John 5:37-47 records the account of Jesus addressing the Pharisees regarding their honouring men before God. The Pharisees were not ignorant people. They knew scriptural law off by heart, given by God through Moses. (They had also added many of their own additions to God’s law.)
Jesus addressed them with strong words because He knew their believing and way of life was damaging and a misrepresentation of His Father’s love. They were poor ambassadors for the Kingdom of God. John 5: 40, Jesus said to them, “And you will not come to me that you might have life.”
v.44 “How can you believe who receive honour one of another and do not seek the honour that comes only from God.”
The Jews rejected the One that God had sent and were seeking honour, esteem and respect from their fellow men for their own ends and glory. Their trust was not in God but in themselves fulfilling the law of Moses and seeking credit for it among men.
If we are living our lives firstly to people, instead of God, seeking esteem and respect from them, then we cannot live this life of faith in God. Is my faith in people, or in the God of the people? This life of faith in God is to seek the honour that comes from God alone.
When I honour man and give him the esteem and respect that is due to God, I am in a bad place. It is the Son, Jesus Christ, that I need to honour. As the hymn writer so aptly put it, “All the worth I have before Him is the value of the blood.” Jesus is the D.N.A. and life source of every good thing in me.
Jesus came to this earth by divine appointment. John 5:22-23 “For the Father judges no man but has committed all judgement to the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who has sent him.” How do I please the Father?…..Make much of His Son!
1 Samuel 2:22-36 records the account of Eli, the Priest, honouring his sons before God. Although Eli had addressed their sinful behaviour, verses 22-25, his sons did not heed their father’s words but Eli apparently did nothing to restrain them, therefore honouring his sons before his commitment to God. 1 Samuel 3 continues the account with the Lord speaking to the young boy Samuel:
1 Samuel 3:12-14 The Lord said to Samuel, “In that day will I perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering forever.”
There is a tremendous principle in this story. While God gives us our families and friends to love, cherish and enjoy, He does not want us to put them before Him. Our first responsibility is to esteem, respect, value and please Him in a demonstration of our love for Him, honouring Him above men. Ultimately we will never lose out by putting God first.
1 Samuel 2:30 The Lord said, “…..for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.”
There is a godly way of thanking, acknowledging and encouraging people for their love, time, talents and giftings. It is pleasing to the Lord that we thank and respect others, but it is wrong if we live to them, looking for their approval instead of seeking our Father God’s. His approval is the only one that really matters. Whereas it is right to thank people for their part in our lives, it is wrong for us to take the credit and honour to ourselves for the ability God has put within us. What do any of us have that we did not first receive of God? Its all of Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His enabling power in me to be what He created me to be, and to do what He created me to do. “Of him, through him and to him are all things.”…so I cannot take the credit!
Jesus was the complete manifestation of His Father and always gave Him the honour, credit and esteem for the power that flowed through Him for His life’s work to extend the Kingdom of God. Jesus is the source of all grace and truth and the grace of God is the tap root of our very existence. We are on dangerous ground if we take the credit that is due to God alone. Pride comes before a fall! The love and grace of God, in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ, is the only force and power in humanity that can break the chains that have bound generations and redeem mankind from the pit into which he has fallen.
So, let us not put men on pedestals and dishonour God, but let us esteem God in one another and the gifts He has placed within each of us, for His glory. By honouring the grace of God in one another, primarily we are honouring the Lord in the vessel He is raising for His purpose and glory. We are all vessels of mercy, that should have been wrath, but the divine Potter is at work to take our marred vessel and re-make and mold us by the strength of His loving hands. Let us not resist the Potters wheel and His plan for our lives.