Let’s make it clear from the beginning that it is only God that exalts – 1 Samuel 2:7; for God is our glory and the lifter of our head – Psalm 3:3. The Bible says that promotion comes neither from the East nor west nor south but from God – Psalms 75:6. It is God who decides who He wants to favour and promote; He said, “Jacob have I chosen” – Romans 9:13, and that He will show mercy on whom He will show mercy – Romans 9:15. So, it is not of him that wills or runs but of God that shows mercy – Romans 9:16.
However, besides the grace of God coming upon a man and shattering protocols and laid down procedures, life is largely based on principles. God created the universe and laid down several principles that guide and rule it, even without His intervention. And in the scriptures, you’ll find tons and tons of them, and when applied surely yield great results. For example, there is the principle of sowing and reaping. This law states that whatever you plant and nurture will produce after its kind, most times, with results far greater than the size and/or number of seeds you planted. And this happens independent of God’s intervention.
A few weeks ago, we explored the five principles of green pasture, which states that if a shepherd grows the pasture, keeps it green, makes it taste good, makes it comfortable and locates it beside still waters, he’ll attract and retain his sheep.
Today, we begin an important dive into the principles of exaltation and honour. In this series, we are going to explore the ten divine paths to exaltation and honour.
Every human in some measure desires and seeks after exaltation and honour. People want to be recognised for who they are and whatever they think they have accomplished. They want to exercise some influence and command some respect. This desire isn’t ungodly if properly channelled and if the honour coming from its answer is used in the right way.
But what is the path that guarantees the accomplishment of this desire?
Definition of exaltation and honour.
The term exalt in our context is the Hebrew word ruwm which means to be high, exalted. Basically, it means either ‘the state of being on a higher plane’ or ‘movement in an upward direction.’ So, to exalt is to bring to a place of honour. It could be used to signify when someone else lifts a person’s head, and in this case, it’d mean to mark with distinction; to place in a position of strength. It is to promote, to be high, to rise or raise.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word exalt as to raise in rank, character, or status; to elevate. It also means to glorify, praise, or honour.
Honour on the other hand signifies, according to the American heritage dictionary, high respect, as that shown for special merit; esteem. To have a good name; reputation; a mark, token, or gesture of respect or distinction.
So, here are the ten proven paths to getting to a place of exaltation, praise and glory; to be promoted. I’ll briefly highlight each, reserving a deeper dive into them in a later series.
One of the surest ways of moving in an upward direction and reaching a position of prominence is through humility. One word that comes to mind whenever you hear humility is the word ‘humus’ which means earth, the ground. And actually, the Latin origin of humility is humilitas (umiltà in the Italian language) a noun related to the adjective humilis, which may be translated as “humble”, but also as “grounded”, or “from the earth”, since it derives from humus (earth). So, we can rightly say that to be humble is to be on the ground or close to the ground.
Illustration with a corn of wheat
A perfect illustration of death to self, to pride, to ego and so of humility is the example of the corn of wheat – John 12:24. Jesus talking about his sacrificial death said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it dies, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
Now, we don’t fully comprehend how all the mechanisms behind the multiplicity that takes place when one seed is planted; we simply see the plumule, growth, fruiting and we harvest. We can’t fully explain how the soil nutrients, water, sun, carbon dioxide work together to make such multiplicity possible, but we see the results – multiplicity.
Besides the theme of sacrifice (which we’ll return to later in this series), another thing you’d observe is the decision, the willingness to fall to the ground. That is humility. Leaving his exalted position to come below the level of sinners showed humility on the part of Christ. And certainly, we can see the yield of such humility – the salvation of millions of sinners, of which I’m chief.
But it doesn’t stop there because, in Philippians 2:5-11, we see this: “ 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
The above verse shows us that humility is a sure path to exaltation. The reward for Christ’s unparalleled humility was his exaltation above every name, knee and tongue.
The parable of the wedding feast
Another illustration is the parable of the wedding feast. In Luke 14:7-11, we read, “And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; and he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.
But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
The above parable lends further credence to the fact that humility guarantees exaltation by God and by men. Basically, Jesus is saying that we shouldn’t strive to be seen and praised by men. Rather we should seat in obscurity as it were. That the path to being known is to seek to be unknown; the best way to be recognised is to hide from recognition; the sure way to be praised by men is to be modest.
The late Dr John Lightfoot, an English rabbinical scholar, in his commentary on Luke 14:7-11, wrote this interesting parable “There were three persons invited to a feast, a prince, a wise man, and an ordinary person: the wise man sat next to the prince. Being asked by the king why he did so; he answered, ‘because I’m a prince; the other ‘Because I am a wise man”; and the lowest, ‘because I’m a humble man.’ The king seated the humble man highest and put the prince lowest.”
God exalts the humble
All these illustrations lend credence to the truth that humility and self-denial are better than pride and showmanship.
Before honour is humility – Proverbs 15:33; 18:12 and pride and haughty spirit precede the destruction of the carrier.
God abases the proud and exalts the humble – Matthew 23:12. He abased satan – Isaiah 14:12-15. He abased the sons of David and exalted the humble Solomon, which could be seen in his prayers after the sacrifice – 1 Kings 3:5-9.
Humility leads to life, riches and honour – Proverbs 22:4; brings forgiveness, healing and blessings from God – 2 Chronicles 7:14-15; makes you the greatest in the kingdom of heaven – Matthew 18:4 and guarantees exaltation James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6.
Job humbled himself and repented, and his family and wealth were restored. Job 42:2-6, 10-12.
God dwells on high with the person that has a humble spirit – Isaiah 57:15.
If you want to rise to a position of praise and honour, seek and practice humility.
Thanks for reading. Please make sure to check out other articles on this blog. God bless and see you soon with the next on this series.