The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 25:1-10 These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah, transcribed. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, So the heart of kings is unsearchable. Take away the dross from the silver, And there comes out a vessel for the smith; Take away the wicked before the king, And his throne will be established in righteousness. Do not claim honor in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of great men; For it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,” Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen. Do not go out hastily to argue your case; Otherwise, what will you do in the end, When your neighbor humiliates you? Argue your case with your neighbor, And do not reveal the secret of another, Or he who hears it will reproach you, And the evil report about you will not pass away.
The year 2000 could be remembered as the year of the "hanging chad". Voting irregularities led to an uncertain outcome in the Presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Al Gore, known for creating the internet and serving as Vice President under Bill Clinton, was declared to be the President-elect, winner of the race. But, low and behold, a month and a half later revealed that the victory went instead to George W. Bush. Step aside Mr. Gore, make way for your Commander in Chief. The self professed victor who grabbed the title of President-elect for himself, had to relinquish said victory, and watch in humbling fashion as another took his place.
Proverbs 16:18 (NASB95):
Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
Consider the circumstances surrounding Absalom, King David's son, in 2 Samuel 15. Conspiring against his father, Absalom hatches a scheme to have himself declared king in Hebron at the sound of the trumpet. Having won many to his cause, Absalom drove his father and servants from Jerusalem, sleeps with his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel in chapter 16, and by chapter 18, winds up slain by Joab with 3 spears through the heart.
James 4:6 (NASB95): But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Our Lord told a parable in Luke 14,
Luke 14:7–11 (NASB95): And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Scripture teaches us repeatedly to stay in our assigned lane. To be content with our lot in life. To be humble, and keep to our station. We are taught that honor is something bestowed upon another, in due time, at the discretion of the One Who sits in a position to give honor to another. Honor and praise is not taken, or even earned, but rather, given by grace to one who frequently does not even deserve it.
Do not claim honor in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of great men; For it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,” Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen.
In the American experiment with our republican form of government, we are tempted to abandon our position as children of God, meek, and lowly like our Savior, and rail against the authorities appointed over us, claiming this is our "right" as free citizens. As we rail in the name of freedom of speech and exercising our rights, we put ourselves over and above the God ordained authorities appointed to govern us. We become the judge. We position ourselves as the authority.
The problem for us becomes sinful, as God's Word tells us clearly to submit to the authorities pointed over us, whether in the church to elders, in the home as wives submit to husbands, or the civil realm to magistrates. As we elevate our wisdom over and above those appointed over us, even though we may be correct, we usurp the God ordained authority by taking a position of honor not appointed to us. Consequently, we open ourselves up for shame and a painful fall as several of the examples have shown us today.
Our response should be one of repentance and trust in the Lord, knowing that it is He from whom all honor comes, and He shares His glory with no one (Isaiah 42:8). Yet, as we look to the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in Him for our salvation, we are counted as co-heirs with Him (Romans 8:17), to be glorified as sons through the finished work of Jesus.
Let us be humble and repent.
If you are able, please join me in kneeling as we confess our sins to our loving God Whose mercies are new every day.
Please pierce our hearts with Your Word this morning and reveal to us our rebellion and sin against You. Father help us to recognize all the ways in which we seek to turn Your order upon its head by taking honor which has not been granted. Father help us to joyfully, cheerfully take the lowly position, whether at work, home, or Church, knowing that God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble. Please grant us wisdom in our dealings with those appointed over us. Help us to honor and respect their positions, while simultaneously not compromising the truth of Your Word. Father, please help those of SKC who rule, in the different spheres of life, to rule well, as good stewards of all the authority and position God has granted them.
In Jesus's name we pray, Amen.
Please join me in standing and listen to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to his church.
John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 11/22/2020 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.)