10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
I like riding dirt bikes. My friends and I do single track woods racing for fun. One day a new guy showed up. He was a few years older than me and didn’t look to be in great shape. I said to myself “piece of cake.” As we took off, he passed me by, and it was hard for me to keep up with him. I thought because I was a “good rider” I was going to finish the race well. My pride and arrogance deceived me.
James is telling us to humble ourselves in the presence of the Lord. Why? Well, in the preceding verses, he told his audience that the source of their quarrels and conflicts was their selfish motives. They pray for selfish gain, they are conformed to the world, and they put God at the bottom of their list. But what does it mean to humble ourselves? Let’s look at two great examples: Moses and Jesus.
When the Angel of the Lord called Moses from the burning bush, the Lord told Moses to remove his sandals (Exodus 3:2-5). What an odd command! What did it mean? Deuteronomy 25:5-10 sheds some light on this passage. When a married Israelite man died and had no children, his wife was left without an income. The man’s brother or next of kin was supposed to raise offspring on behalf of the dead man. But he could refuse his right to redeem the widow. If this happened, the widow would come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal off his foot and spit in his face. By this act, he gave up his right to redeem the widow. In Ruth 4:5-8, Boaz asked Naomi’s relative to redeem her. But Naomi’s relative refused to do so and removed his sandal off his foot, giving up his right to redemption.
With this tradition in mind, we can deduce that when the Lord asked Moses to remove his sandals, it meant he was giving up his rights. In other words, he was declaring Yahweh to be the Lord over his life. That is why the Lord later exalted Moses in front of the Pharaoh, making him “as God to Pharaoh” (Exodus 7:1).
Jesus left us His life as an example to follow (John 13:15), and He too humbled himself! We read in Philippians 2 that Jesus left His celestial throne to take the form of a servant, becoming obedient to the Father even to the point of death. But because of what Jesus did, the Father exalted Him by “giving Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow to those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”
From these two great examples, we can conclude that if we follow our own will, passions and desires, it will lead us to our own destruction. We should instead seek God’s will first, with a sincere heart. Because of our love for Him, we should humble ourselves, accepting His lordship over our lives (John 14:21-24). If we do this, God will exalt us by taking us into His immeasurable love and mercies through His Son Jesus our Lord. Let not our pride keep us from knowing the Truth!
Questions to Ask Yourself
- You may have accepted Jesus as your Savior, but have you humbled yourself and made Him the Lord of your life?
- When you enter in His presence in prayer and supplication, do you recognize who you are and who He is by confessing your sins to Him?
- In our busy daily lives, we often prioritize our existence by neglecting our Lord and His teachings. Have you set aside time every day for prayer and study of His Word?
Pray for Coby and Bailey, global workers in our church family, as they work to reach refugees in the Nashville area. They are preparing to move to Europe in 2021 and hope to plant the gospel among displaced peoples living there.