A Deep Dive Into Humility, Part 4: Satan: The Anti-Example
May 12, 2022 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
In our deep dive into humility, we are working with this definition: humility is living in light of God’s assessment of our nature, position, abilities, and calling. Last week we saw this illustrated in the examples of Jesus and Paul. Neither were self-directing or self-promoting. They both looked to God for his will and direction. They both drew strength and confidence from God’s grace to sustain them. They both were fruitful in their callings to serve the Lord.
To further our understanding of what humility is, let’s consider the anti-example of Satan. In the end, Satan does not live in light of God’s assessment of his nature, position, abilities, or calling.
Many Bible scholars believe we get a window into the fall of Satan through the analogous falls of earthly kings mentioned in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. The earthly kings of Babylon (Is. 14) and Tyre (Ez. 28) grew proud and presumptuous in their rise to power. The folly of their pride is so similar to the pride of Satan that the biblical writers use language only appropriate for Satan in describing their own fall. We read in Isaiah 14:4 that what follows is a “taunt against the king of Babylon.” Then the taunt focuses on his pride in verse 13, “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north.’”
Now the king of Babylon made some pretty extravagant boasts (see Dan. 4:30), but the taunt of Isaiah 14 exceeds a mere human boast. The pride of the king of Babylon is analogous to the pride of Satan. We see this again in Ezekiel 28. This passage opens in verse 12 with a call to “raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre.” As part of this lamentation, the prophet recounts to glorious position of this “king” – “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God…” (v. 12-13). The king of Tyre was not in Eden, the garden of God. But Satan was. The king of Tyre is a resemblance of Satan. The prophet laments in verse 17, “Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.”
What do we learn about humility from the anti-example of Satan?
- Humility is closely connected with contentment. Satan was blessed with glory in his creation and yet he desired more. He did not live in light of God’s assessment of his position. He was not content.
- Humility is the seedbed for wisdom. Satan corrupted his wisdom by his pride. By desiring his own splendor above God’s, Satan undermined true wisdom. He no longer could understand the world and how it works according to God’s plans.
- Humility is closely connected with the fear of the Lord. Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” If wisdom is corrupted by pride, then humility goes hand and hand with the fear of the Lord in cultivating wisdom. In fact, I will go one step further: at the core of humility is a healthy fear of the Lord. What else is living in light of God’s assessment of our lives than giving proper reverence to God?
- Pride is the seedbed of all rebellion against God. Denying God’s assessment for our lives leads to all other sins. This is how Satan led Adam and Eve into sin; he led them to question God’s goodness in giving a law. Every sin we commit is a discontentment with God’s goodness for us. And all sin is foolish because it rejects the wisdom of God’s design and direction for our lives.
We will come back to the dangers of pride, but I wanted to lay down this foundation of what humility is by looking at these examples. Jesus, in humility, looked to his Father and submitted to his lead. Satan, in pride, rejected God’s lead and sought his own path. At the center of humility is a willingness to live in light of God’s assessment for our lives.