31st Sunday Ordinary Time – Humbled & Exalted #2
Exalted: “To exalt, be exalted” comes from hypsao, Let’s take a look at how it has to do with pride & arrogance: It seems that contentment, the feeling of power that comes from self-inflation, haughtiness, and self-worship / idolatry all fuel self-exaltation.
Hosea 13:6 When I fed them, they were satisfied; they were satisfied, and their heart was proud [exalted]; therefore they forgot me.
Obadiah 3 Your proud heart has deceived you, you that live in the clefts of the rock, whose dwelling is in the heights. You say in your heart, “Who will bring me down to the ground?”
Jeremiah 48:29 We have heard of the pride of Moab— he is very proud— of his loftiness, his pride, and his arrogance, and the haughtiness of his heart.
Ezekiel 28:2 Mortal, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord God: Because your heart is proud and you have said, “I am a god; I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas,” yet you are but a mortal, and no god, though you compare your mind with the mind of a god.
When folks confess pride, I usually ask about feelings of inferiority, emptiness, inadequacy, or unworthiness fuel the need to act proud. It’s so dang difficult to be vulnerable!
Humbled: Tapeinoo means “to humble, crush, subdue, humiliation, & made low.” Samson was humbled finally when he told Delilah the secret of his strength. Grief expresses humiliation. Pride (and inferiority) lead to humiliation. The mountains (where the People of God offered infant sacrifices to Baal) are to be made low!!!
Judges 16:5f (NRSV) — 5 The lords of the Philistines came to her and said to her, “Coax him, and find out what makes his strength so great, and how we may overpower him, so that we may bind him in order to subdue him; and we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.” 6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me what makes your strength so great, and how you could be bound, so that one could subdue you.”
Psalm 38:7–9 (NRSV) — 7 For my loins are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am utterly spent and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart. 9 O Lord, all my longing is known to you; my sighing is not hidden from you.
Proverbs 29:23 (NRSV) — 23 A person’s pride will bring humiliation, but one who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
Isaiah 2:7–9 (NRSV) — 7 Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots. 8 Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made. 9 And so people are humbled, and everyone is brought low—
Isaiah 40:3f (NRSV) — 3 A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
When I experience truth that reveals to me where I am, I do experience humiliation. Sometimes humility. I am brought low to see how, for example, the truth of how I need to be right fuels lots of stuff for me. You?