"It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to seek one's own honor." Pr 25:27Yet here it appears that Jesus is prescribing how one should go about seeking one's own honor. As is the case particularly in oriental societies, seeking praise from others was a quite common characteristic of the religious leaders of Israel and the Jews in general, whom Jesus was humiliating in saying this. Effectively he was saying, "Not only are you seeking praise from men, but you are doing it in an unwise fashion." False humility is practiced quite alot in oriental societies, where people pretend to be humble, expecting to be exalted. It doesn't work to the same degree in Western societies in which honesty is more highly valued, but the principle is there. But Jesus has elsewhere spoken to such man-pleasers thusly:
And "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips." Pr 27:2
So "Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among great men; it is better for him to say to you, "Come up here," than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman." Pr 25:6,7
"How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?"Joh 5:44Trying to please people falsely for one's own selfish ends is not a characteristic of a servant of Christ, as Paul writes:
"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." Ga 1:10Yet Jesus was speaking to those who were still trying to please men to gain honor for themselves. Thus he was not really prescribing appropriate behavior, but rather he was simply humiliating the proud.
|When someone invites you to a wedding feast
Don't take the best seat, but rather the least
For there may be one more honored than you
Then what do you suppose the host will do?
He'll ask you to give your seat to him
Then your prospects will be rather grim
For you'll have to move to the lowest seat
That's what you'll get for your conceit
But rather you should at first take the lowest place
When the host comes he will then save your face
He will move you to a place which is best
And you will be honor before all the guests
Everyone who exalts himself will be abased
But those who humble themselves will be raised.
The Berean Christian Bible Study ResourcesJul 29,2015