God Resisteth the Proud, but Giveth Grace unto the Humble
- Pride vs. Humility – One of the main themes in the Bible is the prideof Satan and man, which underlies all sin. Moreover, 1 John 3:4 maintains that sin is “… the transgression of the law …”, and the “Law” that is being disobeyed is God’s Word, the Bible. Pride is the root of all sin, and the one that God especially despises. Pro 8:13 teaches, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, andarrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate”. Pro 6:16-19 adds: “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren”. 1 John 2:16 also asserts, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world”. On the other hand, the trait of humility, which the Savior so perfectly demonstrated, is also found among His people as they reflect His character of being “… meek and lowly in heart …”. The contrast between pride and humility is found throughout the pages of Scripture; and one such example is the historical parable of the Pharisee and the publican, or tax-collector, found in Luke 18:9-16. Notice in verse 16 that the Lord pinpoints “little children”, who in their naiveté represent those who have become “children of God”. We see the same Greek word as “little children” in Mat 18:3: “And [Jesus] said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”. We live in a universe of cause and effect that God has established by His Word. Not only is that true in a physical sense, its spiritual ramifications are devastating, as Mat 23:12 warns, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted”. Pro 3:34 adds, “Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly”.
Luke 18:9-16 “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified[or saved] rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; andhe that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 15And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer [Allow] little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”
- God Resisteth the Proud – Pride and arrogance are dangerous. It highlights the essence of someone who is not a true child of God. Man foolishly thinks that God is somehow unconcerned about what mankind does, but nothing could be further from the truth. Jam 4:6 echoes: “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble”. Pride starts in the heart, and then travels to the mouth, and eventually, manifests itself in the life. Psa 44:21 reminds us, “Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart”. Furthermore, Pro 21:2 proclaims, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts”. Pro 24:12 answers man’s puny alibis: “If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?”. Gal 6:7-8 enunciates an exceedingly vital principle: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting”. Jer 44:10 relates to the rebellion of Judah and Jerusalem in the historical setting, but figuratively it explains what is transpiring in our day in the institutional churches and denominations: “They are not humbled even unto this day, neither have they feared, nor walked in my law, nor in my statutes, that I set before you and before your fathers”. How does God resist the proud? By abasing them, which ultimately has to do with being cast into Hell , as Pro 29:23 intimates, “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit”. Rev 20:12-13 depicts the divine appointment that all who do not have a Savior must keep: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works”.
Psa 138:6 “Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.”
Psa 50:16-22 “But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.”
- I [God] am Meek and Lowly in Heart – The gift of humility is what the Savior bestows upon His elect people. This gift is a wonderful reminder of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who said in Mat 11:29, where we find a two-fold description of the Savior, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls”. We must bear in mind that when the Lord speaks of Himself as “meek” and “lowly”, we are talking about eternal God the Creator, His Eternal Majesty, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords! Psa 113:6 states, “Who [Jehovah God] humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!”. In Isa 57:15 we learn: “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones”. In Php 2:5-11 we see to what extent Christ had to empty Himself of His divine glory as He humbled Himself by taking on a human nature. In order to be the only Savior for sinners the Lord Jesus had to first take on a human nature. Secondly, he had to become sin, as 2 Cor 5:21 so emphatically announces, “For he [God the Father] hath made him [God the Son] to be sin for us [the elect], who [that is Christ] knew no sin; that we [the elect] might be made the righteousness of God in him [or in Christ]”. Thirdly, the Savior not only epitomizes the very essence of humility in His life but in His death as well as He suffered the equivalent of eternal damnation in the “lake of fire” for each of His elect people. In Acts 8:30-35 we are faced with the account of the Ethiopian eunuch who asks Phillip to explain a passage in Isa 53: “ … He was ledas a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away …”. These passages substantiate the infinite degradation that the Lord Jesus subjected Himself to in experiencing the shame of sin and the “lowest Hell”. May God give us an even greater appreciation for the thrust of Php 2:8, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”. Also Mat 21:5 that declares, “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” The two donkeys pictured here represent the true believers who have been made “meek” or “saved” by their King. He sits upon them as He rides triumphantly into Jerusalem, typifying the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev 21:2-4). To “sit” is figuratively associated with “ruling”, or “reigning”, as Christ most certainly does over His eternal church.
Php 2:5-11 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
- God Giveth Grace unto the Humble – The Hebrew word for “meek” (‘anav:H6035) is generally translated as “meek”, “humble”, “poor”, and “lowly”. Num 12:3 affirms: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth”. We should remember that Moses is a great “type”, or representation, of the Lord Jesus. In Isa 57:15 we learned: “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones”. The Lord Jesus indeed manifested a “… contrite and humble spirit …”. In turn, those whom God has elected to salvation will be “humbled” and will be “made contrite” as God gives them a new resurrected soul and saves them by His grace and for His glory. The trait of humility, which the Savior so perfectly demonstrated, is also found among His people, as the indwelling Holy Spirit produces the fruit of meekness (Gal 5:22-23), and they reflect His character of being meek and lowly in heart. Thus, the “humble” are God’s elect. Before salvation God has to “break us down” spiritually, and humble us because by nature we are so proud and arrogant as we disdain God and His Word, the Bible. How does God “revives”, or “makes alive”, “… the spirit of the humble, and… the heart of the contrite ones”?: 1) God has to “incline” our ears, or give us spiritual understanding, in order for us to “hear” the Gospel. 2) He will give the true Christian the “sure” (or faithful) mercies of King David, who typifies the Lord Jesus. 3) Those whom God has elected to salvation will “come to Him”. Psa 34:18 teaches, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit”. In Psa 149:4 we read this beautiful declaration regarding true spiritual beauty: “For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation”. The meek are those who have been “made beautiful” (or clothed) with salvation. Psa 132:16 similarly states, “I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy”. Additionally, 1 Pet 5:5-7 speaks of each Christian as being “clothed with humility”. For each child of God, humility is not an option but a way of life. Eph 4:2 and Col 3:12-23 admonishes believers, to pattern their life after their Master. Jam 4:6 affirms, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble”. God associates “humility” with the “fear of the LORD” in Pro 15:33 and Pro 22:4 that details the wonderful blessings of the kingdom of God: “… riches, honour, and life …”:“Thefear of the LORDis the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility”, “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life”. May God give us the grace to walk more humbly and more obediently before Him.
2 Chr 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Psa 10:17 “LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:”
Eph 4:2 “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;”
Col 3:12 “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye”
1 Pet 5:5-7 “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and 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: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.