“He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.”
When measured from sea level, Mount Everest is indisputably the tallest mountain in the world. Its peak looms some 29,000 feet into the sky. Between 1922 and 1953, at least 13 people lost their lives attempting to reach its summit. In May of 1953, Edmund Hillary became the first to conquer the hitherto unconquerable mountain. Hillary and the mountain he managed to scale are points of departure for all sorts of interesting meditations and lessons. For instance, I heard that Hillary, after becoming famous for his monumental achievement, was asked to pose for pictures with some climbers who were thoroughly impressed by him. As they began snapping pictures, someone handed him a climber’s ice axe to pose with. As the story goes, a passerby who hadn’t the slightest clue who Hillary was stopped to “correct” him on how to “properly” hold the tool. After being shown how “a real climber” would hold an ice axe, Hillary thanked the passerby and the man continued on his way. Hillary’s attitude is both touching and commendable just because it reflects in some way the humble, patient, and kind heart of Jesus, Who, in the days of His earthly ministry, endured all sorts of stupidity from people who simply didn’t know any better. God is love (1 John 4:8) and love is humble; love “suffereth long, and is kind,” love “envieth not,” love “vaunteth not itself (is not boastful or proud), is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5a). “Before honor is humility,” says the proverb, and this maxim came to stupendous expression in the life and redemptive work of our Lord. Though He was by nature eternally very God of very God, at a point in time He nevertheless humbled Himself and added a human nature to His Person. This amazing step of condescension continued still further as He fulfilled His Father’s will, being obedient to Him even to the point of dying a humiliating death on a Roman cross. “Before honor is humility,” therefore “God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). “Learn of me,” said Jesus, “for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29). If we follow the Lord’s example of selfless obedience, God assures us that we too will be exalted in due time (1 Peter 5:6). May the Lord help us to walk even as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6), honoring God in all we do, for His glory and for the good of others. Amen and amen.