Humbling Ourselves

Learning to Bow the Knee Before Disaster

Exodus 10


Pastor Craig Ledbetter

DATE: 9 Nov, 2008 AM

PLACE: Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.        Introduction – THE Most Fundamental Need of Mankind – Humility


A.      An Abused Concept.


1.       Almost all religions promote the need for humility

2.       But everyone knows that there seems to be only two kinds of humility in people:


a.       False Humility – a show, an act, a religious façade that is worn only at church, or at funerals, but not at home

b.       Forced Humility – only yielding because someone is bigger and stronger, not because it is right


3.       When people think of a humble Jesus, they think of a wimpy, weak, failure – nothing could be further from the truth!


B.      A Biblical Concept (1Petr 5:6) “humble yourselves…”


1.       Definition:


a.       Humility is freedom from pride and arrogance

b.       A pattern of thought that is empty of self, and full of God, and then others

c.        The Bible refers to it as “lowliness of mind” – instead of highminded, and superiority

d.       A deep sense of one's own unworthiness in the sight of God

e.        Easy submission to God’s will.


2.       Example:


a.       The disciples had been disputing who would be the greatest in the kingdom, and had agreed to ask the Master (Matt 18:1-4).

b.       He set a child in their midst and said, "Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, shall be exalted. "

c.        So, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" What will be the chief distinction in the heavenly kingdom? The chief glory of heaven, the true heavenly-mindedness, the chief of the graces, is humility. "He that is least among you, the same shall be great. "


C.      A Priority Need – Apply this word to…


1.       In the Family


a.       Marriage - Instead of two people considering each other, each considers their own needs first, and the other’s last. You end up with fights, bitterness, and revenge

b.       Parenting – Instead of yielding to our parent’s God-given authority, we seek our own way – and it ends up in fights, bitterness, and a whole load of pain


2.       In the Nations


a.       We live in a nation of selfish people, who only want to gratify and satisfy themselves through entertainment and fun

b.       Driven by coveteousness and greed

c.        Almost no one waits for marriage today

d.       Almost no one cares about God, and about His will

e.        Most young people have tried drugs because they can’t imagine living without a high

f.        Jesus said, life is found in the LOW!


3.       At the Workplace


a.       We have too many “chiefs” and too few servants

b.       So many can’t handle the thought that they are not praised all the time

c.        They do not work for God, the work for gold


4.       In Worship


a.       Almost no one comes to Church in need of GOD

b.       Too many come in need of a blessing

c.        HEY! The path to blessing is through humbleness of spirit

d.       Our church, and all churches need humility in its people


D.      Without it…


1.       There can be no salvation of a soul – it is THAT important! Heaven is filled only with humble people (Isa 57:15)

2.       Without it, there can be no Holy Spirit Power in our lives – He only empowers yielded, tender hearts

3.       Without it, our children will only reflect the works of the flesh and self-destruct: divorce is rampant because of parental failure to humble themselves in front of their children

4.       Without it, Churches are only entertainment stations, trying to keep everybody happy, instead of everybody endeavouring to keep GOD happy


E.      It is Commanded – Humble Yourselves!

F.       It is Blessed


1.       "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Luke 14:11, 18:14.

2.       "God giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He shall exalt you." Jas. 4:10.

3.       "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. "1 Pet.5:6


G.      Our need once again, is to learn to bow the knee, before Almighty God, and humble ourselves – not seeking success, and praise, but seeking to have a tender heart towards God, so that GOD can grant success and praise!

H.      To learn this, let’s go to the second most proud and stubborn person in the Bible, and learn how to humble ourselves, the right way! Pharaoh of Egypt


1.       Egypt was the world empire of the day

2.       Pharaoh saw himself as a god

3.       Pharaoh saw himself as perfect, and always right

4.       Pharaoh saw the whole world as his to rule and conquer

5.       Pharaoh thought all gods were his to manipulate and direct

6.       So, when Moses shows up, there was going to be a very rude awakening


II.      Message


A.      God Exposes the Heart (Ex 10:1; Proverbs 17:3)


1.       God’s Normal Effect on People - God’s effect on people is that He usually hardens people’s hearts


a.       Jesus upset a lot of people didn’t He? The Pharisees, the proud, the liars, the hypocrites, the fakers, the rich.

b.       Jesus actually hardened many of them against Himself – even though that was not His intention.

c.        Some people loved Him – they were the broken ones, the empty ones, the “poor in spirit, the meek already”

d.       Most people wanted to stone Him, or shove Him off a cliff

e.        The truth is, most people reject and resist God’s influence on their lives (Gen 6:3,5-7,12-13)

f.        In Pharaoh’s situation, God was simply exposing what was already in Pharaoh’s heart - hardness


2.       But…

a.       Sometimes, He opens people’s hearts like He did Lydia’s in Acts 16:14

b.       Sometimes, He is able to help soften people’s hearts


1)       As with David (1Sam 24:5)

2)       As with young Josiah (2Kings 22:19)

3)       As with Manasseh (2Chron 33:12)


c.        BUT, ONLY when the person allows it! And usually, only because of calamity and troubles


1)       All of us are born proud and stubborn towards God. We are not good – never have been, and never will be good

2)       Most people get saved when in times of trouble and distress – not when things are going good for us!


3.       So God applies pressure


a.       First just the pressure of preaching His commandments – His Word

b.       Then, bit by bit, the pressure of disasters – the Plagues

c.        You see, the moment we become PROUD of heart, is when God HAS to break us – a spiritual law (James 4:6)


4.       And Pharaoh reacts to God’s pressure by applying resistance back – a natural response, until you realise that the pressure against you is from a locomotive, and therefore quite stupid!!!

5.       What we need to do is just humble our self, under whatever the hand of God is allowing into our life.


B.      God Waits on Rebels (Ex 10:1-3)


1.       He will be glorified no matter what we do


a.       Either by our willing obedience and praise

b.       Or by His awesome strength and might in breaking us


2.       No one wins against God!

3.       Yet, the greater truth is that God seeks to let us win


a.       But only through US losing, do we actually win!

b.       God honours us by seeking to get us broken, humbled – that is the only good thing we can ever do!

c.        God only blesses the humble in spirit - never the proud!


4.       God offered the opportunity for Pharaoh to humble himself – isn’t that awesome!?

5.       So, God “works” with us – He ought to judge and destroy all hard hearted people, but He waits on us, and works on our hearts

6.       According to the Bible, in 2Peter 3:9, God is not willing that ANY should perish! According to Ezek 33:11, “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”


C.      The First Responsibility of Man (Ex 10:3) – to Humble Himself


1.       It is a command – a requirement by God to be able to work together

2.       To humble our self means:


a.       Take every opportunity of humbling yourself before God and man

b.       Yield to doing things God’s ordained way – not MY way, or my wife’s way, or my children’s way

c.        Act with God’s authority, and in His name – not your own. Moses and Aaron were being humble as they stood firm in front of Pharaoh

d.       Be quick to say you are sorry, and ask forgiveness


3.       Pharaoh shows us that it is not that easy of a thing to do!

4.       Hey! It is MUCH better to humble ourselves, than to have to BE HUMBLED!

5.       By the way, those who hold grudges, you are even more rebellious when you won’t forgive! That’s a whole other message, but OH SO IMPORTANT! I believe a lot of us don’t humble ourselves because we don’t find people quick to forgive! I people found us quick to forgive, maybe they would be quicker to humble themselves! Just a thought!


D.      The Results of Rebellion (Ex 10:4-11)


1.       Rebellion will result in the Destruction and loss of what you have (Luke 14:11)


a.       The entire nation of Egypt was lying in ruins


1)       Water contamination – full of death and blood

2)       Frogs had defiled every square foot of every home, in food boxes, under bed sheets, in presses and in clothes piles

3)       Lice had infected every head and scalp

4)       Flies had contaminated all the food throughout the land

5)       Pestilence (diseases) now were rampant, and people were now dying left and right!

6)       Boils covered everyone’s bodies

7)       Hail mixed with fire destroyed most of the crops


b.       And there were three more plagues ready to come, IF Pharaoh didn’t stop hardening his heart, and finally gave in to God’s way of doing things, and God’[s right to govern the affairs of man

c.        Take a look and calculate what your stubbornness has cost you:


1)       Your health

2)       Your ability to work a job

3)       Your relationship with your wife or your husband

4)       Your family

5)       Your ability to sleep at night

6)       Your savings


2.       Rebellion will result in only partial obedience


a.       Pharaoh’s heart just would not let God win

b.       Even though Pharaoh KNEW God had won, he still wanted to act like HE has some say still – some authority

c.        Partial obedience is not obedience


3.       Rebellion will result in HATRED of the messenger


a.       Notice: God uses human instruments – He doesn’t write His will in the sky, or in a vision; He uses simple people to show Himself and His will


1)       Hatred in the home is a hatred of GOD, not of the partner, or parent

2)       Hatred of the Bible is an hatred of Almighty God


b.       Here, God uses Moses and Aaron – Pharaoh resists them and therefore resists GOD

c.        Jeremiah (2Chron 36:12)

d.       Preachers experience rejection – God says, “they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me”

e.        Words in a Bible – reject them, despise them, ignore them, and you are ignoring GOD

f.        A Gospel Tract – only a piece of paper, but God uses them to get the Gospel out, and on the basis that someone rejects what they read, they will end up in hell!

g.        Your wife – reminding you what God says!

h.       Your children – just speaking simple truths

i.         Your husband – trying to do God’s will



4.       Hey! There are NO good results of being stubborn, and hard hearted!


E.       The Blessing of a Tender Heart Towards God (Ex 10:16-19)


1.       God promises to exalt us – how much higher could Pharaoh been exalted if he had only humbled himself before God?

2.       Answered Prayer!


a.       Pharaoh asked that God would remove the punishment, and God answered it

b.       Even at the attempt of humility, God moves back towards us to help us


3.       A tender heart, broken, soft heart will easily result in the Salvation of a wicked sinner’s soul (Luke 18:13,14)

4.       Soft hearted people will bring blessing to a home, a community, entire nations


F.       The Curse of Not Getting and Staying Soft (Ex 10:20)


1.       It is only going to get harder to soften your heart

2.       It is only going to cost you more

3.       It is only going to spread further – you thought it was just between you and God, but your stubbornness will affect your family, and even your grandchildren, all the way to the forth generation!

4.       You yourself will end up being destroyed!


a.       Ruined lives are the norm today!

b.       Do you really think that THAT is what God wants?

c.        Nope! It’s what the father of pride wants though!


III.   Application – How to Humble Yourself


A.      Understand the Softness of the Heart towards God is Most Important.


1.       The most valuable part of you is your heart – the place where you love and worship

2.       Money matters nothing. Houses matter nothing. Business has no value – compared to the value of a heart

3.       All our problems in life come from the heart

4.       Wouldn’t it be great to get a fix for the heart?


B.      Decide that humility is your very first duty before God.


1.       Instead of praying for God to fix your heart, why not humble yourself so that God CAN fix your heart! You and I are most often in the way of God’s surgical hands!

2.       Humility actually is the best way to protect your heart – by making it most vulnerable, most soft, you are inviting GOD to come and surround and protect such a rare and priceless treasure!

3.       Desire to be soft hearted, no matter what it costs you!


C.      Accept with gratitude everything that God allows in your life.


1.       Whether it is from within or without

2.       Whether it is from friend or enemy

3.       Whether it is normal or abnormal

4.       Let everything always remind you of your need of humbling, and let everything you experience help you humble yourself.


D.      Believe that God’s Promise is Certain (James 4:6):


1.       He that humbleth himself shall be exalted!

2.       So, do the one thing God asks: humble yourself. That’s all God wants.

3.       God will see to it that He does the one thing He has promised. He will give more grace; He will exalt you in due time.


E.       Sorrow Easily (Ecclesiastes 7:3)


1.       The man, the woman, the teenager who does not have periods where they weep over the hardness of their hearts towards their own parents, towards their pastor, towards their husband, or wife… will only become harder

2.       Ecc 7:3  “Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.” Don’t mock sin and stubbornness. By being sorry, you will only be blessed

3.       Be quick to soften under pressure


a.       Not become a wimp

b.       But get back on track with doing things God’s way, and in obedience to God’s word


4.       The publican worshipped with a soft heart that was broken over his own sin. The Pharisee saw nothing wrong with himself

5.       King David sorrowed and was sorry for the sins he committed against Bathsheba and her husband Uriah, and it saved his life!


F.       Serve Gladly – not Grumbly!


1.       Be the servant of all – not that you will be locked into slavery, but that the Lord will exalt you, and raise you up, and He will praise you Himself

2.       Go out of your way to spend and be spent for others, especially if they cannot pay you back

3.       It will keep your heart soft and tender, and it will keep God blessing and honouring you more than all the money the world can afford!


IV.    Conclusion

A.      THE Most Fundamental Need of Mankind is to humble ourselves!

B.      It may be an Abused Concept.

C.      But it is a Biblical Concept (1Peter 5:6)

D.      THE Priority Need everywhere!

E.       Without it there is no hope for anyone

F.       It is Commanded – Humble Yourselves!

G.      It is HARD!

H.      It is Blessed!

I.        I have taught you some things to do to help you humble yourselves. You have seen the danger of not humbling your hearts, and softening your hearts.

J.        Start today, and just humble yourself, under whatever the hand of God is allowing into your life