Summary: “Do not put yourself forward in the king's presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble” Pr. 25:6-7.
Theme: Let the Lord exalt you
Text: Pr. 25:6-7; Heb. 13:1-8; Lk. 14:1-14
The first sin in the history of the universe was the result of pride. Pride believes in doing things one’s own way and it was pride that made Satan declare “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High”. (Isaiah 14:14) Pride gives a person a wrong view of himself and a wrong view of God. Pride is all pervasive in the world today. It is pride in their children that prevents parents from acknowledging their wrong doings. It is an accepted fact that parents are the last to know and accept that their children are on drugs. It is pride that prevents a man from asking someone else for directions even when he is lost. It is pride that makes one believe that success depends on his works and not on God. It is also pride that makes us change the meaning of the word of God in such a way that it leads to destruction for “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death”. (Pro. 14:12; 16:25) “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble”. (James 54:6) This is because a humble person understands he is dependent on God and cannot do anything on his own. He understands that just as he is dependent on air to breathe, so he is dependent on God to live. Humility pleases God and His response is exaltation. Humble yourself and let the Lord exalt you.
The Lord’s exaltation is the result of a humble attitude for the Lord chooses to exalt those who are humble. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you”. (1 Peter 5:6) A humble attitude is demonstrated in a dependence on the Lord. “He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way”. (Psalm 25:9) The Lord teaches the humble His way so that they “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). , “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17). A humble attitude manifests itself in serving. A servant attitude was one of the main things Jesus taught His disciples and it is no wonder that one of His last acts before His crucifixion was the washing of the feet of His disciples.
“Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall”. (Pro. 16:18) In our third Scripture reading Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath and then tells a parable about two people invited to a dinner. Both these events illustrate the difference between a proud person and a humble person. Healing on the Sabbath was condemned by the Pharisees because of the way they interpreted the Law. Their pride led to a wrong interpretation of the Sabbath as the day of rest that prevented them from doing the will of God whereas Jesus chose to obey God’s will to heal the sick to give him rest. At the dinner, the proud person, desiring to show off, looks around and chooses a place reserved for the honoured guests. He had a wrong view of himself, of others and of God. He saw himself as the one who deserved to be noticed and honoured. The humble person because of a biblical view of himself, of others and of God chose a place reserved for the ordinary guest. The Pharisees behaved the way they did because of pride but many of us here today still behave the same way. The Pharisees were concerned about being noticed and honoured but not about a fellow human being who needed healing. They preferred to leave him in his suffering rather than do what God would have done. Are we more concerned about pleasing ourselves and our fellow human beings rather than pleasing God? Let us learn to be humble and dependent on our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
God desires to exalt us by bringing us from where we are to where He is. He has made all the necessary provisions and through His Word reveals our present sinful condition and our need for a Saviour for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). We need a Saviour because we are incapable of paying the price ourselves because of our sinful nature. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin with His blood to give us eternal life “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Rom 6:23. When Jesus cried out on the cross “It is finished”, the price had been paid in full. Our sins were forgiven, past, present and future and we were made righteous. “For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous”. (Rom. 5:19) The resurrection of Christ and His ascension to heaven is proof of our justification.