Modesty and Self-Assertion
Proverbs 25:6, 7
Put not forth yourself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men:…

Some amount of self-assertion is no doubt necessary for honourable success and fruitful achievement. But nothing is more common than for this quality to go beyond its true limit and become distasteful and even offensive both to God and man. What Solomon here deprecates, our Lord also condemns; what he honours, the Divine Teacher also prefers (see Luke 14:9).

I. THE DANGER OF SELF-ASSERTION. Its temptation is to assume such proportions that

(1) it becomes immodesty, and this is a positive evil, a blemish in character, and a blot upon the life; and

(2) it defeats its own ends, for it provokes antagonism and is discomfited and dishonoured. Every one is pleased when the presumptuous man is humiliated.


1. It is frequently successful. Modesty commends us to the good; we secure their good will; they are inclined to help us and to further our desires; they promote our prosperity. Every one is gratified when the man who "does not think more highly of himself than he ought to think" is the object of esteem, and takes the place of honour.

2. It is always beautiful. It is quite possible that, as a matter of worldly policy, modesty may not "answer." It may be, it will often happen, that a strong complacency and vigorous self-assertion will pass it in the race of life. Yet is it the fitting, the becoming, the beautiful thing. It is an adornment of the soul (see 1 Peter 3:3). It makes the other virtues and graces which are possessed to shine with peculiar lustre. It gives attractiveness to Christian character and lends a sweetness and influence which nothing else could confer. To be lowly minded is a far better portion than to have the gains and honours which an ugly assertiveness may command (see homily on Luke 14:7-11). - C,

Parallel Verses
KJV: Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men:

WEB: Don't exalt yourself in the presence of the king, or claim a place among great men;

A Lesson in Courtly Manners
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