Summary: God loves to exalt the humble and humble the exalted; He loves to be gracious to the undeserving, but has little room for the arrogant.
A God Who Exalts the Humble -- By Grace
(Deut. 8:1-3; 9:4-7 and Luke 14:7-24)
1. I was watching "Chopped" on Food Network. It was down to two chefs. Chef A had prepared the best appetizer and entrée. Now it was time for dessert -- his dish did not get plated quite on time.
2. One of the judges asked his competitor, Chef B, if they could taste his dessert pancake that was still in the pan. This would violate the rules, so it could only be done with the competitors permission. Chef B said, "No." Rules were rules.
3. I really think that if Chef B had let the judges taste Chef A’s pancakes, Chef B would have won. As it was, the judges liked Chef A’s first two courses so much that they gave him the award. But I really think the lack of graciousness on the part of Chef B affected the decision.
4. You see, when we are out to be fair and gracious and take a servant’s attitude, we are often blessed in the process. We are all about ourselves and our status, it often works in reverse.
5. Jesus taught massive amounts of material, hour after hour, day after did. He did and taught so much that only hyperbole could make the point. That’s why John writes, "Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" (John 21:25).
Main Idea: God loves to exalt the humble and humble the exalted; He loves to be gracious to the undeserving, but has little room for the arrogant.
I. God Worked in the LIVES of the Hebrew People to Prepare Them (Deuteronomy 8:1-3; 9:4-7)
A. He purposefully HUMBLES people He wants to exalt (8:1-3)
Isaiah 61:1-2, "This is what the LORD says: ’Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?
Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?’ declares the LORD. ’This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.’"
B. Those He exalts do not MERIT His blessing (9:4-7)
1. Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people (6)
2. This was a motley, unlikely crew; a nation of slaves and whiners.
3. God wants the glory. A.W. Tozer once wrote an article called "Humility True and False" and concluded: "I have met two classes of Christians: the proud who imagine they are humble, and the humble who are afraid they are proud. There should be another class: the self-forgetful who leave the whole thing in the hands of Christ, and refuse to waste any time trying to make themselves good. They will reach the goal far ahead of the rest". [source: jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/2267.htm]
C. Yet God JUDGES those who refused to repent (9:4-7)
1. God does not just give land to the Hebrews; He takes it away from the Canaanites
2. In this text, the justification for this transaction is the unresponsiveness of the Canaanites
3. Genesis 15:16, "In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure."
God loves to exalt the humble and humble the exalted; He loves to be gracious to the undeserving, but has little room for the arrogant.
II. God Works in INDIVIDUAL Lives To Prepare Us (Luke 14:7-24)
A. Since God values humility, we should HUMBLE ourselves (7-11)
• Jesus’ axiom is a summary of the concept: Those who humble themselves God will EXALT (11)
• The Talmud contains a similar statement, ""He who humbles himself, him will God elevate; he who elevates himself, him will God humiliate. He who runs after greatness, from him greatness will flee; he who flees from greatness, him will greatness follow" (’Er. 13a). [Jewish Encyclopedia]
• Hillel said: "Remove from thy place two or three rows of seats and wait until they call thee back" (Lev. R. i.). [Jewish Encyclopedia]
• The reverse is true: those who exalt themselves will be humbled.
1. The parable of seating yourself at a wedding feast
2. Better to underestimate your importance than overestimate
A small western college was struggling financially. The buildings were shabby, and staff salaries were meager.
A stranger visited the campus one day and asked a man who was washing a wall where he could find the president. "I think you can see him at his house at noon," was the reply.
The visitor went as directed and met the president, whom he recognized as the same man who was scrubbing a wall earlier in the day, though he was now in different clothes.