz:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary men,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.

As beings made in the likeness and image of God, we too must learn how–not just to give praise–but to receive it.

When my oldest son was around 15, he performed at a Church recital in Lenox.

His piano skills so moved one of the women in attendance, she asked for his autograph.

To my dismay…he refused to give it.

I took him aside later and explained that true humility accepts praise, and does not insult others who want to honor them with that kind of request.

In his youthful misinterpretation of what was happening, he simply didn’t “believe,” like Ahaz, he was among a group of elite performers worthy of such privilege.

Today he is far wiser than I and will gladly give autographs when asked.

Thank God.

I still have yet to be asked…no surprise there.

And–more¬†importantly–God’s plan for a Virgin to have a Son we call Emmanuel was not thwarted by the false humility of Ahaz.

It’s important to ever fear the “big head” syndrome, while balancing that with grace and poise when praise comes your way.

The easiest answer to give, whenever we’re surprised with a complement, is a common two-word response we use every day–“Thank you.”

Lord, “thank you” for our salvation…Emmanuel…God with us.

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