Honor From God
When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:7-11)
In our verses for today Jesus teaches us not to have a death grip on first place! The key to unlocking this treasure is humility. This is a recurrent theme throughout the Bible!
Jesus tells His disciples the same thing again later in Luke:
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)
The word everyone used in both of these passages sounds pretty all inclusive to me! Jesus applies this same principle of humility to our relationship with God–it is necessary for us to humble ourselves before Him. It is only when we admit that we need a Savior that we are in a position to receive God’s forgiveness.
Those who arrogantly exalt themselves in God’s presence will be brought low, yet for those who humble themselves, God will exalt. James tells us:
-Bible Knowledge Commentary
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:6-10)
Paul tells us in Philippians:
-1 Peter 5:6
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:3-11)
Take It to Heart
This is how it works–we empty ourselves of all of our own importance and God exalts us in His timing. How much better to be exalted by God!
“Jesus is the One who shows us the paradoxical route to meaning in a chaotic and hostile world. It’s the paradox of the gospel: Strength is found in weakness. Control is found in dependency. Power is found in surrender … God uses the frustrations of this life and the hurt of relationships to compel us to look beyond what we can control to the God who controls all things in order to woo us to himself. As we move from control to surrender, we move from chasing the wind under the sun to embracing God above it.”
(Dan Allender, Breaking the Idols of You)
This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word. (Isaiah 66:2)