December 15, 2017
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
The title of this blog, Humbly Exalted, presents an oxymoron! According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, an oxymoron is “…a figure of speech in which contradictory ideas or terms are combined (e.g. sweet sorrow).” But this contradictory idea is explained in I Peter 5:6 and 7: “…humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
The big problem with humanity is the lack of humility! That may sound rather strongly stated, but let’s consider it biblically. The opposite of humility is pride! And pride is at the root of all sin!
• The first sin involved angelic beings – Lucifer, in particular. His pre-sinful state is described in Ezekiel 28:12 through 15 (English Standard Version):
Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the signet of perfection, full of
wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God;
every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond,
beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted
in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you
were created they were prepared. You were an anointed guardian cher-
ub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst
of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from
the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you.”
Apparently, Lucifer…[the] anointed guardian cherub, let all the beautiful accouterments God gave him exalt his pride! And what was the result of such pride? It is described in Isaiah 14:13 through 14:
…you have said in your heart; “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my
throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congre-
gation on the farthest sides of the north, I will ascend above the heights
of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”
Five times he stated this prideful exclamation – “I will…”! And the last “I will…” was to take the place of God Himself! And so the LORD said, “…I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroy you, O covering cherub….” (Ezekiel 28:16).
• The second sin involved human beings – Adam and Eve. But it was initiated by Satan (the former anointed guardian cherub, Lucifer) in the garden of Eden. He tempted them to eat “…of the tree of knowledge of good and evil…” (Genesis 2:17), when God said they should not! (See Genesis 2:17). But the devil told Eve, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4 and 5). This was the same lie by which he himself had fallen! You will be…God ! (See Isaiah 14:14 above). As a result of pride, Adam and Eve fell for that lie! And such a sinful attitude has been passed down to all generations since then – “I am in control! I call my own shots! I make my own decisions! I am my own god! ”
“I am God! ” This is the worst form of idolatry – making ourselves equal to, yes, even greater than God! And this breaks the first commandment of the Ten: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3). And, by the way, it also breaks the tenth! (Compare Exodus 20:17 with Colossians 3:5). James writes in James 2:10: “…whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he shall be guilty of all.” In other words, the law is a unit! If you break one of the commandments, you have smashed the whole of it! No wonder we are called sinners! No wonder Paul writes in Romans 3:10 and 23: “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no, not one….’ For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This is why we need a Savior! This is why we need the Lord Jesus Christ! (See John 14:6; Acts 4:12; I Timothy 2:5).
So when Peter advises us in I Peter 5:6 to “…humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God…,” we need to take a major spiritual step of humility, quit playing God, and humbly come before Him, admitting we have acted wrongly, turning away from directing our own lives, and submitting totally to His authority!
What happens then? Peter goes on to tell us that when we “…humble…ourselves under the mighty hand of God, …He…[will] exalt [us]…in due time….” The world, under the dominion of Satan (see Luke 4:5, 6) looks askance at Christians! Paul writes in I Corinthians 2:14 and 1:18:
…the natural [unsaved, non-Christian] man does not received the things of
the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned….For the message of the cross is
foolishness to those who are perishing…..
So the apostle tells us in I Corinthians 1:26 through 28:
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh,
not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God has chosen the foolish
things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak
things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base
things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and
the things which are not to bring to nothing the things which are….
Christians are not much in the eyes of the world! But God blesses us now because we are important to Him! And there is coming a time when Jesus Christ will be revealed as “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS ” (Revelation 19:16), and we will be exalted with Him! In the meantime, we are to leave our exaltation to Him, and “…humble…ourselves under the mighty hand of God …”! (See Luke 14:8-11).
Will we be ‘picked on’ when we humble ourselves? Yes! For Paul wrote in II Timothy 3:12, “…all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” But do we need to worry about the problems that such persecution may cause? No! For our featured Scripture continues with I Peter 5:7: “…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” He cares for you enough to have the Son of God die so you could be reconciled to the Father! (See Ephesians 2:13; Colossians 1:19-22). And we are told in Romans 8:31 and 32:
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own
Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely
give us all things? (See also Matthew 6:31-34).
Trust in the Lord! For He has destined us who trust to be Humbly Exalted!