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 25:21-28 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the Lord will reward you. The north wind brings forth rain, And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance. It is better to live in a corner of the roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman. Like cold water to a weary soul, So is good news from a distant land. Like a trampled spring and a polluted well Is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked. It is not good to eat much honey, Nor is it glory to search out one’s own glory. Like a city that is broken into and without walls Is a man who has no control over his spirit.
One Christmas several years ago I remember a time when upper management at the company I worked for gathered all the workers together for the annual state of the company address. Discussed were topics like profit margins, business prospects for the upcoming year, welcoming new employees and recognition of those who had been there for many years. It culminated in a small segment which can only be described as a corporate "humble brag".
Scrolls were opened, charities in desperate need were mentioned by name, and the thousands of dollars donated by employees and matching funds chipped in by the generous, charitable business who loves their community and does all they can to promote lifting others out of poverty, advancing the cause of equality, and securing a future for the coming generation, was proclaimed dollar by dollar, to the last penny. The love fest for the generosity of this group of corporate do-gooders culminated with a round of applause and lots of folks patting themselves on the back.
Rather than doing a good deed in secret and being rewarded by God Who sees the things done in secret, what could have been a helpful, God glorifying act of charity, wound up looking like a narcissistic self aggrandizing stunt meant to earn the praise of man and receive accolades for being such a generous, diverse, progressive business. Yuck.
It isn't just glory seeking CEO's that do this sort of thing. The entire internet, platforms like YouTube and Tik Tok, and social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram, give every narcissist on earth access to media where a thumbs up or a "like" propel the egos of untalented, arrogant masses to the highest peaks of pride and vainglory.
Today's Proverb tells us:
It is not good to eat much honey, Nor is it glory to search out one’s own glory.
Matthew Henry says this of seeking our own glory:
We must be graciously dead to the praise of man. We must not be greedy of that any more than of pleasure, because, for men to search their own glory, to court applause and covet to make themselves popular, is not their glory, but their shame; every one will laugh at them for it; and the glory which is so courted is not glory when it is got, for it is really no true honour to a man.
As Christians, we know this to be true because of passages like this from the book of Revelation:
Revelation 4:11 (NASB95): Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
We sing "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost" nearly every Lord's Day as an act of praise and worship towards God, and also as a declaration to the world and to one another the He alone, the spotless Lamb, is worthy of all glory.
Isaiah 42:8 (NASB95): “I am the Lord, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images.
As Christians we know these things to be true, yet how often are we tempted and subsequently stumble into the sin of seeking our own glory?
For instance, when former President Obama made the remark "You didn't build that", referring to small businesses, how many Christian business owners responded with indignation and shouts of "the heck I didn't build my business", and in the process neglected to give God thanks for His provision, for the blessing of gifts, resources, time, talent, and favor?
When we as Christians online create a really slick meme, or craft a cutting diatribe against abortion, homosexuality, or BLM, and we drop it, not prayerfully so that sinners may be led to repentance, but rather for the likes, thumbs up, little hearts, and the flattering words of men's praise, are we not guilty of seeking our own glory?
How many of us Christians love to defend, not the honor of Christ, but our precious calvinism, postmillenialism, homeschool curriculum or the #patriarchy? We take a bold stand in favor of these positions not because they are truths from God's Word and we are giving a defense for the hope within us, but rather because someone challenged our superior intellect, the positions we have arrived at all by ourselves through hard work and the sweat of our brow, and "how dare they do that?".
How many among us proudly proclaim we aren't wearing no mask, and I ain't getting no vaccine? We proclaim it not because of some deeply held theological position or a conviction by the Holy Spirit as you read through God's Word, but instead because my body my choice, and masks are stupid. We have a prideful image to uphold, and wearing it will hurt our defy- tyrants street cred among certain segments of Christendom.
Seeking our own glory and honor, the praise of men is an endeavor guided by pride and arrogance which inevitably leads to the glory seeker being humbled. As we examined in the Proverbs a few Sunday's ago, seeking your own glory is akin to the man who took the seat of honor at the feast, and was subsequently told to step down to a lower, less honorable position. He who seeks to be first, will be last.
Let us humble ourselves before the mighty hand of God this morning, repent of pursuing after glory which belongs to God, and instead, give Him all the glory for the great things He has done.
If you are able, please join me in kneeling as we cry out to God for mercy.
O THOU TERRIBLE MEEK,
Let not pride swell our hearts. Our nature is the mire beneath our feet, the dust to which we shall return. In body we surpass not the meanest reptile; Whatever difference of form and intellect is ours is a free grant of thy goodness; Every faculty of mind and body is thy undeserved gift.
Low as we are as creatures, we are lower as sinners;
We have trampled thy law times without number;
Sin’s deformity is stamped upon us, darkens our brows, touches us with corruption:
How can we flaunt ourselves proudly?
Lowest abasement is our due place,
for we are less than nothing before thee.
Help us to see ourselves in thy sight,
then pride must wither, decay, die, perish.
Humble our hearts before thee,
and replenish it with thy choicest gifts.
As water rests not on barren hill summits,
but flows down to fertilize lowest vales,
So make us the lowest of the lowly,
that our spiritual riches may exceedingly abound.
When we leave duties undone,
may condemning thought strip us of pride,
deepen us devotion to thy service,
and quicken us to more watchful care.
When we are tempted to think highly of ourselves,
grant us to see the wily power of our spiritual
Help us to stand with wary eye on the watch-tower
of faith, and to cling with determined grasp to our
If I fall let us hide ourselves in the Redeemer’s righteousness, and when we escape, may we ascribe all deliverance to thy grace.
Keep us humble, meek, lowly. In Jesus' Name we pray, amen
(Prayer adapted from The Valley of Vision prayer titled "Pride")
Please stand and listen to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to his church:
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.
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 12/06/2020 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.)