Summary: You see, the help that we receive from the hand of God comes as a result of our humble hearts being yielded to Him in all things. God helps those who are humble before Him in the manner and time in which He sees fit.
UNDER GOD’S MIGHTY HAND
THREAD: 1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”
The verse we will focus on today is not a difficult verse to read. It is not a difficult verse to understand. The verse we will focus on today is one that is difficult to put into practice and live out. It is difficult to live out because of the topic, the imagery, and the promise that it gives us.
I. “HUMBLE YOURSELVES”
The topic that 1 Peter 5:6 presents to us is not a topic that we like to think about. The topic is humbleness. Humility. Others before ourselves. The Apostle Peter, in verse 5, gives us a command to “humble ourselves.” In this particular context, the humility that we are commanded to have is not before our parents, our bosses at work, our government officials, or any other person. There are certainly plenty of verses in the Bible which speak to that. The humility that Peter commands us is humility before our God. Peter commands us to have humbleness before God and he is not the only one in Scripture to do so.
In the Book of Exodus, Moses and Aaron had audience after audience with Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to ask him to let the Hebrew people go from their slavery and leave the country. Pharaoh refused. He refused and he refused. In Exodus 10:3 it says, “So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, "This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” What did God want from Pharaoh? A humble heart.
In the Book of Deuteronomy, the people of Israel had escaped from Egypt, but had to wander in the desert for 40 years because of their disobedient hearts. Towards the end of the 40 year journey, Moses said to the people in Deuteronomy 8:2-3, “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” What did God want from His people? A humble heart.
In the Book of Ezra, the people of God had endured a 70 year exile as discipline because they sinned against God. Ezekiel, a prophet and leader, was leading a group back to their homeland. Ezra was calling his countrymen back to faith in God. In Ezra 8:21-22 in says, “There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. 22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, "The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” What did Ezra lead the people to have so that God would hear their prayers of faith? A humble heart.
In the Book of Daniel, Daniel was a prophet of God who was put in service to kings who did not know God. It was always a tough situation. In Daniel chapter 10, Daniel relates one of his many visions. Daniel tells us in Daniel 10:12, “Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” Fear was removed from Daniel. Understanding, wisdom, and knowledge was added to Daniel. Daniel’s prayers were heard by God. How was fear removed, wisdom added, and prayers heard for Daniel? A humble heart.
In the Books of James and 1 Peter, both men quote the same verse from Proverbs 3:34 which says, “He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.” In James 4:6, James is speaking about God giving us grace and 1 Peter 5:5 is talking about young men in the church listening to those who are older. The passage from James 4:6 grabs my attention between the two. James 4:5-8 says, “Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James tells us that arresting sin in our lives means paying attention to the Holy Spirit, accepting grace, resisting the Devil, and drawing near to God. How is any of that accomplished in the life of a believer? A humble heart.