Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among his great men; it is better for him to say . . . “Come up here,” than for him to humiliate you.
Jesus not only knew people’s hearts; he astutely observed their behavior. At a dinner hosted at a Pharisee’s house, Jesus noticed how the guests were picking places of honor closest to their host. It sounds a little like going to a wedding reception and seating oneself at the head table with the bride and groom.
Jesus told the clamoring guests a parable about humility that echoes today’s proverb. Applying the lesson, he stated, “All those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (see Luke 14:11). Proverbs 16:18 affirms this: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
A wise person understands Jesus’ words as he applied Solomon’s wisdom. A wise person realizes that God’s Word has sufficient guidelines to help us walk in wise ways. This includes not thinking too highly of ourselves. Trumpeting one’s accomplishments gives little honor to those to whom the credit is actually due.
Proverbs proclaims wisdom. It’s all about grace. It’s all about what God accomplishes in us, through us—and, often, despite us. So let’s believe and live by God’s grace!
Our Father, hallowed be your name, not ours; your kingdom come, not ours; and your will be done, not ours. Help us to see ourselves as you see us and to live accordingly. In Christ’s name, Amen.
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