To Be Abased, or to Be Exalted? (Part 1 of 2)

At the end of pride is a great fall!  After humility, there is honor.

June 28, 2020

"And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."

Matthew 23:12

Part 1

Jesus faithfully taught the crowds of people thronging to see Him in Israel.  In this chapter of Matthew, He teaches both the people and His disciples (Matthew 23:1).  He lays out the truth before them, and this time the subject of His lesson is the Pharisees (Matthew 23:2-36).  These religious leaders were famous for their hypocrisy and leading their people astray.  They claimed to know the Word of God, but as Jesus explains, they mostly missed the point of what the scriptures said.

Our verse for today was aimed at the Pharisees, but hopefully, we can humbly learn its truth from the Master.

“And whosoever shall exalt himself.”
This truth can apply to anyone, “whosoever.”  Whoever gets proud and puffs himself/herself up.  Jesus saw pride in the Pharisees and pointed it out.  They refused to change.

“The possession of humility is the first requisite in entering the kingdom of heaven,…and the absence of it made the Pharisees the murderers of the King!”[1]

But the proud will not last forever, their crash will come.

“Shall be abased.”
After pride, there is always a fall.

Remembering one of Aesop’s fables from childhood recalls the humble ox and the proud toad.  They met one day on a country road, and the toad looked up in amazement to the mountain-sized ox and exclaimed,

“I’m as big as you are!”

The ox looked down and kept chewing his cud and said,

“Oh really?”

To which the toad became very annoyed, so, he took a deep breath and puffed himself up as big as he could get.

“Now I’m as big as you are,” he said.

The ox just sighed and shrugged his shoulders.  The ambitious toad took another deep breath to make himself even bigger!

“How about now,” he asked?

The ox just shook his head.  The toad was determined to match the ox’s size and took another deep breath.  He had never puffed himself up so large in his whole life.  The patient ox just looked at him and grinned.  And the toad took another deep breath and another!  The toad was so big that his skin looked like a stretched balloon.

“Now I’m as big as you,” he exclaimed!

But the ox just took another bite of the fresh grass.  Not to be topped, the toad opened his mouth and gulped down the biggest breath yet!  Then he said,

“Now I’m as… BAAM!

And the proud little toad popped, just like a balloon with too much air inside!

We can see the humor in Aesop’s tale, but the pride in a proud human being is nothing to laugh at.  Mary, Jesus’ mother, in her praise to her Lord and God said,

“He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  He hath put down the mighty from their seats and exalted them of low degree” (Luke 1:51-52).

The time is coming when the proud will fall.

What about the humble?  Come back tomorrow, and let’s see what God has for them.


Quote:  “Humility is something we should constantly pray for, yet never thank God that we have”[2] (M.R. De Hann).




[1] Popular New Testament, a popular commentary on the New Testament, the electronic version in eSword.
[2] M.R. De Hann quote.  Downloaded: Tuesday, June 23, 2020. From: