If you have been foolish in exalting yourself or if you have plotted evil, put your hand on your mouth. (NASB)
If you have been foolish in exalting yourself. Foolish as used here in the Hebrew means to act disdainfully. It is used of treating someone with disapproval, or as unworthy, or of acting in contempt toward something. In this case the action of disdain is directed towards God because when you exalt yourself you glory in yourself instead of the Lord who is due all glory. Exalting as used here in the Hebrew means to lift, to carry, and take away as in replacing the high position that should be God’s. In effect the foolish man takes the place of God on the throne of his life. Kingdom living comes when the Lord is the King not when man is on the throne. The man who is poor in spirit is the man who submits to God as the Ruler of his life and never lifts himself up to any position of authority by going outside the will of the Lord he serves.
If you have plotted evil. Agur, the author of Proverbs 30, equates exalting yourself with plotting evil. Why? Because exalting of self over the Lord God is evil because you are doing something contrary to His will. The man who is walking in being poor in spirit cannot devise evil because the Lord is leading and guiding the Believer.
Put your hand on your mouth. The Lord God offers a way out of this sin and it is to stop and repent.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13, HCSB)
When we find ourselves exalting ourselves in anything we need to stop it as quickly as possible. Though we are developing the character of poor in spirit we need to realize that we are works in process and we will find our old man rising up in us from time to time. When that happens we need to stop this direction and turn our course towards God in true repentance. In His mercy and grace there is forgiveness.
If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]. (1 John 1:9, Amplified)
He will set us in the right direction for He loves us so much and desires that we walk humbly with Him in close fellowship.
Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8, HCSB)
Let not our straying from the path keep us from the love of God any longer than we need to. Stay close to Him and do not exalt the self.
Keep and guard me as the pupil of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings. (Psalm 17:8, Amplified)
How precious is your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; and You give them to drink of the river of Your delights. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. O continue, Your lovingkindness to those who know You, and Your righteousness to the upright in heart. Let not the foot of pride come upon me, and let not the hand of the wicked drive me away. (Psalm 36:7-11, NASB)
Pray that the Holy Spirit will have free reign in your heart to alert you to self-exaltation. Let the Spirit convict you so you can learn to give up control and the glory as soon as possible. We will fall, but the Spirit can draw us quickly back to where the Father wants us to be – in loving submission to Him.