#DailyDevotion Do You Humble Yourself Before God?
Luke 189Jesus told this parable to some who were sure they were righteous and so looked down on everyone else: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed by himself: ‘God, I thank You I’m not like the other people: robbers, wrongdoers, adulterers, or even like that tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all my income.’ 13“But the tax collector, standing a distance away, wouldn’t even look up to heaven but was beating his chest and saying, ‘God, forgive me, a sinner! 14“I tell you, this man, and not the other, went home justified [declared free from his sin]. Everyone who honors himself will be humbled; but if you humble yourself, you will be honored.”
So apparently Jesus doesn’t like us looking down on other sinners. That would be called judging. Rebuking people when they sin isn’t judging. Thinking you are better than other people because you don’t commit their particular sins is though. Well, there were some people in Jesus’ company who were sure they were righteous and looked down on everyone else. I seriously wonder sometimes if they just ignored scripture passages that say, “There is no one who is good, no not one” or “all our righteousness is but filthy rags before you” or “every inclination of their hearts is evil from birth.” If God’s word says these things about everyone, how on earth do any of us who pay attention to it ever think we can look down on anyone?
In any case, in the parable Jesus tells there was a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee (being someone who separates himself from the profane) prays by himself, “God, I thank You I’m not like the other people: robbers, wrongdoers, adulterers, or even like that tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all my income.” Well isn’t that sweet. He thanks God he isn’t like these various law breakers, sinners or even the tax collector. In one sense, one could see this not being so bad. After all, he is thanking God i.e. the reason he isn’t one of these people is due to God working in his life. And then he talks about the good that he does, fasting twice a week (not commanded by God) and tithing his income (which is commanded by God). While we might thank God we haven’t committed certain sins and thank him for working good in us, it is apparent that this Pharisee thinks it is these things that make him righteous or just in God’s eyes.
Then there is the tax collector who humbles himself before God praying, , “God, forgive me, a sinner!” Such is one whom Jesus commends us to do as he did. In his contrition, confession and repentant heart he humbles himself before God and relies solely upon God’s confession of his name, Ex. 346 “the LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, slow to get angry, rich in love and faithfulness, 7continuing to show mercy to thousands, forgiving wrong, rebellion, and sin, without treating it as innocent, but disciplining children and children’s children to the third and fourth generation for the sins of their fathers.” Trusting in the name of the Lord, the tax collector was justified before God. It wasn’t because he quit sinning or started going good but because he trusted what the Lord said about himself and he humbled himself before the Lord and confessed his total sinful self. The Lord exalts those who humble themselves and humbles those who exalt themselves.
So we too, trusting in the name of Jesus follow John’s words, 1 John 19“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, to forgive our sins and wash us clean from all unrighteousness.” Our faith in him and his promise and his work upon the cross is credited, imputed to us, as the righteousness of God. In such faith the Lord God exalts us for such faith only exist in humility.
Almighty God and Father, give us humble hearts that we may confess our sinfulness rightly and grant us faith to believe we are forgiven and declared righteous for the sake of the name of your only begotten son Jesus Christ in who name we pray. Amen.