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Be Humble



Scripture: Proverbs 13:10, 15:33, 16:18-19, 18:12, 25:6–7; Daniel 4:1–37

Memory verse: Proverbs 29:23
"Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honour."


(Ask the students to give an example of what it means to be humble.)

Ask: “When you think of a person who is humble, what image comes to mind?” (Allow responses.)

Unfortunately, a lot of people think to have humility means to be weak physically, submissive like a slave, and passive or inactive. Some see a humble person as a “mat” that always gets stepped on and never does anything to help himself.

To get a good idea of what the world thinks of humility, consider heroes on TV. How many of them would you rate as humble? Most, if not all, project a superior image that is anything but humble. Humility has few fans.

When we really understand humility from God’s point of view, we find that to be humble takes real character. Humility is not something that just happens, nor is it something we receive at birth. Humility is something we must allow to develop in our lives. This usually requires a lot of effort.

Hearing God's Word

Humility is the opposite of pride. The Bible says a lot about pride and its effect on people. The Book of Proverbs mentions pride several times. In this study we will look at some characteristics of pride and humility.

Sometimes when we hear the word proud used, it means “having self-respect.” All of us should respect ourselves and do our best in life. We can be satisfied with our efforts when we get good grades at school or our team wins an important game. These things help us feel good about ourselves.

The word proud can also mean “haughty (snobbish) and arrogant.” This type of pride is wrong. It makes us behave as if we are superior to other people.

The Problem of Pride

What problem does pride create according to Proverbs 13:10? Pride can literally bring destruction. Proverbs 16:18 presents this truth in direct terms. (Ask a student to read the verse aloud.) This does not necessarily mean pride will destroy us physically. Pride can be damaging in other ways

Ask: “Can you think of ways pride might create problems in our lives?” (Allow discussion.)

Haughty, arrogant pride can cause us to lose the respect of others. Do you enjoy being around someone who always talks about himself?  Unless a person realizes the problem pride is creating, he will have difficulty having good relationships with others.

This week’s memory verse contrasts the results of pride and a humble attitude. (Recite the verse with the students.)

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

An illustration of pride is found in Daniel 4. At this time, Nebuchadnezzar (NEB-u-kud-NEZ-zar,) was king of Babylon. One time King Nebuchadnezzar had an unusual dream. What did he see? (Instruct the students to scan Daniel 4:10–17.) He dreamed he saw a huge tree, but then a messenger from heaven commanded that the tree be cut down, leaving only the stump.

No one was able to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Finally, Daniel was called to stand before the king. What did Daniel say this dream meant? (See Daniel 4:19–27.) Daniel said the tree represented Nebuchadnezzar. He was a great man, but soon he would be cut down. That meant he would be driven from his people. He would live in the fields and would become as a wild animal.

Nebuchadnezzar had indeed built a mighty empire. Nothing compared to it in the whole world at that time. Yet Nebuchadnezzar was unable to handle such greatness and glory. As king he became very proud. When Nebuchadnezzar heard Daniel’s message, he was unwilling to heed his warning and confess his sin of pride. He refused to humble himself.

The Result of Pride

A year later, King Nebuchadnezzar was walking on the roof of his palace. His heart was filled with pride. What did he say? (Ask a student to read Daniel 4:30.)

No sooner had Nebuchadnezzar spoken than God’s judgement came. (Ask a student to read Daniel 4:31–33.) pride brought great King Nebuchadnezzar’s downfall.

Now let us look at what happened when the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s punishment ended. At last Nebuchadnezzar realized the error of his pride. What did he do? (Ask a student to read Daniel 4:34 aloud.) Nebuchadnezzar gave praise and honour to the One who is King of kings and Lord of lords. He knew that only God, not man, is worthy of praise and honour.

When God restored Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity, he acknowledged God’s greatness. Along with the restoration came the honour and splendour he once had known. Nebuchadnezzar was returned to his throne and became greater than ever before. This time he had a correct view of things. Instead of being proud and boastful, Nebuchadnezzar proclaimed, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (Daniel 4:37.) King Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way the destruction that pride brings.

Humility Before Honour

Nebuchadnezzar had learned a lesson that is described in Proverbs 15:33. (Ask a student to read the verse.) A fear or respect for God is the source of wisdom. Before honour can be received, there must be humility.

Jesus stated this principle in Matthew 23:11–12. (Ask a student to read these verses aloud.) Does this verse describe the world’s view of greatness? Not at all! The world teaches that you become great by being a master of others, not a servant. That is not God’s view of greatness.

Jesus—The Greatest Example

Humility is not a characteristic that is easy to develop and keep. Pressure is on us to be out front—to get ahead at any cost, even if it means stepping on others to get there. Yet, all we have to do is remember Jesus’ example to see the importance of humility. Jesus, God the Son, left heaven’s glory to live among men, face ridicule and misunderstanding, and finally suffer great pain and humiliation on the cross. Had Jesus become affected by human pride, He could have defeated His enemies and taken power for Himself. Instead He came to love and serve others. One day Jesus will show His victory over Satan. Those who live according to His Word will share in His glory and triumph.

Accepting God’s Word

Explain that it is sometimes difficult to keep pride from creeping into our lives. We need God’s help to keep a humble attitude. Remind the students that talents and abilities are gifts from God. Eternal life in heaven is also a gift from God through Jesus’ death on the cross.

Encourage your students to consider their attitudes and determine whether or not they are giving God the credit for their talents and accomplishments. Challenge them to work on developing humility that allows them to enjoy the abilities God has given them without becoming proud. They should be willing to serve others and recognize others’ successes. Emphasize that being humble will make them more effective witnesses for Christ and that is what God wants us to be.

Pray, asking God to help the students to have a humble, serving attitude, and to use the talents He has given them for His glory.

Hui Lifestyle

The Hui people always pay close attention to hygiene in their daily life. If possible, people should wash their hands both before and after meals using flowing water. Most of the Hui people do not smoke or drink, and people cannot smoke or drink in others’ homes.

Hui have been interested in modern education and reform. They taught both modern, western education such as science, along with traditional Confucian literature and classical Chinese languages with Islamic education and Arabic in their schools. They incorporated the new instead of destroying the old and replacing it.

Pray for Hui Intercessors

1. Believers to become aware of the Hui and their spiritual need,
2. Believers to commit to pray in faith for the Hui's salvation,
3. Believers to befriend the Hui through prayer, pleading with God to send messengers of the gospel to them.

Prayer Promise

"My intercessor is my friend...on behalf of a man he pleads with God" (Job 16:20).

Remember: BE HUMBLE

Memory verse: Proverbs 29:23
"Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honour."

1. My talents are a gift from God.
2. I will value the interests of others above my own interest.
3. All I accomplish is because of God's grace and provision.

Pray that believers will begin to pray for Chinese to accept Jesus.

Study 9 | Migrants—Proverbs | africaatts.org/go-teach

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