“To God be the Glory” isn’t only a song worth singing – it’s a spiritual principle that must be followed.
Regardless of the Bible’s clarity on the situation:
- “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”” (Luke 14:11)
- “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)
- “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” (Philippians 2:3)
There are some who still insist on being an obstinate Diotrephes (3 John 1:9). If their name isn’t lauded they want no part of it (whatever it happens to be). If they aren’t the center of attention they won’t be found (the limelight will never equate with the spotlight). If they aren’t first place there will be no place for them (number one is anything but lonely). If they aren’t the boss they won’t work (as if they would work regardless).
But regardless of how a glory hog views his or herself, in God’s eyes, a glory hog only ends up being covered in the mud of the far-country’s pig pen.
“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
Three times in his opening statement, young Elihu talks about “what I know” Job 32.6, 10, 17. He could hardly wait for the three older friends of Job to stop talking. They failed to convince Job of his sin, and now he’s sure he can do it. He’s going to “explain” it to them. Continue reading
The waterspider skates across the surface of the pond oblivious to the vastness of his world. He may climb a twig or venture ashore a few yards and return to brag to his fellows about his adventure into the brave new world. But for all his confidence, he cannot know the depth beneath his feet, let alone the expanse that stretches beyond his horizons. Here is man, in his own conceit, born and nurtured by his own perception of conquering his world. He smiles smugly at his own accomplishments, and marvels at his own wis¬dom. In his pride he forgets God. But who was it that called forth the universe? And what is man but a microscopic speck on a freckle of creation. 0 Lord remind us of our frailty, speak to use of our minuteness, let us understand the brevity of our lives, teach us to humble ourselves in the presence of thy awesomeness. May we learn to stand in reverence at thy majesty. This is Just-a-Minute.
Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 14:6: “A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, But knowledge is easy to him who understands.”
The term “scoffer” describes an attitude toward truth: derision, scorn. Job expressed to his friends, “No doubt you are the people, And wisdom will die with you!” (Job 12:2) Everyone who thinks their opinion is superior to all sources of truth, will fail, now and forever: “Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, And before honor is humility” (Proverbs 18:12); “A haughty look, a proud heart, And the plowing of the wicked are sin” (Proverbs 21:4). Against the haughtiness of Babylon, God decreed, “I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible” (Isaiah 13:11). An over-inflated ego: in a child, rejects parental correction (“disobedient to parents,” “headstrong,” “haughty,” 2 Timothy 3:1-5); in a “scientist,” ignores evidence for Noah’s Flood (2 Peter 3:3-7); in wealthy people, refuse to trust in God (1 Timothy 6:17); in researchers, reject evidence for God’s existence (Romans 1:18-21); and in religious leaders, refuse to listen to Jesus Christ (Luke 16:14). “Scoffers” do not ask questions to learn truth, but to test the Teacher (Matthew 16:1; 19:3; 22:35)!
Other proverbs show how dangerous this attitude really is: “He who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow, And the father of a fool has no joy” (Proverbs 17:21); “Strike a scoffer, and the simple will become wary; Rebuke one who has understanding, and he will discern knowledge” (Proverbs 19:25); “When the scoffer is punished, the simple is made wise; But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge” (Proverbs 21:11); “A proud and haughty man –‘Scoffer’ is his name; He acts with arrogant pride” (Proverbs 21:24); “Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; Yes, strife and reproach will cease” (Proverbs 22:10); “The devising of foolishness is sin, And the scoffer is an abomination to men” (Proverbs 24:9). According to these: no father should be happy a child is a scoffer; hitting a scoffer only has a sobering, “wise up” effect on other sinners; scoffers only listen to that which inflates their pride, haughtiness, and arrogance; scoffers are the cause of contention, strife, and reproach; and scoffers are to be despised of men.
“Knowledge is easy” for anyone willing to learn. Jesus said: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). Evidence for God is easily seen everywhere in His Creation, and the Identity of God is evident throughout His Scriptures. “For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary” (Psalm 96:4-6). Don’t listen to “scoffers,” who willfully reject all avenues of truth, but rather listen to God whose Truth is easily found. Even idolaters may “seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
It has been a busy week, so here is a medley of 3 illustrations on humility that I plan to use this Sunday in my sermon. Oh, how our world needs more humble, selfless servants of God! May He help each of us so to be!
Winston Churchill was once asked, “Doesn’t it thrill you to know that every time you make a speech, the hall is packed to overflowing?” “It’s quite flattering,” replied Sir Winston. “But, whenever I feel that way, I always remember that if, instead of making a political speech, I was being hanged, the crowd would be twice as big.”
Norman McGowan, My Years With Winston Churchill, Souvenir Press, London.
Lincoln once got caught up in a situation where he wanted to please a politician, so he issued a command to transfer certain regiments. When the secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, received the order, he refused to carry it out. He said that the President was a fool. Lincoln was told what Stanton had said, and he replied, “If Stanton said I’m a fool, then I must be, for he is nearly always right. I’ll see for myself.” As the two men talked, the President quickly realized that his decision was a serious mistake and, without hesitation, he withdrew it.
A truly humble man is hard to find, yet God delights to honor such selfless people. Booker T. Washington, the renowned black educator, was an outstanding example of this truth. Shortly after he took over the presidency of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, he was walking in an exclusive section of town when he was stopped by a wealthy white woman. Not knowing the famous Mr. Washington by sight, she asked if he would like to earn a few dollars by chopping wood for her. Because he had no pressing business at the moment, Professor Washington smiled, rolled up his sleeves, and proceeded to do the humble chore she had requested. When he was finished, he carried the logs into the house and stacked them by the fireplace. A little girl recognized him and later revealed his identity to the lady.
The next morning the embarrassed woman went to see Mr. Washington in his office at the Institute and apologized profusely. “It’s perfectly all right, Madam,” he replied. “Occasionally I enjoy a little manual labor. Besides, it’s always a delight to do something for a friend.” She shook his hand warmly and assured him that his meek and gracious attitude had endeared him and his work to her heart. Not long afterward, she showed her admiration by persuading some wealthy acquaintances to join her in donating thousands of dollars to the Tuskegee Institute.
Our Daily Bread
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up (James 4:10)
…be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time (1 Peter 5:5-6)
Why do people look at the outside and judge so quickly? Stephen said it was because of pride, and this would be true. But pride in what? He offers that we have pride in thinking our insights are better than another. Mike said it is because people are lazy and impatient. This, too, is true. But why are people lazy and impatient? Ed said it is because it is the nature of who we are, we are people of the flesh and those of the fleshly way of thinking need to retrain their mind. Paula said it is because with our own field of experience, and this certainly is true. Finally, Glenda said it is because we do not look at people through the eyes of love. In sum, the following is offered: pride, lazy and impatient, our fleshly environment is at war with God’s standard and we are susceptible to weakness, our point of reference encourages (allows) us to interpret quickly, and we refuse to operate by the standard of love.
All these answers, it seem to me, are “spot on” answers. Whatever it is that I say I can’t imagine it will offer any improvement. Nevertheless, not bet being one shy of sharing an opinion, I will offer what I think along these lines.
I think the best answer to this is associated with the following: we think our insights are ….well….insightful (Stephen); we believe our opinion of a situation gets right to the heart of the matter and because we have a frame of reference (Paula) we have utmost confidence that we have it exactly right. This is associated with that which Glenda offered, and that is the lack of the love of Christ in our heart toward another person. It might be that we are correct in our interpretation of a situation, circumstance, event, or matter, but are we so sure of that – especially since we have not enough information from which to judge? Because the Lord knew all things that were before Him, He could make a perfect judgment each time. We, on the other hand, have not that capability. Still, we arrogate to ourselves the Lord’s perch.
This brings us to what Mike and Ed offered. It is most definitely the case that we are rather impatient and that our struggles with the flesh is over-whelming. We drive up to McDonald’s and want it our way (Burger King), and if we do not get it, it is likely we will stop and take up the matter with the store. All this is likely to take 10 minutes at most. When we sit down at a restaurant if the waitress does not come by within five minutes of our arrival, this gets our attention. We have grown accustomed to moving quickly and receiving quickly (cf. internet traffic). This plays well with our problem of judging much too quickly. Add to this the constant struggle of wanting to interpret accurately what we witnessed and talk about things with other people – with no malice intended (presumably) we have a ripe situation for trouble. If one adds malice as an intention, then a disastrous conflagration is stooping at our door!
Hard Sayings (3)
Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin as with cart ropes, who say: “Let him be quick, let him speed his work that we may see it; let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and let it come, that we may know it!” (Isaiah 5:18-19)
This is an interesting passage because it addresses those who think their individual sin will not find them out. They no more think that they can hide their sin only to not realize that the Lord has already seen it – before it was even committed! This is why the pronouncement of a warning. Dragging sin around, as if it was a wagon to be pulled, is failing to see that sins accumulate (if you will) and the burden of carrying (or pulling) becomes more difficult with each step. In a matter of time, the heavy burden prevents us from moving forward. The weight is too much. This is bad enough, but when society looks at sin as something to be flaunted, it is merely a matter of time before the arrogant society is destroyed. All one has to do is look at history itself. When the foundations are destroyed, what will the righteous do? They will suffer as the wicked. RT