Speak to him and say: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, you great monster lying among your streams. You say, ‘The Nile belongs to me; I made it for myself.’” Ezekiel 29:3
A few verses later we read that Egypt will become a desolate wasteland because they said, “The Nile is mine; I made it” (verse 9). Such arrogance to claim to have made the Nile!
Yet, do we sometimes claim God’s blessings as something we have achieved ourselves?
When Moses was writing his final instructions to the Israelites he said, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).
While we may not claim to have made a great river, we don’t always acknowledge that God gives us the ability, the skill, and the talent to produce wealth. God also gives us the opportunity. Where we’re born geographically, into what sort of society, and the values of our parents, all have a bearing on the opportunities we will have in our lives. Yet none of these do we choose for ourselves.
We may have been born into a social system that didn’t encourage us to improve our situation in life and even disapproved of aspirations. Or we had parents who were unwilling or unable to provide us with educational opportunities. Or been born into a poor community.
If you are like me and are blessed to live in a country where there’re few impediments and great encouragements, we would do well to remember these opportunities come from God.