Benefits of Humility
14 July 2019 PM – 1 Kings 21:17-29 – Humility – Scott Childs
Introduction: No one is born humble. Our sinful natures lean toward selfish pride making humility is one of the most difficult virtues to develop. Humility does not just happen, yet it is very beneficial.
When facing God’s judgment, wicked King Ahab humbled himself and even he experienced benefits of humility. (Read text)
Transition: This evening I want us to note three benefits of humility from this account in King Ahab’s life.
The first benefit of humility we note is that …
1. Humility Always Replaces Pride
Humility and pride are opposites and cannot exist together. A proud person is not humble and a humble person is not proud.
a. Pride is self-centeredness
1) Ahab was self-centred not God-centred.
a) He wanted Naboth’s vineyard even though God said Naboth should never sell his inheritance, v.3.
b) Ahab selfishly pouted when he didn’t get his way, v.4.
c) Ahab let Jezebel plot and kill Naboth so that he could get his vineyard, v.5-15.
d) Ahab went to take possession of the vineyard he wanted, v.16.
2) Ahab thought only of himself. He never considered Naboth’s feelings. He was a selfish bully. He never considered God’s will. The Psalmist wrote, (Psalms 10:4) “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.”
3) Charles Buck in his Theological Dictionary said, Pride is unreasonable self-esteem, attended with disrespect and rude treatment of others. The proud man is naturally wrapped up in his own importance, often speaks to make his audience feel their inferiority. Pride manifests itself by praising ourselves, adorning our persons, and attempting to appear before others in a superior light.
4) We display pride when we draw attention to ourselves after scoring a goal or do something notable.
b. The main consequence of pride is God’s resistance
1) God had tolerated Ahab’s wickedness for years, but his prideful disregard for Naboth and the laws of God was the last straw. God sent Elijah to drop His prophetic “bomb” on Ahab, v.17-24.
a) Ahab would die and the dogs would lick his blood.
b) Ahab’s family would be killed and eaten by dogs and birds.
c) Jezebel would die and the dogs would eat her.
2) God hates pride and the consequence of pride is God’s resistance. (James 4:6) “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” Note some of the results of God resisting or working against the proud.
a) (Proverbs 11:2) “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.”
b) (Proverbs 16:5) “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.”
c) (Proverbs 16:18) “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
d) (Daniel 4:37) “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.”
3) When humility exists, it always replaces pride. They cannot exist together.
The second benefit of humility we note is that …
2. Humility Always Changes Conduct
a. Humility is a change in the heart
1) Humility always begins in the heart. A humble person gets off the throne of his heart and lets God sit on it.
2) Though we have no record of Ahab’s verbal confession, his actions revealed a change of heart.
b. Humility produces a change in one’s actions
1) Ahab’s actions showed his humility.
a) He rent his clothes – a sign of grief.
b) He put sackcloth upon his flesh – a sign of mourning. Sackcloth was a course, thick cloth made from black goat’s hair and used for bags and tents.
c) He fasted – a willingness to do without food.
d) He lay in sackcloth to set aside the comforts of soft bedding.
e) He went softly. This may mean he went barefoot or that he guarded his words, actions and attitudes in attempt to calm the anger of God.
2) I like how Charles Buck describes humility. He said,
a) It consists in not attributing to ourselves any excellence or good which we have not.
b) It consists in not over-rating any thing we do.
c) It consists in not taking an immoderate delight in ourselves.
d) It consists in not assuming more of the praise of a quality or action than belongs to us.
e) It consists in an inward sense of our many imperfections and sins.
f) It consists in ascribing all we have and are to the grace of God.
g) A humble person will have a modest appearance, modest pursuits, a modest way of life and a modest behaviour.
3) A humble person will see himself as God sees him.
4) Jeremiah penned these words of God. (Jeremiah 9:23-24) “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”
The third benefit of humility we note is that …
3. Humility Always Pleases God
a. God may withhold judgment
1) Ahab was a wicked king who was reared by a wicked father, King Omri. He married the wicked Baal-worshipping Gentile, Jezebel, who stirred him up to work wickedness in the sight of God, v.25. He did not change after the draught and Elijah prayed down fire on Mt. Carmel. As far as we can tell, he was wicked through and through, yet the heart of God was touched by his humility.
2) Ahab’s humility was sincere. We know this because God said so, v.29.
3) Because of Ahab’s humility, God modified His plans, v.29.
4) Those who truly humble themselves before God today can expect God to take note. While pride robs God of His rightful glory, humility gives God the glory He deserves as our Creator, Sustainer and Sovereign.
b. God may lift up the humble
1) In the story of the Pharisee and publican praying in the temple, Jesus said, (Luke 18:13-14) “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon 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 every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
2) (James 4:10) “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
3) (Proverbs 29:23) “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.”
4) (Proverbs 11:2) “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.”
Conclusion: Ahab did not humble himself until threatened by God. While that is a good time for humility, a better time is before the consequences of pride destroy our lives.
Humility is having a right view of God’s sovereignty and seeing ourselves as God sees us – nothing more, but nothing less. It is giving God all the glory and praise for every ability that He has allowed us to have. The benefit of humility is God’s blessings. The way up in God’s sight is bow down and give Him the glory for every ability He gives us.
Song: Only a Sinner, 474