God Opposes the Proud, but gives Grace to the Humble.


In the post Will you humble yourself before the LORD?, it was conveyed that all people whether now or later will humble themselves before Christ Jesus. Based on the inerrant and infallible Word of God, it’s not a matter of if but of when. As a consequence, it behooves us to humble ourselves before God especially since James 4:6 tells us that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Moreover, there are many instances of God evidencing this truth in the lives of mankind when humility towards God was demonstrated.

This paragraph includes three examples of Conditional Humility. In 1 Kings 21:29, we see that Ahab experienced a partial pardoning for his sin when he humbled himself – for a minute. The same is true for Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4. Likewise in Exodus 10:3, we see God extending grace to the Israelites. As an educator, one of the most effective instructional strategies is compare/contrast. Because we are innately inclined out of sin (pride) to compare, the human mind can easily process and comprehend this strategy. In all His wisdom, I am sure God takes that aspect of our character and learning into account when engaging us. Christ Jesus as well as the Father often uses compare/contrast as a means to teach. Inferred in the title of today’s post is that compare/contrast dynamic.

Let’s look at today’s text, Luke 18:9-14, to see another example of God opposing the proud but giving grace to the humble.

9 And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector,standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Pharisee and tax collector contrast pride and humility. The Pharisee’s language was filled with “I”. That is a clear sign of pride. When one is always referencing him/herself, the underlying motivation is pride. God opposes the proud. Without taking too far of an excursion, I want to just ask why would anyone want to put themselves in an adversarial position with God. Being prideful, thinking more highly of yourself than you ought, puts you at odds with God. It is clear from 1 Kings 21:29Daniel 4Exodus 10:3 and today’s text that God gives grace to the humble.

1 Samuel 16:7 states, “For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” According to the traditions of the day, the Pharisee seemed devout and pious to people of the day. Tax collectors were viewed as thieves, cons and scourges. What did God see? In the parable, which one, the Pharisee or the Tax Collector, was justified by Christ? God saw the heart of the tax collector.

This declaration, “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other” is highlighted by Jesus. It is the humility of the Tax Collector that is commended and rewarded. God’s desire for us is to put everything into His care. Simple, yet humble faith is what God desires. What are your top 3 cares today?

Be humble, and put them into God’s care.

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