1 Samuel 2:3
1st & 2nd Samuel Lesson #016
June 9, 2015
Father, we are so very grateful we can come together this evening to focus upon Your Word. Father, tonight we especially want to remember the Beaver family because this morning Bob’s brother went to be with You, and also this morning Roberta’s father went to be with you. We want to pray for them: pray for their opportunities to be a testimony during this time, especially at the funerals, and that they may be able to clarify the gospel to those they spend time with during their time back with their families. Father, we pray for us as a congregation that we might be focused upon You, and that as we continue to go through various attacks upon Christianity as our culture shifts further and further away from biblical truth (in fact more and more as those who hold to biblical truth are viewed as the enemy), we pray that You would just give us strength. May we be grace-oriented toward those who oppose us. May we be diligent in our responsibilities as citizens in this nation, to stand firm, to be involved, and to communicate with our leaders in a gracious and clear manner to encourage them along the right path. Father, tonight as we study Your Word, help us to be reminded of how great You are and how necessary it is for us to walk in dependence upon You at all times. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.
Last week we went on a great little trip; one I have wanted to go on for about thirty-five (35) to forty (40) years. I think Doctor (Dr.) Steve Austin, who some of you know because he spoke here at the Chafer conference in 2010, took one of those trips through the Grand Canyon back then for the first time. If it was not him, it was somebody else with the Institute for Creation Research. From the very first time I heard of a group going on a raft trip through the Canyon (not just for the sake of going on a raft trip) it was something that I knew I would like to do just in and of itself. I have always loved whitewater.
Some of you do not know this, but when I was young, I grew up going to Camp Peniel. Once you were fourteen you could no longer be a cabin camper. They had adventure camps which were basically canoe trips. They used to run three (3) or four (4) canoe trips down the Colorado River up above Lake Buchanan. They would put in at a little wide spot on the river at Bend, Texas, just west of Lampasas. It was about a seventy (70) mile run down to Buchanan Dam. I went on those every summer. When Mike Turnage, who is the father-in-law of Larry Hannush, (the Hannushes who have attended here at West Houston Bible Church), got a brain tumor in about 1972, and I took over for him. So for about another four (4) to five (5) years I ran those canoe trips. We went up to the Rio Grande and a lot of other places, but I always loved whitewater.
This trip was a real flashback for me. There were many similarities. The one similarity that had faded in memory was the fact that when you are doing a river trip (unless you are on the Colorado River where you only camped on one sandbar) most of the time you are camping on sandbars. If you have ever camped on the beach, then you discover that is not the brightest thing to do. As one person on the trip (Shawn) put it, “we were sandblasted and power washed”. That is a pretty good description of the trip. The rapids would be classified as a class four rapid, although they classify the rapids differently on the Grand Canyon, and one might approach a class five. They were pretty fun if you were in the front of the raft. These were motor-powered rafts, thirty-six (36) feet long and about fifteen (15) feet wide. You carried everything with you. All of your gear was in dry bags. You had all the food for the week; you had everything.
Everything you packed in, including whatever was inside of you, you also packed out in their little Porta Potty (they had one of those for each day). They would load that onto the boat, and we would carry that back. They would carry that to a septic system afterwards. Everybody has asked me, “well, what do you do about the bathroom facilities”? That has changed a lot. If you were a camper forty (40) years ago, you just went out and dug a latrine, but you cannot do that, especially in a National Park, anymore. You have to pack out everything you pack in; and they mean everything!
The trip was quite a bit of fun. It was especially fun to listen to Dr. Austin. I am not going to go into a lot of detail on the things that we learned. I am just now processing the various media we used (such as little micro-cards, videos, and pictures) to capture our time there. I have not even had enough time to think through that, and I am already in the mode where I am focusing on the Chafer Theological Seminary conference that starts next week. I am just trying to get this stuff cleaned up a little bit and hope to do a two or three lesson special on the Grand Canyon and the Noahic Flood sometime around the end of the summer. During the summer, I will show you a few little videos and pictures along the way just to reflect upon things.
We did not see any scorpions. We saw some ants, but they were not the biting kind, just the looking-for-food kind. We saw two rattlesnakes: one of the snakes was seen on the trail to the Grover (that is the fun little name they gave the latrine) and John’s sister saw that one; then there was another one that a 10-year-old boy on the trip stepped over, but I do not think the snake ever knew he was there because it was already stretched out across the trail, and never coiled or anything. They got a nice little picture of it. I will show you when I get the picture. That was some of the excitement on the trip. One night was like making camp in a sandstorm and that is always fun and tests your spiritual maturity, your focus on the Lord, and your ability to use 1 John 1:9 every one point five (1.5) seconds. That was a challenge.
We had a little Bible study that I led every morning. I was mostly going through things related to the Flood, 2 Peter chapter 3, Genesis chapters 6 through 9, and passages like that, as well as a few songs that relate to tectonic events that took place. We were connecting those. We had the Lord’s Table one morning up one of the side canyons. That was a meaningful and significant time. Then we took a couple of day hikes.
Temperatures along the river were really rather comfortable. The water temperature of the river was about fifty (50) degrees coming out of Lake Powell. It does not warm up but a little bit by the time we got out at the end of the 187-mile trek. When you are down in the raft going along the river, it is rather comfortable. You have a nice breeze blowing, and that would blow that cool air off the water, and kept it comfortable until you hit a rapid after which you would really get a chance to experience things. I thought I would show a brief minute and a half video which will show us going through the Serpentine Falls. These were probably the second or third most powerful rapids that we went through. Some how film just does not capture everything that went on, even the grandeur of the canyon. You just cannot shrink it down and really capture it when you are looking at it on film. You will get a little bit of the idea. We had a motor on the canoe and the front of it we called the “bathtub”, for obvious reasons. I have got a lot like this. I will try to pick out some of the most adventurous ones, but that was quite a thrill.
What was most significant of all was listening to Dr. Austin talk about the geology of the Grand Canyon, how it was formed from a model of looking at it from a biblical perspective, and that this was the result of a catastrophic event during the time, or following the time, of the Flood. This really creates a totally different perspective. One thing nice about Dr. Austin is that he has published a number of peer-reviewed articles in journals for geology that have been peer reviewed by evolutionists. He has had an impact in moving the debate away from where it was in the 1970s, where most geologists were still teaching that the canyon was formed over millions of years through gradual erosion. Now, it is pretty much understood by a lot of evolutionary geologists that it was formed through some catastrophe. They would say it was several different catastrophes, six or seven different catastrophes; whereas, biblically, we would say it was the result of one catastrophe related to the Noahic Flood.
When you look at Genesis chapters six (6) through eight (8), it describes the fact that the windows of heaven were opened, and the fountains of the deep burst forth. That description of the fountains of the deep would describe tremendous tectonic activity that radically changed the world from what it was before the Flood to what it is now. This probably eventuated after the Flood in a continental drift, which was probably rapid, not gradual, as well as a number of other things. It would have had massive earthquakes, volcanoes, and all manner of different kinds of catastrophic events that helped to lay down all of the sediment. I will get into that later on, but I just wanted to give you a little taste of what we went through.
We went through rapids, like the ones seen in the video, quite frequently through the whole trip. John and most of his family were along on the trip, and a number of other people. We had some folks who were regular live steamers who heard about the announcement live from watching the Chafer conference and signed up. We had a good mix of people. Bill Wright, who is usually here on Thursday nights, was there with his son and two grandsons. Several family groups were there and probably about four other families that made up most of the trip.
We are in 1 Samuel 2 (slide 2) and we are moving like lightening through this particular psalm. Tonight we probably will not get much beyond 1 Samuel 2:3. There is just so much packed into the Psalms as a whole, as well as a psalm like this. I find it fascinating to be able to study and to drill down into each of these segments to come to an understanding of what is encapsulated here. Just one point of application we see here that should be true to one degree or another with all of us as believers: obviously we are not going to be writing any psalms under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit as Hannah was, but God the Holy Spirit is not revealing this to her in a vacuum where she does not think about what has been going on as though she were to receive this information dump from the Holy Spirit and then she were to write that.
The process of inspiration, as I understand it, is that the author would be thinking and reflecting upon the events in their life. This would especially be true in the Psalms. Then, using the doctrine in their own soul, when they wrote about it that writing was overseen by the God the Holy Spirit. There may be some revelation, new information disclosed by God to the writer of Scripture during that time; however, the writer of Scripture would be writing under the guidance of God the Holy Spirit, protecting them from writing anything erroneous in the original. Then there may be disclosure of new information, which I think and have pointed out is clear from this particular prayer which we will see when we get to the end. Hannah clearly has a messianic focus. I think when we look at this whole event, what Hannah does is something that we can do in perhaps a less dynamic way; and that is to relate the microcosms of the suffering, the difficulties, and the testing that she has gone through and related to, to the overall scope of the plan of God in history.
Hannah sees her struggle, her difficulty, her testing as a barren woman, as not just something she is going through. She does not have this self-absorbed focus that we often see with a lot of Christians. In fact, one of the problems I have seen with many Christians is that they even get self-absorbed about their spiritual growth: “I have got to go to Bible class eighteen (18) times a week so that I can grow spiritually. It is all about ‘my’ spiritual growth”. You know, spiritual growth is a means to an end, and that end is to serve the Lord. It is never about you; it is never about me. My spiritual growth is not about me; it is about the Lord. We have to make sure that we do not let arrogance easily seep in, which it so easily does.
This is how legalism develops. It is because arrogance slips into what are originally very noble, virtuous motives and a desire to study the Word to know God. Then, before long, it so easily shifts from, “I want to know about God”, to, “I had better make sure I grow spiritually”. It becomes all about my spiritual growth and me. I have heard Christians talk in such a way. I am thinking that they just do not realize how arrogant they sound when they are excluding everything else in life that involves application of doctrine just so they can sit and go to Bible class. That can become a problem. Unfortunately, on the other end of the spectrum, we have a whole a lot of Christians in this country who are so distracted by the world and the cares of the world that they don’t ever take the time to submit to the teaching of God’s Word. Their arrogance manifests in a different way.
As we have seen, this poem begins with a focus on God providing the victory for Hannah. It is a victory hymn of praise focusing on God’s provision of a son to Hannah. In 1 Samuel 2:1 the focus is on how God has given her victory. In 1 Samuel 2:2, the focus is on the incomparability of God – that He is totally unique. Just to remind us, we have a general structure here (slide 3):
- We have three verses at the beginning that focus on the sovereignty of God, 1 Samuel 2:1b–3.
- Then, 1 Samuel 2:4–5 talks about how that sovereignty of God irrupts. Erupt is one thing, and irrupt is something else. It goes into human history. God penetrates human history. He changes things, and He overrides the plans of mankind. He interferes with what man wants to do out of his arrogance. That is covered in 1 Samuel 2:4–5.
- Then we return to the theme of God’s sovereignty in 1 Samuel 2:6–7.
- Again a reference to God overriding the plans of man is at the beginning of 1 Samuel 2:8a.
- A return to God’s sovereignty.
- Hannah comes to this conclusion related to how all of this fits God’s plan to provide a Messiah in human history.
1 Samuel 2:1 (slide 4) Hannah rejoices in the Lord. The focus here is on “rejoice” (slide 5), as you see in the way I have color-coded this verse:
- “Rejoice”, (she exalts the idea);
- “I open my mouth at my enemies” (she is declaring her victory over her enemies; that kind of an idea);
- Concluding in her joy at her deliverance
- “Salvation” in this verse is not related to spiritual salvation, justification, sanctification, or ultimate glorification. It is related to deliverance from her problem. The problem was the fact that she was barren and unable to give birth.
1 Samuel 2:1 focuses on (slide 6, first part):
- God is the source of our joy and our deliverance from the problems and adversities of life.
- He is the source of our strength in oppression.
- No matter what we are facing, God is the answer.
- No matter what the ultimate question is or what the ultimate problem is, God is always the answer.
In the third line of 1 Samuel 2:1 (slide 7, second part), Hannah says, “My horn is exalted” by God. I want to look at that word a minute because sometimes another word is translated “exalted”, and that is the word that we find being translated as “proudly” in 1 Samuel 2:3. “Exalted” here is the Hebrew word rawam, and that is the word that also indicates being “exalted”, but does not have the figurative sense of pride and arrogance, which our word in 1 Samuel 2:3 will have.
1 Samuel 2:2 (slide 8) focuses on the holiness of God. I did some work on this today just to see what some various Hebrew lexicons and some dictionaries said about holiness. There are two (2) nuances that are emphasized on holiness. One is moral purity. I have always had trouble with this. It may be a secondary idea in some passages, especially in the Psalms, where holy is parallel to righteousness and justice; but, the core, basic root meaning of qadosh, the word translated “holy” (qadash is the verb form), means “to be set apart to the service of God”, or “set apart to God” (slide 9).
Thus, it carries as its primary meaning the idea of being distinct or unique. That sticks because one of the variants, one of the cognates of qadosh, a masculine form of the noun as well as a feminine form of the noun, are used to describe the temple prostitutes in the fertility religions. They were obviously immoral, but their bodies were “set apart” to the service of their god. It is just that the certain way that they were serving their god was through immorality.
Here we see in the parallelism of the first line, “No one is holy like our Lord”. In the synonymous line, “there is none besides You”, what is the main idea in that second line? Uniqueness – God is one of a kind. We see that the meaning for “holy” here, as seen in the synonymous parallel, is that God is unique. He is distinct. He is one of a kind. This emphasizes His incomparability. This is stated many times in the Old Testament. We looked at these last time (slide 10), passages like Leviticus 11:44–45 (quoted in 1 Peter 1:16) “be holy; for I am holy”. This is a true statement and a command that is brought over into the New Testament. We are to live our lives as “set apart” to God.
Another word that you have in English that is a translation for part of this word group is “consecrated”. “Consecrated” has that idea. These are old words that just drip with religious overuse, and most people do not know what they mean; but even the word consecrated is defined as sacred. That clarified things for you, didn’t it? Both words go back to the idea of that which is “set apart” to the service of God. Israel (slide 11) was called to be “set apart” to the service of God. We are called to be “set apart” to the service of God. That is the purpose of Romans 12:1–2.
Then I pointed out (slide 12) that in the last line of 1 Samuel 2:2, God is ascribed the attribute of immutability, steadfastness, and faithfulness. This is all done through the metaphor of the term “rock”. Using the Hebrew word tzur, it just refers to a large rock. This is used several times, as I pointed out last time (slide 13):
Deuteronomy 32:4, “He is the Rock”
Deuteronomy 32:15, “the Rock of his salvation”
Deuteronomy 32:30, “unless their Rock had sold them”
2 Samuel (slide 14)
Here is a good picture from the Grand Canyon. I saw these as we were going down the river and I thought, “that is the picture for a slide on ‘the Rock’”.
2 Samuel 22:32, “For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?”
2 Samuel 22:47, “The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let God be exalted, the Rock of my salvation”.
Then in Psalm 18:2 (slide 15), “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold”. This is using this imagery. We have the image up there of this massive, massive rock that cannot be moved. It cannot be knocked down. It is steadfast and immovable. That is the point of comparison between this rock and God. He is our defense.
With that as a reminder, let’s look at 1 Samuel 2:3 (slide 16). In verse three (3), the focus shifts from God to the arrogance of man. Hannah says to no one specifically, but to her audience in general, “Talk no more so very proudly”. She uses an imperatival sense here, “Talk no more…. Let no arrogance come from your mouth”. This is her admonition. Arrogant man is admonished concerning his behavior before the omniscient, sovereign God. The first two lines are an admonition against man, against being arrogant; and then the reason for the admonition is given in the second two lines because we are answerable to God. He is the God of knowledge. He knows all things, and by Him actions are weighed.
We live in a world where there is accountability. This is one of the issues in the reason that unbelievers adopt their own origin story. Every civilization has had some origin story. You have to decide where you came from before you know much about where you are going; and, if you did not come from anything, then you are not going to anything. When you are the product of time plus chance plus nothing, and human beings are just an accident where at some point a protoplasmic mass—this goo—was just struck by an electrical charge, and magically organic life developed; then from simple organic life to complex life, then there is no accountability. Life is just going to go on and on and on.
Evolution says everything is going to get better and better in every way until there may be some natural disaster and something else comes along, so, basically, the universe is constantly improving itself as if it has a mind. Those who hold to these various pagan views that reject the eternity of God are always trying to ascribe intelligence and personality to just plain matter, that has no being or life in and of itself and no intelligence, because they cannot escape it. That is just one of those little things that is inside of them. It is part of their God-consciousness where they are image bearers of God that they keep trying to suppress in unrighteousness. This is a result of arrogance.
Arrogance leads us to reject God and to try to put something in God’s place. Everybody has a god. It may be the god of everlasting matter, that somehow exploded billions and billions of years ago, or it may be a god of metal, wood, stone, or jewels. It may be a god of some kind of intellectual idolatry. There is always something that people worship. If you remove God from the center, then something fills that particular background.
In this situation, let’s think about what has been going on here in Hannah’s life. She has been living with her husband, Elkanah. She has not been able to give birth. She has not been able to have a child. Elkanah has married a second wife, Peninnah, in order to have children to have heirs to pass on his property as an inheritance (this was the way the families operated at that time in Israel). Rather than looking to the fertility gods to find solutions to her problem, Hannah turns to God.
Part of Hannah’s problem is that her rival, or her enemy (the word there in the Hebrew, as we saw, could be translated either way) is Peninnah, who is ridiculing her. She is a scoffer. The scoffer is always the evil person in Scripture. She is ridiculing Hannah. She is belittling her. She is showing her a lot of disrespect, and Peninnah is clearly operating on arrogance. The immediate person (that is the arrogant one that this would refer to) would be Peninnah, but it has a broader application. Hannah talks generally to anyone who is arrogant toward God, because God is the one who gives victory over the details of life. No one has the right to be arrogant.
She says in the first line of 1 Samuel 2:3 (slide 17), “Talk no more so very proudly”. This is an interesting construction in the Hebrew. There is actually a double use of this same adjective. The adjective is gavoah, which means to be high, to be exalted, or to be raised up. It is even used in one passage of high flight, the elevated flight of a bird. This is the literal meaning. This word and its cognates (the adjectives, the nouns, the verbs that are built of this same root in the Hebrew Old Testament) is used many, many times in a legitimate sense, in the basic literal sense, which is “high” or “lifted up”. Positively, it also describes someone of dignity. It is used to describe God as “exalted”, as “the Exalted One”.
It has a positive sense in Isaiah 52:13. Isaiah talks about the suffering Servant, which is a phrase for the Messiah, as one who will be exalted. That is that word rawam that I mentioned earlier from 1 Samuel 2:1, where Hannah says, “My horn is exalted…”. The servant will be exalted (rawam) and lifted up (nasah) and He will be very high (gavoah). That shows that this word can have a very positive sense. It refers in places to the growing of a tree, the growing of a vine, the heavens that are exalted or lifted up above the earth. It talks about Saul, who is taller than any of his people. It has a literal meaning that does not have any negative connotations. But most often, it is used in a figurative sense to describe arrogance and pride.
For example (slide 18), in Psalm 138:6 we read, “Though the Lord is on high”, the Lord is lifted up, “yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar”. That is our word there: the proud. It is a synonymous word that is used here to bring out the idea that the Lord is the one Who is on high, but the high person, the person who thinks he is lifted up or lifts up himself, is the one God knows from afar. He stays away from him. Proverbs 14:3, “In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride”. The New American Standard Bible says it is “a rod on your back”. That is the implication of the statement, a disciplinary action; but the cause of that disciplinary action is what is literally stated in the Hebrew. It is a rod of pride. “…but the lips of the wise will preserve them”.
The first line (slide 19) is an admonition to keep your mouth shut and not to express things in arrogance and in pride. The second line is a synonymous parallel stating the same thing with slightly different words, saying, “Let no arrogance come from your mouth…”. Here we have the Hebrew word ‘ataq meaning arrogance. We find this used rarely in the Scripture. In three examples (which are most of the examples of this word being used in the sense of arrogance) it is associated with speech.
Psalm 31:18 (slide 20) says, “Let the lying lips be mute, which speak arrogantly against the righteous with pride and contempt”. That is the word: “arrogantly”.
Psalm 75:5, “Do not lift up your horn on high”. In other words, do not exalt yourself. “Do not speak with insolent pride”. That is the word: ‘ataq.
Psalm 94: 4, “They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly”, (‘ataq), “all who do wickedness vaunt themselves”.
It is interesting how this word is connected to boasting, to someone who is speaking proudly and contemptuously in terms of their arrogance.
In the second half of this strophe, we have a warning. It says, “For the Lord is the God of knowledge”. Why should you keep your mouth shut and not boast and be arrogant? It is because God is omniscient, “and by Him actions are weighed”. Accountability is coming. This is seen in passages such as Isaiah 13:11 (slide 21), “I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible”. God makes war against the arrogant. This is expressed twice in the New Testament. It is expressed in:James 4:11–12;1 Peter 5:5–6.
“I will punish the world for its evil”. God is going to hold us accountable.
What is brought out here (slide 22) is a focus on the character and attributes of God. We are reminded of the “essence box”.
We think about God as Sovereign. He rules over the universe. That is the backdrop for the entire psalm, but it is bringing out the fact that God rules in a righteous manner. He is the standard of governance for the universe. The righteousness of God is the standard by which He judges all things. His justice is true because it is based upon an absolutely perfect righteous standard.
God is also truth or veracity. What he says is absolutely true.
He is omniscient. He knows all the knowable, everything possible. Nothing escapes God; nothing we do escapes God. He knows every action. He knows every thought. He knows every motive. It is impossible to pull the wool over God’s eyes.
Do you know where we got that phrase (idiom), “pull the wool over anybody’s the eyes”? That is a great idiom. We talk about idioms and slang and things like that. Well, back in the 1600s, 1700s, and even into some of the early 1800s up to modern times, British judges wore wigs. Back in the 1600s to 1700s gentlemen in England wore wigs and judges wore wigs. Even though the practice among men died out by the early 1800s, the practice of judges wearing wigs continued. The wigs were made out of wool. They were referred to sometimes with just the slang as “wearing the wool”. If you “pull the wool over somebody’s eyes” that was tantamount to pulling a judge’s wig down over his eyes so he could not see the truth, meaning he could not see what was going on. It is an idiom for deceiving someone. We cannot pull the wool over God’s eyes. He will always see the truth. We will not get away with what we think we can get away with. This is the warning for Hannah.
This introduces us to the doctrine of arrogance. I thought I would just take a few moments to review eight points on the doctrine of arrogance. Arrogance is extremely important to study in the Scripture.
Doctrine of Arrogance
1. Definition (slide 23): Arrogance is the promotion of self rather than obedience to God.
It is asserting our will over God’s will. It is fundamentally saying, “I am the one who determines what is best for my life, not God”. It is the assertion of our desires over God’s desires. The very first expression of sin in the universe was an expression of arrogance.
The five “I wills” of Lucifer in Isaiah 14:13–14 (slide 24) express Lucifer’s original sin. It is arrogance. “For you have said in your heart”, is a term in Hebrew as well as in Greek that refers to:
- Sometimes it is a synonym for the soul.
- Sometimes it is a synonym for the mentality or the thinking part of the soul.
- On a few occasions it seems to have a reference to emotion, but it has to do with what is going on deep in the center of a person.
That is the idea of the word “heart”. The word “heart” as a reference to the organ is only used one or two times in the Scripture. Generally it is used figuratively or metaphorically as the center of something. When we read this, we learn, first of all, that arrogance is a thought sin. It is a mental attitude sin. It takes place inside. It is not an overt sin or a sin of the tongue, even though it is the root sin that is the sin of everything else.
- 1st “I will” – “I will ascend into heaven” – ascending into Heaven means going to the throne of God.
- 2nd “I will” – “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God”. The “stars of God” is a reference to the angels. They are referred to many times as “stars”.
- 3rd “I will” – “I will sit on the mount of the congregation” – This is a position of rulership or judgment. The congregation would be the angels; – “on the farthest side of the north”. This is an allusion to the mythology in the area north in what we now call Syria.
Part of the mythology (like in Greece you have Mt. Olympus, and all the gods congregated on Mt. Olympus) there was a mountain in Syria, and all of their gods assembled on that mountain. It was in the north. That is an allusion to that. “I will sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north” is when all the gods and goddesses come together. “I am going to be the one to rule over them”, in other words, all of the angels.
- 4th “I will” – Then he says, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds”. This again is an allusion to angelic hosts. “Clouds” are sometimes used to refer to angels.
- 5th “I will” – Satan concludes with the final “I will” - “I will be like the Most High”. Satan said “I am going to be God”. That is arrogance. “I will”. I will do what I want to do.
2. Arrogance (slide 25) is referred to also as pride, or self-sufficiency. This describes the basic orientation of the sin nature.
The sin nature is one of the most interesting things to take time to meditate on and to think about, especially with reference to our own actions and the motives of our own actions because all of us are born spiritually dead. That which energizes us is our sin nature. We are all sinners by birth. We are “dead in our trespasses and sins”, Paul says in Ephesians 2:1.
We need to learn something about the sin nature (slide 26). When you were born, you were born in corruption. I was born in corruption. Everything was affected by Adam’s original sin. We were born under the penalty of sin, which is spiritual death. We were born spiritually dead, and we had no real life. We just had biological life, and it looked like we were alive; however, because we were spiritually dead, we really were not that much alive. Everything that we do in life up to the point that we are saved is the product of our sin nature. Can you tell me (because some people want to disagree with me on that) what other nature would your actions, thoughts, and deeds come from if it is not coming from your sin nature? That is the only nature that was there. As we look at that, we can learn several things:
First of all, your basic orientation, from the time you came out of the womb, is expressed from that first cry, “Hello, everybody, whaaaa! It is all about me”. “It is all about me”, for a long time. If you have good parents, they will try to disabuse you of that notion from the get go. If they are a little slow on catching on, then they are really going to have a battle on their hands because we learn how to twist people around our little fingers very easily. We start off with this self-absorption. We are skilled by the time we get old enough to articulate anything. We are already in control of our environment and trying to get everybody to do what we want them to do. We begin to master manipulation, and we have got embedded habits of arrogance already, before that little baby even begins to talk.
Some parents get the idea that they should not discipline their children until they are old enough to talk to them. If you wait until they are old enough to talk to you, you have lost the battle. The grade you get for parenting is “F”, meaning failure. It is not a pass-fail system. It is an “F” for failure because part of what we are to do as parents is to teach discipline to those sinful lusts, to teach control. If they do not start learning self-control from an early age (meaning one or two days), even though they do not exercise it (you do not see it a whole lot, even as you just quietly tap them on the fanny), they start getting the message that there are negative consequences for bad actions. You just reinforce that. Of course, what I just said was probably illegal in five or six states now and may be illegal in the whole country before long. Many people today think that is child abuse. That is why their children are abusers of society, but that is another issue.
What happens with this arrogant absorption is that it feeds our lusts. It is all about satisfying our lusts. Some of those lusts are related to basic human needs, such as the fact that I need to eat, I need to sleep, I need to drink, and I need to go to the potty. Those are the basic needs that happen when you are a little kid in diapers. You want those needs met. You learn if you scream loud enough, or if you are grumpy enough, somebody is going to take care of you and figure out what is going on. As you get a little more advanced, those lusts are expressed in different ways. This one nature learns how to do relatively good things. It also learns how to do things that are evil. We call the relatively good things human good.
Jesus said to His disciples on more than one occasion, “you being evil know how to give good gifts to people”. What He is expressing is that the core nature of every human being is evil. That is the core difference between somebody who is politically and theologically liberal, and someone who is politically and theologically conservative. If you believe man is basically evil, or that he needs controls put on him, and you are not a conservative, then you need to straighten out. If you are a conservative and you do not believe man is basically evil, then you need to switch sides.
That is the core issue. Read the first chapter of the opening preface in Thomas Sowell’s book A Conflict of Visions, where he traces this historically in politics. Man is basically evil, and we have to understand that that does not mean he cannot do good things. The Bible says he is basically evil, but he knows how to do relatively good things. You have to have controls through government to control the evil. This is why absolute power corrupts absolutely and why we have to have controls, checks, and balances.
Have you noticed how people are attacking the Constitution on the issues related to the checks and balances between the Supreme Court, the legislature, and the executive branch? There has always been a fight, a tussle, of tension between them, but they are just getting downright nasty about it. The Supreme Court thinks that they are not subject to checks and balances. They think that they are the check and balance. This is also a problem with judicial dictatorship. We have to be careful. We are teetering on the edge of the collapse due to the fact that things generally always run downhill.
People can do good things, but they cannot do perfect righteousness: they cannot do that which God approves of. They also commit sins in three areas: mental attitude sins, sins of the tongue, and overt sins. Those trends are fun because we trend in two directions. One is a trend that is related to human good. We trend towards asceticism. Asceticism is “God, I am going to impress you by giving things up for You”, “I am going to become more and more moral”, “I am going to be little Miss Goody Two-Shoes”, and “You are going to think I am great”. You are going to be Pollyanna’s Aunt Polly. If you do good like this, then go to the liberal Methodist Church (notice that is part of the backdrop of that story) and then you can work your way to Heaven. Liberal Methodists believe man is basically good; however, that leads to moral degeneracy like the Pharisees. The Pharisees were very moral, but they were degenerate. They were arrogant. Arrogance always produces degeneracy. It can produce moral degeneracy in the area of human good or immoral degeneracy. These would be the tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners that Jesus hung out with.
I generally find that people who are really honest about how sinful they are, and recognize how sinful they are, err in this particular area where they are licentious, lascivious, and antinomian. They know that they can only be saved by grace. The hard nuts to crack are the ones who are on the moral ascetic side. They think that somehow they have impressed God: they have been good enough, they have given a lot of money, they have been involved in social causes, they have been involved in helping people out in their community, they are well thought of, they are honest, they are helpful, and all of the other things.
However, God says it is not good enough, “It is good, thank you very much, but it is not good enough”. It is still motivated by your own arrogance, and that has tainted everything. If you are an immoral degenerate, you know that you need Jesus. If you are a moral degenerate, you do not think you need Jesus because you are good enough. It is hard to get the ascetic to realize they need the gospel. That is the thrust of the sin nature.
3. Humility in the Scripture is the opposite of arrogance (slide 27).
If arrogance is self-dependence, then humility is going to be related to God-dependence. What we see here is that humility is truly submission to the authority of God. It is not just avoiding the appearance of arrogance; that is pseudo-humility. In pseudo-humility, you want to act meek, mild, and gentle, but it is still generated by “me-me-me”, arrogance. Arrogance is the assertion of our own authority over and against God’s authority.
One of the most fascinating verses in the Bible is Numbers 12:3, which states that the man Moses was very humble. He was the most humble of all people; more than all men who are on the face of the earth. However, he is not a mild little man. He is not being run over day in and day out by those three million Jews that he is leading through the wilderness. They are constantly rebelling against him, yet he stands his ground because he recognizes that he is the servant of God, and he is under the authority of God. A humble person is a person who is properly oriented to the authorities that are set over them.
Arrogance is basically the assertion of our own authority against God’s, whereas humility is submitting to God’s guidance. Passages that emphasize this (slide 28):
- Proverbs 29:23, “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit…”, (the person who is authority oriented to God) “will retain honor”.
- Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom”. Remember, the key to wisdom in Scripture is what? Remember our study in Proverbs? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. The fear of the Lord is submission to God’s authority. “When pride comes, then comes shame, but with the humble is wisdom”. Humility is related to the fear of the Lord. If humility brings wisdom, and the fear of the Lord brings wisdom, then humility and the fear of he Lord are correlative; they relate to one another.
- I want you to notice in Proverbs 13:10, “By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom”. Notice how that last phrase in Proverbs 13:10 and the last phrase in Proverbs 11:2 are identical, but in English you have a difference between the word “humble” and the word “well-advised”. A person who is well-advised submits to the authority of God and listens to God’s Word. It is relative to being humble, listening to God, and doing what God says to do.
That means point number four.
4. Humility is a product of grace orientation (slide 29).
In arrogance, we think that we do things to impress God; however, in humility, we realize God has already done everything for us. We have to learn to submit to His authority and do what He says to do. When we are oriented to grace, we submit to divine authority and the authorities that God established. A result of that mindset (the mindset of humility or mental attitude) produces a way of life, a mode of personal conduct that minimizes self-absorption, self-promotion, and self-dependence. It is not about us; it is about God. As such, we submit to authority.
Let’s have a little review. What is?
Divine institution #1: Personal responsibility.
Who is the authority we are answerable to? God.
Divine institution #2: Marriage.
Who is the authority? The husband.
Divine institution #3: Family.
Who is the authority? Parents.
Divine institution #4: Governing authorities.
God establishes government with the covenant with Noah, and the authority is the governing authorities that God establishes within a nation.
Divine institution #5: Nationalism over and against internationalism.
Again, what is the ultimate authority that nations are accountable to?
It is back to God again. Just like divine institution #1.
5. Arrogance is always related to self-centered goals: it is all about me (slide 30). All about doing what I want.
These are our arrogance skills that start with self-absorption. In self-absorption, you are absorbed with yourself; you indulge yourself. “I am going to give into all of my wants and all of my lusts”. That leads to self-justification. Now, you justify your actions. That leads to self-deception, because now we live in a fantasy world suppressing truth in unrighteousness. We are rejecting truth, substituting a fantasy, or a lie, for the truth, bringing about self-deception. Now, as we are redefining what truth is, we have become God. That is exactly what is happening in the upper echelons of government leadership in this nation as we are seeking to redefine marriage.
Speaking of arrogance, there was an article on the front page of The Chronicle this morning about a homosexual advocate who has been meeting with evangelical leaders. He met with a group of leaders at BIOLA University in California. BIOLA is an acronym for the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. He was meeting with them, and the article said, (I do not know whether it is misrepresentation by the person who wrote the article, or whether it just shows how sad the theological leadership is at the campus), but he did not sway them too much. He said that when they were talking about Sodom and Gomorrah, according to the article, this guy got them all to agree that the reason God punished Sodom and Gomorrah was for arrogance and greed, not for sodomy.
Just to make sure I did not miss something, I went back and read Genesis 19 today. I looked up every reference to Sodom in the Bible, and not once are they indicted for arrogance and greed. Arrogance is clearly the root of the problem. Arrogance is the root of every sin, but the way it was expressed at Sodom was through sodomy, through homosexuality. That is exactly what God says is why He destroyed them. It was because of the evil of sodomy that was there. I do not know— everybody just seems to have problems understanding what the Scripture actually says.
We have our arrogance skills.
6. Humility as submission to God also rejects arrogance and arrogant speech (slide 31).
That is part of what our mental attitude should be. If I am submitted to God, then I am going to reject arrogance; I am going to say, “No”, to arrogance, and I am going to say, “No”, to arrogant speech, to boasting.
Proverbs 8:13 says, “The fear of the Lord”. Remember, the fear of the Lord is submission to God.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way…”.
Those three - pride, arrogance, and the evil way— are all brought into view there as the core of evil.
“… and the perverse mouth I hate”. The perverse mouth is the arrogant mouth. God hates that; therefore, we should hate that and we should reject it out of hand.
7. Arrogance is a gateway sin to all manner of other sins (slide 32).
Arrogance is really the root of every sin no matter what it is. We will look at some of the ones that are associated with it. It involves other mental attitude sins, such as:
- Jealousy, bitterness, vindictiveness, revenge motivations, self-pity.
- I guess whining would be a sin of the tongue, so we will add that to the next category. Self-pity produces whining; therefore, whining comes from self-pity. Self-pity comes from arrogance. Self-pity, conceit, inordinate ambition, competition, and contempt for others. Those are all mental attitude expressions of arrogance.
- Lying, boasting, whining, complaining, argumentativeness, slander, gossip, and maligning are all verbal manifestations of arrogance.
- Physical assaults, theft, adultery, murder, and just about every other overt sin you can think of comes from arrogance as well.
8. A warning: one of the most insidious forms of arrogance is pseudo-humility (slide 33).
There are a lot of unbelievers who can manifest a form of humility that masks their arrogance. Some people want to assert themselves by being brash and overt, other people want to assert themselves by being covert. I think there is a word that “psycho-babblists” use called, “passive-aggressive”. That sort of captures what I am talking about here. That is what pseudo-humility is.
In Romans 12:3 Paul says, “For I say through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly…”.
That does not mean that you have not had an adult beverage in a while. Thinking soberly is a word that means to think objectively, clearly, in terms of right and wrong, and accurately. We are not to think more highly than we ought to think. We are not to think more lowly than we ought to think either. We are to think accurately about who we are. That is the idea of “soberly”. We are to have an objective assessment of who we are. We do not blow ourselves up, and we do not try to become the poor little meek and mild and humble person that we think will impress everybody. We are not to be arrogant. Why? Because as Hannah says, there is accountability, as Dr. R.G. Lee titled one of the most famous sermons in American church history, Payday Someday.
We liked that on this trip. They had this huge box of snacks. They had apples and oranges. They had these big huge zip lock bags of Snickers. You could get them with almonds and the original with peanuts. They had these huge bags of Paydays. We talked about “Payday-Someday-Everyday”. We were also talking about the flood and judgment, so that worked in. There is an evaluation ultimately. We need to keep a guard on our mouth, keep a guard on our thinking, our arrogance. We need to confess it. We need to submit to the Lord, and God will be the one who exalts us. “God makes war against the arrogant”, Scripture says, and He “lifts up the humble”.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to study through this passage. May we be reminded that we are all arrogant in many, many ways, and that we need to recognize that, identify it, and confess it. We need to, through Your Word, solve that problem through grace orientation, through humility, through authority orientation to Your Word, setting aside and rejecting that which is arrogant and looking toward that which You approve of in humbling ourselves under Your Mighty Hand. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen”.