Humble ourselves before God is something that most of us know we are
supposed to do, but relatively few actually do it.
And, if we humble ourselves before God, we are also humbling ourselves before each other, which is a witness to the world around us.
Listen to what we are told in Proverbs 25:6-7…
6. Do not claim honor in the presence of the king,
And do not stand in the place of great men;
7. For it is better that it be said to you, "Come up here,"
Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince,
Whom your eyes have seen.
When we humble ourselves before God, we have a tendency to hold back, not as
shyness, but out of respect for others.
Prideful people have a tendency to push themselves to the front, and pretend they are something greater than they really are, and this proverb addresses the results of such actions.
In Luke 14:1-14, Jesus addresses those of us who humble ourselves before God, and those who are prideful in their own sight.
1. And it came about when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, that they were watching Him closely.
Why were they watching Jesus?
Because they wanted to catch Jesus doing something against their version of the Law; they definitely didn’t believe in Him, and only wanted to find excuses to destroy Him, because their father was really the devil, and we believe that this is the reason that Jesus went.
2. And there, in front of Him was a certain man suffering from dropsy.
We also believe that they deliberately had this man there, because they knew that Jesus would heal him on the Sabbath.
3. And Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?"
Jesus knew their thoughts and intent.
They never verbally asked Jesus anything, but He answered them anyway.
God does know our innermost thoughts and intentions.
4. But they kept silent. And He took hold of him, and healed him, and sent him away.
Jesus sent him away, because He knew that they hadn’t invited him to dine
These Pharisees were self-centered and prideful, and had no intention of humbling themselves before God…so Jesus asked them a question…
5. And He said to them, "Which one of you shall have a son or an ox fall
into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?"
6. And they could make no reply to this.
This is because their hearts were hardened against the heavenly will of God.
Then Jesus turned His attention to the invited guests for He noticed how prideful they were.
7. And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how
they had been picking out the places of honor at the table; saying to them,
8. "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him,
9. and he who invited you both shall come and say to you,' Give place to this man,' and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place.
This is the same situation that our proverbs lesson for today was about, for like the Pharisees, these people didn’t humble themselves before God.
10. "But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that
when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up
higher'; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table
11. "For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted."
However, we should not be doing this for the reward; we should humble ourselves before God as a way of honoring Him.
12. And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and repayment come to you.
Jesus knows that he is doing this for just that reason, but He is asking him
openly before all the gathered guests.
God always has a way of bringing our worldly ways to the light so all can see.
13. "But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame,
14. and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
If we fail to humble ourselves before God, it also is an indication that we
do not love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and thus
cannot love our neighbors as ourselves.
Think about this as we look at Hebrews 13:1-17…
1. Let love of the brethren continue.
2. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
True hospitality is something that is to come from our heart without
expecting anything in return, but prideful people expect something in return
including bragging rights.
We should be hospitable because we want to, and it’s just the right thing to do.
3. Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.
It’s not that prisoners deserve any special attention from us if they have
committed a violent crime, but for many years I was active in prison
ministry, with these kinds if felons, as a way of helping them see the
heavenly will of God and how we all are to apply it to our own lives and
those around us.
However, when people are put in jail or prison for peacefully expressing their civil rights, then they should receive our special attention, particularly if they are living in the heavenly will of God here on earth.
If we humble ourselves before God, they and we should naturally know the proper things to do.
4. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be
undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
5. Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,"
6. so that we confidently say,
"The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.
What shall man do to me?"
These things are self-evident if we humble ourselves before God.
7. Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
This is referring to teachers and leaders who humble themselves before God
and live in his heavenly will, and do everything to free creation from its
present corruption; to them we are to listen and follow their examples.
However, there are many clergy and religious leaders who live a very worldly life, even if they do speak the word of God in church; so we are to seriously observe the lifestyle of such people and not follow their example.
8. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.
And we are to follow His teachings and example; we are to live in the heavenly will of God.
9. Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were thus occupied were not benefited.
We are not benefited by any food that has caused the pain, suffering, or death of any other living being; we are to eat the plant foods that God created for us to eat, and humble ourselves before Him.
10. We have an altar, from which those who serve the tabernacle have no
right to eat.
11. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp.
We need to remember that God never wanted animal sacrifice; He wanted our obedience.
12. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
This was a once for all time offering to bring an end to all forms of animal
sacrifice for those who still wanted to, and this includes the animals that
are now sacrificed to the devil and sold in our supermarkets.
We are to humble ourselves before God and not the devil.
13. Hence, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
14. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.
In other words, we are to look forward to the new heaven and earth, and the new Jerusalem, but in the meantime, we are to reject all worldly ways and live in the heavenly will of God.
15. Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to
God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
16. And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
We can also see that blood and animal sacrifices are not pleasing to God,
for the things we are told to do cause no bloodshed or death.
These are the things that we naturally do when we humble ourselves before God and live in His heavenly will.
17. Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your
souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not
with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
Remember, we are talking about the leaders who live in the heavenly will of
God, and truly love all their neighbors as themselves, whether they are
human or animal; however we are not to follow the worldly leaders who try to
lead us down the broad way that leads to destruction.
We are only to follow those who live in the heavenly will of God, and try to lead us along the narrow way that leads to life everlasting in the presence of the Lord.
We are to humble ourselves before God.
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