How exciting it was for my friend to be invited to meet Queen Elizabeth at the Maundy Thursday service at Windsor Castle this year! Pam is the same age as Queen Elizabeth, ninety years old. There were opportunities for selfies or photos of any kind on this occasion, so afterwards I asked her to tell me all about it.
She found the whole service so uplifting and glorious, but had no idea what conversation took place between her and the Queen. There was a moment of anxiety, however, which threatened to spoil things. Just as the Queen got close to her, a lady came and pushed in ahead of Pam. But the officials there gently redirected Queen Elizabeth to meet Pam instead of that lady and dealt with the breach of etiquette most discreetly. Afterwards Pam was so thrilled and excited she couldn’t even get to sleep that night.
As I read about the dinner party that Jesus went to at the Pharisee’s house I noticed something similar was happening there (Luke 14:7). There were those who wanted to get themselves into the best positions and didn’t care about others. Jesus took the opportunity to teach everyone about God’s Kingdom principles, which are so vastly different from our natural instincts. It seems that Jesus was remembering and quoting from our verse for today, which comes from Proverbs, but He went on to say ‘Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted’ (Luke 14:11).
Luke tells us of another occasion when Jesus taught about pride. Jesus told a story to bring conviction to those ‘who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt’. He contrasted the heart attitude of the Pharisee, who thought he was in God’s good books, with that of a tax collector who pleaded with God for forgiveness. ‘But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted”’ (Luke 14:9-14).
James writes on the same topic, ‘Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble”’ and ‘Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you”’ (James 4:6, & 10). And Peter also writes of it; ‘Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:5-7).
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You that You showed us what God the Father is like and taught us how to get close to Him. Please help us to follow Your example when You took the place of a servant, even though You were the King. May we please You in our heart attitudes. Amen.
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