Let GO of PRIDE & let GOD EXALT us in His TIME: "'I said to the boastful, 'do not deal boastfully,' and to the wicked, 'do not lift up the horn. Do not lift up your horn on high; do not speak with a stiff neck.' For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another." (Psalms 75:4-7)
Some Bible scholars have described this psalm as a prophetic exhortation since it warns us against our proud self-dependence (v. 4). The message of this psalm is summarized in verse 7: God is the ultimate judge! God is the One who decides who gets promoted, when they get promoted, how they get promoted, and where they get promoted. Exaltation and promotion come from God alone!
It is clear that God speaks to the boastful, “Quit your bragging,” and to the wicked, “Who do you think you are? Don't be so proud, self-confident, and unbending. Do not exalt yourself with conceit.” What it means here is that no human beings should flex their muscles in the face of God. To 'lift up one’s horn' is to act arrogantly, and the 'stiff neck' is an expression of rebellion and arrogance (see Deut. 10:16). God warns the proud and the wicked not to act in this way against Him. In fact, the proud rulers may think that they are secure in their wealth and power, but it is God Almighty who sets them up and who can pull them down as well (1 Sam. 2:7–8; Dan. 4:25).
The psalmist tells us that our exaltation does not come from three places - south, east, and west – that comprise three parts of a known four-part directional quadrant. The position of north is left out of the discussion to signify to us that promotion comes from the north, which is God’s dwelling place (see Isa. 14:13). The Great King (God) sits in His mountain of Zion on the sides of the north (Ps. 48:1-2). It is clear that our promotion does not come from any human or earthly source but from God alone. God is the Supreme Ruler of the earth who puts down one and exalts another!
Let’s remember that our promotion can come from many areas of our life like ministry, marriage, in relationships, and in business. What we must realize is that when we receive promotion of any kind, it only comes from God alone, who is the giver of all the good and perfect gifts that we ever receive (James 1:17). It is God who wants to lead His children in the pathway of promotion. He has a purpose and destiny for our lives and He wants us to enter into it. Often we may go through the path of trials and tribulations in order to be shaped and refined and prepared to enter into the destiny that God has laid out ultimately for our promotion. Many people want the promotion without the painful process of growth! However, if God has to promote us, we will experience some pain but in the end God will receive the glory!
God had a plan for great patriarchs like Abraham, Joseph, David, Job, Daniel and even His Son Jesus Christ. However, their promotion came by way of a painful process, and none of them were promoted without substantial and painful testing and trials. Even before Jeremiah was born, God had a plan worked out for his life (see Jer. 1:4–5). God has foreknown us also (Eph. 1:4), and He has a wonderful plan for us that includes the promotion that He gives us. We simply need to trust God to implement His plan in our lives. Our willful obedience to what God is trying to do in and through us determines if we will be promoted or not. God wants to take us from where we are to where He wants us to be! However, there are two tests that come before our promotion:
- The test of humility: The theme of exaltation by way of humility runs throughout the Bible, from the mouth of Samuel’s mother (1 Sam. 2:8) to the heart of Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:52). We also know that "before honor is humility" (Prov. 15:33b).
- The test of faithfulness: In Matt. 24:45, Jesus said that it is the faithful and wise servant who is made ruler over the house. In Matthew 25:21, Jesus said, “If you are faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.”