Wednesday, 21 August 2019
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10
The thought here is found throughout Scripture. When one is prideful before the Lord (Genesis 3, for example), there is a fall. However, the cure for that comes from the words of Scripture from that point on. After Adam fell, he did humble himself. It is not explicitly stated as such, but it does say, “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20). The name Havah, or Eve, means “life.”
The Lord told Adam that on the day that he ate of the fruit, he would die. He did. The spiritual connection to God, which is true life, died. But in the curse upon Adam and his wife, there was also a promise of restoration. Adam humbled himself through faith and believed, naming his wife “Life” as a sign of his belief. In this, the very next verse says, “And Jehovah Elohim made Adam and his wife coats of skin, and clothed them” (Darby).
The Lord accepted Adam’s act of faith and covered him. The picture is that of the Lord covering Adam and his wife with a substitutionary atonement. An innocent life died in order for its skin to be used. It is a picture of the innocent Christ covering His people in His own sinlessness.
From this point on, the idea of humbling oneself before the Lord is seen again and again. Jesus gave a beautiful picture of the difference between pride and humility in Luke 18 –
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14
Arrogance and self-righteousness is an abomination to the Lord. But humility before Him is something that He notes as commendable. As James says, “and He will lift you up.” In a state of humility, one will mourn over sin, have awed fear of God who can and will judge that sin, and will have a repentant attitude concerning his state. The Lord will look upon one in this condition and restore him, clothe him in His righteousness, and cover over the sin.
Peter follows in the same line of thought as well –
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5
Life application: When we are confident in ourselves, we demonstrate an arrogance which cannot be overcome by heaven itself. The gap already exists between God and us because of our sin. Therefore, to boast in anything we have done, or think we can do, makes no sense. If we could bridge the gap, there would have been no need for the law, for the prophets, and especially for Jesus. But God who is rich in mercy is willing to reach down to us through Jesus and lift us up – if we will only allow Him.
Stop trusting in your own goodness and look to the cross. The cross is what we deserve, but Jesus took it instead. What could you add to that? Humble yourselves and God Himself will lift you up.
Lord God, because of Jesus, You have brought us together again. Instead of hell, You offer heaven. Instead of Your back, You turn to us Your face. Where we deserve a cross, You sent Jesus to take our place – and He willingly bore that burden. How can we trust in our own righteousness when it doesn’t exist? Instead, let us come and worship You, through Christ our Lord. In Him is found our righteousness. Hallelujah and Amen.