READ: Genesis 43-45, Psalm 15, Matthew 15, Acts 15
Honor and Humiliation
God sent Joseph unexpectedly into slavery and God elevated him (just as unexpectedly) to the palace. Both the humiliation of the pit and the honor of the palace were ultimately for the saving of lives. God’s humiliations and God’s honors have the same intent: the saving of all peoples for His glory. We therefore can embrace them both, for they are means, not ends. The sting of humiliation cannot hurt us for we know that God’s fame among the nations is at play. The allure of honor cannot corrupt us for we realize that “God has made [us] lord of all Egypt” (Gen. 45:9) for the express purpose of the saving of many lives.
In order to navigate the pitfalls of both humiliation and honor, we have to be able to speak truth to ourselves (Ps. 15:2, 5). The ones who speak truth to themselves are immovable. It is crucial to be self aware. We are both vile and redeemed. Both realities must be understood. When we know we are redeemed, then humiliation is an honor. When we know we are wicked, honor humbles us. The only way to stay fastened to the immovable rock, unshakable, is if we see ourselves in both lights.
Seeing ourselves correctly leads us to the worship of asking for help. In Matthew 15:5, a woman of Tyre and Sidon begs Jesus to help her demonized daughter: “Then she came and worshiped Him saying, ‘Lord, help me!’” Asking for help is worship! When we declare that we are unable, we humble ourselves. When we declare that Jesus is completely capable to handle all things, we honor Him. Jesus is given worth. Self-reliance is idolatry because it honors ourselves, it attributes worth to ourselves.
God does pluck young men and women from obscure pits and place them in palaces. God does set the unexpected as lord over Egypt. God does take unusual figures (as He did with Paul) and use them as apostles to the nations. He takes the ones who can handle both honor and humiliation and “treats those two impostors just the same.”