Summary: No matter who we think we are, we are ultimately helpless, blubbering fools without God’s backing.
Big Shots? Really?
1. A young businessman had just started his own firm. He rented a beautiful office and had it furnished with antiques. Sitting there, he saw a man come into the outer office.
Wishing to appear the hot shot, the businessman picked up the phone and started to
pretend he had a big deal working. He threw huge figures around and made giant commitments. Finally, he hung up and asked the visitor, "Can I help you?"
The man said, "Yeah, I've come to activate your phone lines."
2. When push comes to shove, none of us are that special. We have our place in society, and, as believers, our place in God’s Kingdom.
3. But when we take our place in God’s Kingdom, we can find out there is little room for arrogance. And, except for Jesus, all of God’s people have struggled with it. Some people are even proud about how humble they are.
Main Idea: No matter who we think we are, we are ultimately helpless, blubbering fools without God’s backing.
I. Once Again, the Chapter is a CHIASM.
A. Multiplying OIL (1-7)
B. Curing an infertile COUPLE (8-17)
• Wife is main figure, call her Shu-Anna
C. The boy DIES (18-25)
Center: D. Both Prophet and Wealthy Woman Are POWERLESS without God ‘s help (26-31).
C’. The boy RETURNS to life (32-37)
B’. Curing a diseased STEW (38-41)
A’. Multiplying BREAD (42-44)
II. The Lesson: We Are Never So Situated That We Can Allow Ourselves to Become PUFFED UP (26-31).
The lure of being situated and independent was the lure of Eden. Still tempts.
The line between a healthy self-confidence and arrogance is fine and fluctuating.
A. The wealthy WOMAN had a track record of being godly and GENEROUS.
1. She was the one in the family who took spiritual initiative, not ideal.
2. Her concern was to honor God by honoring His prophet.
3. She was rewarded for her devotion to the Lord in time, but that is not why she was generous and devoted…
B. Elisha had a track record of being SUBMISSIVE to God.
1. When Elijah called him to follow him as his disciple, he forsook all to do so.
2. He took the responsibility represented by Elijah’s cloak.
C. Nonetheless, God determines to maintain His servants’ HUMILITY (without human help).
1. This woman and her husband were RICH.
2. Elisha was the greatest prophet since MOSES and had power.
God reminded them both of this lesson: No matter who we think we are, we are ultimately helpless, blubbering fools without God’s backing.
• Yet Paul had to have his thorn in the flesh to keep him humble.
• Marylu and I had a rough week —one after another.
• All of our irritations put together does not equal what Shu-anna experienced.
3. God did not punish them for arrogance, but PREVENTED it instead.
The more usable you are for God, the harder He works to keep you humble. He has an agenda to drain you of haughtiness, arrogance, snobbery, and pride.
4. God uses broken vessels, the despised of this world who DEPEND on Him.
D. PRIDE comes in many forms, and is often a hidden defect.
We tend to overlook pride in ourselves, and we are rightly cautious to avoid labeling others as arrogant, for concern that we are judging.
“My dear Watson," said [Sherlock Holmes], "I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one's self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one's own powers.”
You can have great talents and abilities, be aware of those talents and abilities, and still not be arrogant, haughty, or condescending to others. Instead, you learn to appreciate what is special about them.
Being haughty is not honestly recognizing your abilities, it is elevating yourself above others. It is both about exalting yourself and putting down others.
But God detests pride so much, He has an agenda to rout it out of our lives.
Proverbs 6:16-18, “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil…”
• People who often go around declaring time and again that they are nothing are usually the people who are most spiritually arrogant. Humble people rarely think that others are going to think that they are something, so the issue rarely arises.
E. Pride BLINDS us to our constant need for God.
Revelation 3:17, “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”