Together in Christ: 'Humility Comes Before Honor' — Proverbs 18:11-12

Thursday, October 3, 2024

The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale. Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.
— Proverbs 18:11-12 NLT

Key Thought

In recent years, we have seen a lot of money lost in the stock markets, crypto-currency, and land speculation. This doesn't count the vast financial resources lost to the pandemic, petroleum cost fluxations, the war in Ukraine, and inflation. Even many so-called "safe" investments that earned 1-2% return these last three years lost anywhere from 8-20% in real value due to inflation, supply chain issues, and the devil who always gets into the details of an economic down-turn to harm as many people as possible. The "fortified city" with its "wall too high to scale" of many who felt financially secure is actually now revealed for what it is: a false sense of security built on an unsure foundation.

We can all be like the foolish person James — the half-brother of Jesus — addresses:

Look here, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit." How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it's here a little while, then it's gone. What you ought to say is, "If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that." Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. [1]

James' solution to this arrogance and dependence upon fleeting power and temporary things [2] sounds very similar to our verse for today:

And [God]  
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you.

Wealth and power don't necessarily mean someone is evil or foolishly trusting in their wealth and power to secure their future. Such people can be humble and honorable. However, to pursue wealth and power thinking they ensure our security for the future is arrogant and rooted in the sense that we can control what is uncontrollable about life. Such arrogance is "haughty" and often precedes "a downfall".

When we seek friends, we need to look for humble and honorable people. When we hold up people to be heroes, they need to be willing to serve others humbly as Jesus did. [4] The greatest in Jesus' Kingdom is the one willing to serve all and appear to be last in the world's pecking order. [5] On the day when the Lord Jesus returns, the arrogant and haughty will be brought down, and God will recognize those who lived by Jesus' standards as both honorable and victorious! [6]
[1] James 4:13-16. Our devotional series follows the traditional conservative belief that James was a great leader of the church in Jerusalem after he met the resurrected Jesus and overcame his early unbelief — Mark 6:1-3; John 7:1-5; 1 Corinthians 15:1-7; Acts 12:17, 15:13-19.
[2] Matthew 6:19-20.
[3] James 4:6-8.
[4] Luke 22:24-27; John 13:1-17.
[5] Matthew 6:6, 17-18, 19:29, 25:31-46.

Today's Prayer

Loving Father and the one true and almighty God, I ask you to humble me gently and conform me to the example of Jesus who served others when He deserved to be served. Open my heart to receive what my head believes: The greatest in God's Kingdom is a servant. O, Holy Spirit, help me as I seek to live into this principle daily. I pray this in the authority of the name of the risen Christ, my Savior.

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 13:1-17
  • Luke 22:24-27


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Illustration of Proverbs 18:11-12 NLT — The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale. Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.