Humility is a noun. Someone has humility. Humble is a verb. God chose to tell us 70 times to 'humble' ourselves. If you told your child to do something 70 times would it be important? Would you mean it? Would you expect it to be done? Of course you would.
The verses where we are told to 'humble' ourselves, are followed with a promise. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt in due time. I Peter 5:6.
Be sure to note that it is God who exalts the humble. When a person feels that he deserves to be exalted, he is in for a shock. And whosoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 14:11.
So why do we exalt ourselves? PRIDE. We rely in our talents, intelligence, and judgement. We begin to think we are self-sufficient and able to run our own lives. We believe that we deserve to be honored. It would be difficult to find a better example in the Bible than Haman. Oh, how Haman loved himself. He must have been a good politician. He was able to talk the king into passing a law that everyone must bow when he walked by. Let's tell the story in a short version:
- Esther is taken to the king's palace.
- Mordecai learns of a plot to kill the king.
- He tells Esther.
- Esther tells the king.
- Haman gets promoted.
- At Haman's request, King writes law ordering subjects to bow when Haman appears.
- Mordecai refuses to bow.
- Haman decides to have Mordecai and his entire race killed.
- Haman has gallows built to kill the Jews.
- Mordecai finds out.
- He tells Esther.
- Esther goes before the king.
- She invites the king and Haman to a banquet.
- After banquet, the king can't sleep.
- The king learns of Mordecai's loyalty.
- The king seeks Haman's advice.
- Haman suggests a ridiculous display to honor a loyal subject--thinking it is himself who will be honored.
- The king and Haman attend a second banquet with Esther.
- Esther exposes the plot.
- Haman is hanged at the gallows he had built for Mordecai.
When I think of times in my own life when things didn't go well, I know the way I handled the situation was because of pride. Why didn't I just do this or that? Pride. Why didn't I say I was sorry? Pride. Why did I say such a hurtful thing? Pride.
God's word tells us what happens to the person with pride. A proud and haughty man--"Scoffer" is his name; He acts with arrogant pride. Proverbs 21:24. A man's pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor. Proverbs 29:23 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18.
What happens when pride is around? When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2 By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom. Proverbs 13:10.