“Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol the King of heaven and those that walk in pride, He is able to abase” (Daniel 4:37).
For Nebuchadnezzar the experience was extreme. He went from flourishing in Babylon to feeding among beasts. Yet this great king would not say that such treatment was abuse. He had learned that “the Most High ruleth and giveth” for the benefit of all men.
The Lord Jesus added to this truth another dimension: “every one that exalts himself shall be abased, and he that abases himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11; JND). To be “justified” requires self abasing (Lk 18:14). A person can never know the blessing of being forgiven by God apart from humbling before God. And what was necessary at conversion is necessary in living the Christian life; “humble yourself,” as James 4:10 teaches. In so doing, God’s good will is worked out.
How sad then that believers at times are guilty of being self-abusing rather than self- abasing. We distort the need of humbling ourselves before God into degrading ourselves before God. In so doing we actually abuse what He has exalted through redemption. If God does not abuse men but rather abases them, should we do otherwise? There is no spiritual value in thinking, saying, or acting like, “I am worthless! Unusable!” or “God will get no pleasure from me.” I Corinthians 1:21 says, “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” In response, the yielding of ourselves, rather than a disparaging esteem of ones self, is “well pleasing to God …” (Romans12:1; RV margin). Degrading ourselves will not accomplish what God intends. And yes, He never abuses, but He sometimes abases, but only to exalt for both now and the coming ages.