It's the only man-made thing on earth that can be seen from outer space. It's the longest structure ever built entirely by hand, winding for nearly four thousand miles. It's the Great Wall of China.
The Great Wall of China was started about four hundred years before Jesus was born, and it continued to be built off and on for about two thousand years. Although it has collapsed in places, it stretches from the east coast of China all the way into the north-central part of the country. The Chinese people built it to keep other people from attacking and invading their country. To this day, the Great Wall is a great source of pride among the Chinese. Tourists come to see it. Historians study it. And scientists use it to study earthquakes.
But some historians believe the Great Wall (the pride of China) kind of backfired. It may have protected China from some attacks, but it (and the attitudes it symbolized) also isolated the nation from many good things. For centuries, much of the progress and discoveries that benefited people in other parts of the world never reached China. A great nation became a backward nation, partly because the Great Wall kept progress from flowing into China.
That's sort of a picture of what pride does. Some people act prideful because they think it protects them or makes them look better than others around them. But usually what happens is that prideful people obstruct the flow of God's blessings to them. They make it harder for God (and others) to help them and bless them.
On the other hand, humility opens windows of blessing. Humility makes it easier for God to speak to you, help you, and bless you. Humility makes it easier for other people to like you and want to be around you. Pride builds a wall that keeps many good things out of your life; humility opens a window that brings many good things into your life.
REFLECT: In today's Bible reading, what are the four things God told his people to do if they wanted him to forgive them and heal their land? Do you think God blesses humble people more than proud people? Why or why not? How can you make it easier for God to help you and bless you today?
PRAY: "God, you've already given me so many blessings and so many things to be thankful for, like .
Please help me to keep the windows of help and blessing open by being humble instead of proud."