Proverbs 12:9 Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant than he who honors himself and lacks bread.
Two people are portrayed for us in this proverb. We are told it is better to be one than the other. The areas where they are being compared for our benefit could be described as pride and provision.
The first of our examples is a person who is lightly esteemed. The word used here means a person who is of little account to the world around him. He is socially unimportant, and in some instances even somewhat despised by public opinion. Basically, this person is relatively unimportant and unknown on the social ladder. But, we do learn that even though he is a social nobody, he does have enough in life to have a servant who attends to him and helps him in the daily burdens of life.
Our second person is one to whom honor and esteem mean everything. We do not know much about him in this regard except for the fact that he does find it necessary to honor himself (so that others know he is worthy of honor too). This man’s financial situation is far worse than the first man though. He is not financially secure – he even struggles with daily food. And here is the real kicker – honestly, he is not actually all that important. He is a legend in his own mind – but outside of his own mind – he’s little more than a passing, unheard comment. The honor that he thinks he has is honor he gives himself. What we have here is someone who thinks very highly of himself – but no one else joins him in this estimation. His true value is so low that he cannot even provide daily bread for himself.
We’ve all met someone like this before. In their own mind they are awesome. They are front page news in their own press – but in reality, they are never in the paper. They are so full of themselves that they are unwilling to take “jobs below themselves.” As a result – they don’t even have a job – or food. But give them a few moments to talk of themselves and you would think you are standing in the presence of fame or royalty. God reminds us – even a despised man – a social nobody who has a servant is better than this other guy. So what are we to learn from this proverb? What is the point for each of us?
Pride goes before a fall – and a haughty spirit before stumbling. That is the lesson for us. Don’t waste your life running after fame, importance in the eyes of others, or some kind of social status. That kind of prideful pursuit will result in you being a fool. Work hard and give yourself to the task of providing for yourself and your family. You may never make the social register. You may not receive honors and awards. Others may despise you for your overwhelming life of ordinary-ness. But if we understand the Bible – the ultimate day of honor is not when a group of our peers gather to honor us. It is the day when God will offer the only esteem worthy of receiving. That is the day when men and women will receive the “good and faithful servant” award. On that day we will learn that all the awards and prizes men have given and won, amount to little more than self-imposed esteem that has no value in eternity. They have plenty of prideful esteem they’ve given to themselves – but no bread. But the one who sought first the kingdom of God and His righteousness – the one who took up the cross the world despises, and followed Him – the one who loved God rather than the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life – that one will be blessed. That one will know the only social register that will mean anything in that day - the Lamb’s book of life. Humble yourself and live for this esteem - His esteem. Living for your own esteem or the esteem of others is a dead end – literally.
Proverbs 29:23 A man's pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.
A prideful man will always eventually pay for his arrogance with forced humility. Let me explain what I mean by forced humility. I can speak of this because I am unfortunately somewhat of an expert in this field - and with no sense of pride in bearing that title.
The word "pride" in this proverb is the Hebrew word "ga'awah" and it means to be prideful, arrogance, and oddly enough - enraged. The word is used of a sea that is in the midst of a storm and whose waters are raging or swelling up and down as the storm rages. Pride is seen here as something swelling within our hearts - and it causes us to rage against others who do not seem to recognize that we are as awesome as we think. This word is used to speak of the haughty, prideful attitude of the wicked - just before he is destroyed. Thus it seems to speak of pride at its highest point - enraged at the lack of respect, the lack of honor, and the lack of others serving us. When we embrace this kind of over-inflated view of ourselves, we are about to be brought very low. That is the warning of this proverb.
The idea of being brought low is taken from a Hebrew word that mean to humiliate or to bring down. It speaks of something that is sinking down. The word was used to speak of bringing down trees. The fall of a tree is something powerful and quick. It is a well-known event - as the falling of the tree makes a huge sound in the forest. This word was also used of how influential people would fall before the eyes of people in a society. It described the process of their humiliation as they were brought much lower. The ultimate humiliation is when God has to remind us that we are not nearly what we think we are. In fact - without Him we can do nothing that will be of any eternal value.
We read that the humble spirit will obtain honor. Humble is the word "sapal" which means to be low, meek, and of a contrite spirit. A meek man is not a weak man - contrary to that conception, the word actually means strength under control. God has given to man great strength and the ability to manifest power here on earth. But if that power is out from under God's control - it's effects can be disastrous. A humble man realizes that whatever power and authority he has is a gift from God and is to be used at His sovereign direction. The other telling part of this definition is the word "contrite." That word indicates that someone is broken and is seeking forgiveness. The humble man understands that he is fallen. He is sinful - and he has sinned against God. Knowing this, the humble man recognizes that he is fallible and needs guidance. He is wicked and needs righteous direction. Thus he is contrite over his sins and fallen condition - and turns to God for forgiveness, for grace, and for leadership in what he does. When a man takes that direction in life - he will obtain honor.
Recently I've been reading a biography of George Washington. The one thing above all others that has amazed me about this man is the humility he maintained. The humility that allowed him to listen closely to all his commanders - and even his soldiers was a strength, not a weakness. The way that he carried himself, as a humble servant of his soldiers and of the people of the Colonies, was why he earned the trust of his soldiers in some of the worst moments of the war. It is also what led him to decline the idea of him becoming king - or even gathering to himself too much power by only serving two terms as president. He constantly deferred praise to others and shunned being lifted up and honored. What did our first president receive for such actions? He obtained honor that has lasted for hundreds of years.
The ultimate humility though is reserved for our Lord Jesus Christ. He humbled Himself to come as a man - and be a servant when He was every ounce God of the universe. He humbled Himself even to the point of death on a cross. It is a humility that will never again be matched by anything anyone could ever do. That humility was honored by His Father as Jesus was given the name above every other name. He was honored in being the Savior of all mankind. Oh, that we would learn from His example - and from others who embraced humility and were honored for it in the end. This is the way toward honor - and it always will be till the end of the age.
Proverbs 28:25 An arrogant man stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper.
A wise man knows that arrogance and pride are always evil. There are not many things we can say are wrong always - but this is one of them. God said in James that He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Embrace pride and you will embrace resistance to God's will and ways.
What we learn here about the arrogant man is that he stirs up strife. This is because the arrogant man considers himself right and first at all times and in all things. His pride will not allow him to consider others before himself. The ultimate example of this is Lucifer who, although the anointed one who covered - some say the highest angel in all of heaven - he decided he would be God. This arrogance stirred up the ultimate strife in all the universe. First it stirred up strife among the angels as a third of them followed him into his eternal insanity. They were subsequently cast out of heaven and are condemned for all eternity for following the pride of the devil.
On a much lower level, we too will find ourselves in strife when we are arrogant. An arrogant man will not humble himself. He will resist confessing sin - or even the thought of him doing something wrong. He will not serve others - but will demand that others serve him. He will not follow leadership - because he wants to lead - and then wants no one to question his leadership. His very demeanor will stir up strife among others who will react to his arrogant ways.
What is portrayed against this strife-causing arrogance is a man who trusts in the Lord. He looks to God and relies on God's work in people's hearts and minds. As a result he does not have to have his own way. He does not view others as a threat. He can serve them and place himself lower than all others because ultimately he knows that God is in sovereign over all things. The greatest example of this is found in our Lord Jesus Christ. Although he was God, He did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped - but humbled Himself and became a man. Christ's humility and trust in God led to very interesting places. He became a man - humbled himself to be a servant - and wound up on a cross being crucified for others. Yet, whereas Satan's pride and arrogance cost him everything - the humility and trust of Jesus in God won Him the name that is above every name. He was blessed for all eternity as the One Who saves. To say that Christ's humble trust caused Him to prosper is an understatement of monumental proportions!
But let's take a moment and leave the lofty courts of heaven itself and get in the trenches where you and I live every day. When we are arrogant and feel like we need to defend ourselves and get what our rights deserve . . . those actions will lead to strife. It is when we trust the Lord and lay down our rights that we will prosper. It is not when we take up the crown but when we embrace the servant's towel that we will prosper. Trust the Lord in every circumstance and become a servant to others. Allow the Lord to prosper you - and then use that prosperity to bring glory to God. This is the way to true happiness and to a blessed life. It may cost in the short term - but in the long term of a person's life it will lead to so much more - and to the ultimate blessings for all eternity!
Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days. Proverbs 19:20
Two things that are key to being wise are counsel and discipline. If you will heed these two things in your life, you will be wise. According to today's proverb - your wisdom will be with you for the rest of your life.
The first of these two things that bring us wisdom is listening to counsel. The word for listen here is "sama" and it means listenting with a bent to obey what you hear. God used this word in Deuteronomy 6:4 when He said to Israel, "Hear O, Israel," and proceeded to call Israel to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. This was not meant as advice that could be received or rejected. When God called His people to "hear," He meant to hear with a view to obeying what they were about to hear. Wise men "hear" counsel from God and others who love Him - and do so knowing that they will also obey. When we do this we are not listening in order to pass judgment - or to correct all the things that may be wrong in what is being said. We are listening so that we can gather action points which will result in a more specific and joyful obedience to God.
One of the blessings of my life has been having godly men there to teach me and give me good, biblical counsel. Another blessing has been that I had such respect for them as men of God that I rarely if ever thought of questioning anything they said. My heart was set on obeying them as soon as they spoke. They were godly men! Why should I question what they said? Men like John Dale, Brother Russell, and pastor Al spoke with great authority because they used Scripture to make their point. Hearing godly counsel always went hand in hand with obeying what I heard. I felt like I was not wise enough to question them . . . therefore obedience was what I expected to be my response.
I've watched others though, who do question counsel. They do not listen with a bent to obey. They listen with a bent to question everything. In some situations this can be a positive thing - especially when the one counselling you is ungodly - or you get a quick check in your spirit about something that was said. But when you are with godly mentors and people who have consistently offered good counsel - it can be unwise. If we are busy questioning the counsel given - we probably won't know how to apply that counsel in practical ways.
The second thing mentioned here is to accept disciplline. "Musar" is the Hebrew word for discipline - and it is an old friend to us as we walk through Proverbs. Just as a reminder, it means child training from a father. The idea is that we are being not only instructed - but practically guided into a way of choosing. It means corrective as well as instructive discpline. When we move outside certain moral paths - there is corrective action and instruction to help us get back on track and away from moral failure. We are to accept this discipline - to receive it and take it on willingly. We are to be willing to be trained by it - even if the training can be painful at times.
The second half of this proverb actually offers the reward of these two actions. It is a Hebraism that speaks of being wise in the latter end of our lives. When we listen to obey godly counsel - our latter days will be blessed with wisdom. When we accept discpline and submit to the boundaries it provides we will be blessed to be wise in our latter days. The path of our lives will be blessed. The direction of our lives will be wise and filled with understanding. These are things people see in someone and want. They see a wiser man or woman and wish they were wise like them. The problem may come in that they think the wisdom came to them naturally - or was some kind of inherited trait. That is just not true. Wisdom comes when a person listens and obeys others wiser than themselves. It requires humbling ourselves and seeing problems and wrong ideas in our own thinking and working to change them. It requires being disciplined (even spanked when you were little) and learning from it. Wisdom comes to us because we choose to learn - even learn from very hard lessons and difficult moments. The path to wisdom is never easy - at least to the ones who are proud and who tend to bow-up when they are taught or corrected. But for the ones who humble themsevles under godly instruction - and submit themselves to painful lessons - wisdom abounds - and continues to do so all their days.
The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility. Proverbs 15:33
There are few people who do not want to be wise. The rub comes when they learn how to become wise. There is even a higher cost when you learn the method by which God will bring us to the point where we become wise.
The first thing we need to grasp is that wisdom comes from God. If men, in their experience of life, manifest wisdom - it is only because they have stumbled across it over the course of their lives. Even a blind squirrel will find a few nuts as he wanders underneath the trees. Wisdom is defined best as seeing things as God sees them. Therefore if we are going to become wise - we will have to respect God and what He has to say. That is the crux of what Solomon is saying here when he states that the fear of Jehovah is the instruction for wisdom. If we do not respect and reverence God - we are fools. If we do not honor Him and give Him the honor which He deserves, we will not be wise in the end.
We note here that the fear of Jehovah is the "instruction" for wisdom. The word for instruction here is the Hebrew word "musar" which means to instruct with discipline. This means far more than just learning something in our heads. This involves both mental instruction of the head - and discipline to make sure that what goes into our heads is then applied and carried out in our lives. This often involves some correction, pain, and difficulty as we have to learn to value God's perspective more than our own. This is the process of wisdom - and depending on how stubborn or prideful we are in holding to our particular perspective - how painful and hard it will be to become wise.
The last part of this proverb lets us know the one overarching principle that will apply throughout this entire process. "Before honor comes humility." Humans (at least fallen ones - and that means all of us) want the honor now. They want honor immediately. If we want the honor of other men and the world that may be possible. If we want the honor that comes from God and that is lasting - we will have to take a different path. Honor from God requires humility first. It is the humility that is willing to empty ourselves and lay our own will and ego down. This is what Christ Jesus did according to Philippians 2, and God requires nothing less of us. Oh how hard the human will goes down. But in order to be wise - and to receive honor from God - that is what we will have to do. But such wisdom and such honor is better than anyting billion things the world can offer us in the way of its trinkets and trash.
Want to be wise? Want lasting, eternal honor? Then wisdom is what you want. You will haae to first admit you don't have any - and then turn to the only One Who can give it to you. You will need to see your view of God raised infinitely higher - where you find His wisdom and guidance impeccable in every way. You will need to embrace His thoughts and working in your mind even in the most difficult times when honestly, it does not make sense. You will need to lay your own thoughts in the dust - until you learn that they are in agreement with His - then praise Him for enlighening your mind to have such thoughts. This is the way of wisdom - which is also the way of humility. But I can promise you by the Word of the Lord that this is also the way of true happiness, true contentment, and a true reward that will last infinitely beyond any trophy, any medal, any certificate, or any human reward that will fade and fade away with time.
It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud. Proverbs 16:19
Humility is something to be embraced by God's people. It is not usually considered a great thing because often to be humble means that you will not be on the top rung of things. Here where Solomon tells us it would be better to be humble in spirit with the lowly that truth comes out. The humble man is the one who is to embrace a low social position. The humble man does not seek great things for himself. The sense of this Hebrew word is that one is not only humble, but they are also meek (strength under control) and they are contrite (they know their sin and greive over it. The humble also associate with a group most people would shun - the lowly. The lowly are those who are poor, afflicted, and usually crying out for help to the Lord. These people are often absued by the rich and by oppressive leaders. When you associate with such people, it means that you most likely will not be among the movers and shakers of society. Yet it is better to be here among the lowest of the low than to be with those who suffer from pride. Something that will prove helpful in understanding the second part of this proverb is the reality that the humble are not seeking advancement for themselves. They serve God and look to Him for their advancement and their victories.
We are warned that it is better to be with the lowly and to be humble with them - than to divide the spoil with the proud. The proud (Hebrew word "ge'eh") are not just proud and haughty - they are those whose pride is bringing the Lord Himself to a point of desiring to judge them. Granted, they are getting the spoil - which meant money and things - but at what cost? The idea of spoil means that they are fighting or warring against another. The spoil was what was left over after they had wiped out their enemies. The proud conquer their opposition, and then rise up and take their stuff afterwards. Their advancement does not come by trusting the Lord - but by dominating and destroying their competition. They leave in their wake a large number of people who are either ruined or are so dominated that they surrender what is theirs to their conquerors. True, they may have a lot of money, a lot of stuff, and victories to their credit - but they also have God as their adversary. God watches all this and burns with anger - responding to their pride and arrogance by promising a recompense that may not come today - but it is surely coming. When you consider this, seeing that even though they have victories and spoils, they come at far too high a price, the judgment of God - you also see why it is better to be with the humble and even oppressed than with this crew who are one day going to face the wrath of God.
Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted. Proverbs 3:34
How does God respond to those who scoff at Him? The first half of our proverb for today reveals that to us - then shares some very wonderful news with us about how the Lord responds to those who are afflicted.
God is a God of grace and mercy - but He is not happy with those who mock and scoff at Him and His Word. Here in Proverbs 3:34 we find a strong statement about how God reacts to the ones who are scoffing at Him. We read that God responds with scoffing toward them. The "scoffer" is one who mocks God. He derides the Lord and holds Him in utter contempt - even boasting against the Lord. What God promises to these who mock Him is mocking in return. The difference here is that the human who is insane enough to mock God, does nothing to God by His mocking. He is powerless to have any affect on God's glory or anything to do with God. On the other hand - God's mocking and utter contempt comes with an eternity of consequences - literally! The mocker who thinks himself so powerful has less effect than a flea has as it crashes into an aircraft carrier as it speeds through the ocean. So the one hurt by these actions is the mocker himself - whose mocking is only storing up wrath for himself when God ultimately comes to humble the arrogant.
The promise though is not just scoffing to the scoffer - but also grace to the afflicted. The word afflicted here is the Hebrew word "anaw" which has a much wider range than just the afflicted. It means one who is poor, oppressed, afflicted, and humble. This "afflicted one" is not proud, haughty, self-advancing, or self-assertive when it comes to standing before God. He is humble. He puts himself intentionally in a low and meek position. He does not view himself in comparison to men - either presently or in the past. He takes a good look at God and does the only wise thing a man can do - he chooses humility. One Hebrew commentary even suggests the idea of affliction here is that of self-affliction. He sees who he truly is in the sight of God - and chooses to humble himself in the dust before a God whose glory and majesty dwarfs him in a way that cannot be expressed in human language. Yet this humbling of himself is what makes him a candidate for God's grace. God looks at this humilty and desires to bless him. This is nothing more than the promise in James, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." That is pretty much what the writer is saying to us here. May God see us remove ourselves from among the scoffers - and align ourselves with every haste to the ones who humble themselves and give God glory!
The lizard you may grasp with the hands, Yet it is in kings' palaces. Proverbs 30:28
What is the exceeding wisdom that the lizard has for us? We are told of four animals here - all who demonstrate wisdom by their existance and practics. We come now to the fourth and final animal - the lizard. What does he have to teach us?
First we read that the lizard is not the most intimidating of animals in the world. He can be grasped with the hands. His natural defenses are not very effective. Thus he is able to be caught and grasped with a human hand. The lizard is not given a great deal of weapons at his disposal. The lizard spoken of here is usually the common ones that you seek on the walls in homes. He has no sharp claws or teeth - and the ones mentioned here have no venomous bite or sting to deliver. Yet we are told that he is in the palaces of the king.
The lesson for us is an interesting one. Though we may feel weak and defenseless, we can still be in high places. The lizard teaches us though that if we are to be in such places, we will need to be humble and come in such a way as is fitting for our situation. If the lizard were to come to the king's palace and seek to knock down the door - he would be a fool. If he decided to battle his way into his presence with his great strength - he would be deluding himself. If he decided he would come showing his comeliness and beauty - he would be blind to the fact that he is a lizard. The lizard uses none of these tactics. Instead he is humble and comes quietly. He remains on the wall and chooses not to be boisterous and draw attention to himself. Because this is how he comes - he can be in the presence of the king.
The lizard teaches us that great strength can be had in something as inauspicious as humility. God says that He opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. There is something about a humble man that can disarm even a king. Therefore if we want to be received and come even to a king's palace - we need to learn humility. With the humble comes great favor. Jesus told us that when we come to a banquet we should not seek the place of honor - and take a seat next to our host. That would be coming in pride and arrogance - stating that we are viewed highly in our own mind. The warning was that when our host comes, he would see us in such a proud position and completely overlook us. When he would see someone far more humble taking a seat beneath himself - the host would invite him to sit where we are. At that point we would be humiliated and have to go to the very last seat in the sight of all those present. Instead we should adopt the attitude of the lizard. Jesus said that we should take the lowest place at the table. Then when our host sees us taking such a humble place, he would request for us a better seat - and we would be honored before all at the banquet. This is where our Lord told us that God opposes the proud, but honors the humble.
Exceedingly wise is the lizard, who embraces humility. Wise indeed he is to come quietly and without fanfare. Thus he is in king's palaces. Wise also is the man who in life chooses to humble himself, not just to be exalted, but who truly sees himself humbly. We are counselled to humble ourselves in the presence of the Lord, and he will exalt you (James 4:10). So be wise - be like a lizard - humble yourself - and be blessed by the Lord.
The fury of a king is like messengers of death, But a wise man will appease it. Proverbs 16:14
The knock on the door resembled more like someone trying to break it down. As he drew near to open, Daniel knew that this was no friendly visit by the sounds coming from the other side of the door. He could hear the sounds of a chariot - and the all too familiar sound of armor and swords striking each other. This was a military visit - and it did not sound as if it would be positive. As he reached for the handle of the door Daniel said to himself, "Calm Daniel, respond with calm and confidence in your Lord." As the handle moved to open the door a prayer also went up to heaven, "God, please help me respond wisely."
As the door opened Daniel was astounded by what he met. It was a military escort - and it had come for him. Daniel knew things were bad when he saw Arioch, the commander of the king's bodyguard leading the way. "The king had commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be executed," was the announcement that Arioch made at Daniel's doorway. "I am sorry Daniel, but I must put you in chains and escort you to the executioner immediately."
"Why is this decree so urgent, Arioch?" Daniel replied. "Have we done something wrong - for when I last knew - all was well with the king and the wise men." Arioch then told Daniel of the dream - and the command from the king that the one who interprets the dream must also be able to first tell the king what the dream was. When the wise men present balked at this - and tried to bide their time - the king became furious and commanded that this be done to all the wise men.
Daniel sent a quick prayer to heaven again, "HELP LORD!" Then a passage from the writings of Solomon came to mind, the fury of the king is messengers of death, but a wise man will appease it. "Give me wisdom Lord to appease this request."
"Arioch," Daniel spoke, "would you first take me to the king that I might request a time when I may come and declare the dream and the interpretation to him?" From the look on Arioch's face Daniel knew that he was wary of this request.
"Daniel, my friend," the captain said, "He is furious right now - and not in any mood for delays or schemes. He is very disturbed about this dream and wants an interpretation."
Daniel was amazed at his own boldness and faith as he answered, "Then that is what I shall give to him."
As Arioch took him to the king Daniel continued to pray for favor and for God's power to appease a very angry king. He also knew that when he returned to his home, he would have to call Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah to prayer as well that God would grant him the ability to know the king's dream and its interpretation. "This will be a true test of our faith - and of our trust in Jehovah to protect and keep us here in Babylon," Daniel would say. "Yet He has been faithful so far to offer us His gracious protection."
The king or whatever the supreme leadership position is called in any state - holds with it a tremendous amount of power and authority. When that person is furious - it is not a good thing for the ones at whom his anger and rage is directed. To approach him with respect, honor, and wisdom is absolutely necessary. Depending on the laws of the region - that anger could mean death. That is why examples like that of Daniel - where a gracious, submissive, appeal to authority and God's provision is definitely in order. We can thank God for this godly example, for it gives us hope in what otherwise might be a hopeless situation. The wise will learn from it - and repeat it as they go into every situation trusting God and relying on the wisdom of His Word to not only guide them - but also go before them to appease anger and wrath - and make a way for grace and peace to prevail.
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, But humility goes before honor. Proverbs 18:12
Humility is the thing - therefore embrace humility! When you are not humble, you are headed for trouble - for afflication, for a fracture or a breach in some way. God says that He resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble in the book of James. Here that truth is reiterated - just in a little more terrifying way.
When a man's heart is haughty - bad things are going to happen. The word "haughty" here is the Hebew word "gabah" which means to be high, exalted, or arrogant. This word is used of thing like a high tree or vine - but it is also used of Almighty God. Here it does not have the meaning of arrogant - but simply someone high and exalted - and rightly so. But when a man takes on this attitude and this demeanor, he is headed for trouble.
God says that right before destruction comes upon a man his heart is this way - haughty and lifted up - full of himself. Such a heart condition does not mean that he is right on the verge of destruction. That would be a misinterpretation of this proverb. What it is saying is that right before God brings destruction upon a man - he will be haughty. Consider the king, Belshazzar from Babylonian times. He was very arrogant - so arrogant that during a big party he had the cups and bowls brought in from God's Temple - and he and his party guests drank their wine out of them. As they did, they praised the God's of silver and gold. This was about as arrogant as someone could get. But Belshazzar did not know that this would be the last banquet he would ever hold. It would be the last party he would ever host. That night a hand from God came and wrote on the wall of the room where he was having his wicked shindig. The message on that wall told him that in the midst of his arrogance God had rendered final judgment upon him. He had been put in the balances of God's justice and righteousness - and had been found wanting. Because of his arrogance and pride he was going to have his kingdom handed over the Medes and the Persians. Suddenly Belshazzar's arrogance was confronted - but not with opportunity for repentance. He was confronted with destruction. That night his defenses were breached, his captiol city captured, and he himself was slain in the onslaught that ensued. He had nothing with which to defend himself. All he had was his last moments of arrogance and pride - oh, and terror as the breech came.
Reject haughtiness and thinking highly of yourself. It is a trap of monumental proportion. It was the sin for which the devil himself was judged when he was the annointed angerl that led the praises of heaven itself. This sin is deadly above all others - therefore utterly abandon it and embrace god-honoring humility instead. This proverb does tell us that before honor - there is humility. Since I am writing this a week before Christmas, I will use the ultimate example of humility to illustrate this truth. Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. He has ever been with the Father and the Spirit and is God of very God. As such He actually deserves the praise of all creation for all eternity. Yet He chose to obey His Father and be born as a baby in Bethlehem. He left the glories of heaven and took on the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. He became the God-man. As such He humbled Himself infinitely. He did not demand honor and glory and praise - which we all due Him. He chose instead a path of obedience, humility, and eventually humiliation as He bore the sin of the world on the cross of Calvary. Being found in form as a man he humbled Himself and became obedient unto death - even that awful death on the cross. Here is someone who deserves honor and respect - praise and adoration - yet He chooses humility. As a result we read in latter verses in Philippians 2 the following words - also a fulfillment of this very proverb.
"For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11, NASB)
There it is in what God did through and for His Son. Jesus chose to humble Himself - and before the honor God gave Him - was that marvellous attitude and practice of humility. God raised Jesus from the lowest place to the highest! God will honor those who embrace obedient humility to Him. Therefore wisdom is this . . . it is embracing humility and obedience to God in all that we do. That is the very best way of knowing that God will honor you in due time - as you continue to embrace a self-effacing, god-glorifying, Christlike humility and obedience to Him.
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
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