Tag Archives: humble

Hope for the Humble

I was reading my Proverb of the day (Proverbs 26) and I must admit that this is probably my favorite of all Proverb chapters.  But I noticed something this morning that I had never noticed before.  If you were to look at this chapter you’d find the first 11 verses are dealing harshly with foolish people.  Here’s some examples of what is being said:

Honor is not fitting for a fool anymore than snow is fitting for summer,

Rods were invented for smacking fools on the back,

Fools should be ignored, unless it causes them to look wise in their own eyes,

Sending a message by way of a fool is like cutting your legs out from under you,

and it goes on and on.  But then, we see a verse that shifts the focus from the fool.  Verse 12, still dealing with fools, takes the focus from the fool and puts it on the wise.  Read this verses closely: “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than him,” (ESV). This is the culmination of all the previous verses.  All those previous proverbs written were setting us up for this one verse.  This is the proverbial equivalent of Nathan’s story to David.  Do you remember that story?

And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms,and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”

Nathan said to David, “You are the man! 

The whole story was to get David to see his sin of taking Uzziah’s wife to his own bed.  The whole point of verses 1-11 in Proverbs 26, is to get us to see that as bad as being a fool is, it is worse to be haughty and prideful.  Looking at the first 11 verses, one must come to the conclusion that there is no hope for a fool. But when verse 12 comes, having concluded there is no hope for a fool, we find there is more hope for him than there is for the one wise in his own eyes. Let that sink in.

A man who sees himself to be wise, thus a haughty, prideful man has less hope of change than a fool.  There is hope in humility, but almost none in haughtiness. May we remember that God gives grace to the humble, but resists the proud (cf. James 4:6).

The Beatitudes for Marriage: Part 3

The gentle are blessed, for they will inherit the earth.
Matthew 5:5, HCSB

I remember being in our high school musical production of The Little Shop of Horrors.  I was Seymour.  I had such a good time!  If you aren’t familiar with this show/movie then let me quickly tell you about it.  This little nerd and geek of a guy named Seymore (I was perfect for the role) is in love with this young lady Audrey with whom he works.  She however always seems to be falling for the bad boys, including a dentist who slaps her around.  One day Seymore found a strange and interesting plant.  No one knows what species it is so he names it Audrey II.  It turns out that Audrey II is from outer space and craves human blood.  The shere size at which this thing grows is amazing and Seymore becomes very famous, and as attracted the eye of Audrey.  Against his better judgment Seymore feeds the dentist to the plant, and then Audrey gets eaten (though Seymore doesn’t feed her to it).  At any rate, toward the end of the play a song is sung by (what I like to call) the chiffon girls (the Ronnettes).  It goes like this:
“They say the meek shall inherit,
No, the book doesn’t lie;
It’s not a question of merit;
It’s not demand and supply.
They say the meek are gonna get it,
And you’re a meek little guy.
You know the meek are gonna get what comin’ to ’em
By and by.”

Seymour is seen as meek.  The chiffon girls and everyone else has seen Seymore as a pushover.  Everyone wants to take advantage of him, including the plant.  The girls simply are saying, his time will come.

The problem is that Seymour is not what Jesus meant when He used the word meek.  Yet so often that is the idea that we get.  Meek equal weak.  Meek means that the person is just a pushover.  In reality, Jesus meant something more.  That’s why I like the Holman Christian Standard Bible’s translation:  “The gentle are blessed.”  That is the true meaning of meek.  Meek equals gentle, not weak.

There is nothing that conveys weakness when meekness is mentioned.  In fact, just the opposite is true.  A truly meek person actually has the power to cause pain.  They have the power “to win.”  They restrain themselves.  They have self-control.  If you’ve ever play checkers with a child then you know that you could beat them hands down.  Do you?  Probably not.  You let them win a few times.  You put yourself in a position so that they can jump your piece.  You “accidentally” missed a move that could have given you three jumps.  You have the power, but you act meek.

It has been said that no one really knows a person until they live together for a while.  If you’ve been married for a while then you’ve probably gotten to know your spouse better than almost anyone else, with the exception perhaps of parents.  You know their fears, their quirks, their hurts.  At any time, you could bring up a fear of theirs and excoriate them with it.  In a sudden burst of anger, you could hit them right where it hurts.  You have the power in your hands (or in your head and heart), but what will you do with that power?

The argument goes, but if I don’t he will. . .  If I don’t, she’s going to. . .  Jesus took this beatitude out of Psalm 37: “But the humble will inherit the land and will enjoy abundant prosperity,” (v. 11, HCSB).  The humble, the gentle.  The prideful person would go forward to show their power and cause as much damage to another person as was caused to them–more so even!  The humble will refrain.  Notice the “but” at the beginning of that verse.  The Psalmist is comparing the humble to someone else.  Let’s quickly look at whom he is referring:
Refrain from anger and give up your rage;
do not be agitated–it can only bring harm.

For evildoers will be destroyed,
but those who put their hope in the LORD
will inherit that land.
A little while, and the wicked
  person will be no more;
though you look for him, he will
  not be there.
But the humble will inherit the land
and will enjoy abundant prosperity.
Psalm 37:8-11, HCSB

The Psalmist says to give up the anger and rage, to put hope in the LORD, and humble oneself.  He actually equates the hope in the LORD with being humble (or gentle as Jesus would say).  You have the power to hit where it hurts, but rather than seek revenge out of anger, you hope in the LORD, you trust Him to take care of matters for you.  His strength is perfect.  His justice is holy and right.

All too often, husbands and wives wound each other deeply because they have been wounded.  Jesus said that those who do not wound in return will inherit the earth.  There is an inheritance waiting for those who put their hope and trust in Jesus.  There is a better feeling and a better joy than what comes from hurting those who we are supposed to love.

The next time an argument breaks out between you and your spouse (or anyone else), don’t go there.  You could go there, but don’t.  Just because you are wounded doesn’t mean you must wound as well.  Entrust yourself to Jesus’ judgment.