“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).
Remember Pharaoh’s words: “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice…?”? Pharaoh’s pride brought great destruction upon himself and his people as God brought plague upon plague upon the Egyptians to show them His power (cf. Proverbs 16:18). Pride has been the ruin of many men and women over the centuries as they think to highly of themselves and not highly enough of God.
As the opening verses above indicate, Peter calls the Christians of his day to practice lives of humility (1 Peter 5:6). Unlike Pharaoh of old, these Christians were not being boastful, but were actually enduring great trials on behalf of Christ (cf. 1 Peter 1:6-7; 2:19-21; 4:12-13). However, the sin of pride could rear its ugly head and tempt them even in the midst of the trials they were enduring as they might begin to rely on themselves and resort to ungodly tactics to cope with these trials.
Peter reminds them of some important truths as they endure these trials. First, he reminds them of the “mighty hand of God” (1 Peter 5:6). As they faced the great challenges before them, they needed to remember that God is all-powerful. It is He that can deliver them. They were not to give into pride by looking to themselves for deliverance from these trials, but were to trust in God’s “mighty hand”!
Second, as he reminds them of God’s mighty hand, Peter encourages them to “humble yourselves” under God’s powerful hand. That was to be their focus. They were not to worry about HOW they were going to be delivered from these trials. They were to TRUST that God could do it. Their concern was to make sure they were walking humbly before God.
In his letter, Peter describes many areas in which we are to humble ourselves before God. We also humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand by not following after fleshly lusts and living honorably before our fellow man (1 Peter 2:11-12; 4:1-4). We are to humble ourselves before God by practicing love for one another (1 Peter 1:22-23; 1 Peter 4:8). Husbands and wives humble themselves before God by being submissive to one another, considerate of one another, and encouraging one another to follow God’s Will (1 Peter 3:1-7). These Christians were even to humble themselves before God by submitting to the government which was allowing them to be persecuted (1 Peter 2:13-17).
The final truth Peter reminds them about humbling themselves before God was that by doing so God will “exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5-6). Their humility before God would be rewarded: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). As they were walking humbly before God, Peter encourages them to be “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). God was mindful of their sufferings, cared about their sufferings, and would reward them for the humility they showed by trusting in Him as they endured their sufferings.
I acknowledge that pride can be a temptation not only during times in my life when I am enjoying prosperity, but also during times of trial when I might think to look to myself for all the answers. I rejoice that God’s hand is still “Mighty” and there is nothing He cannot do. I also rejoice that He cares for me. Today, I will humble myself under God’s mighty hand by taking heed to His commandments and looking forward to the day when because of His grace He chooses to exalt me!
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10).