Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Humility

After my minor embarrassment of goofing up my own blog, I was reminded again of a couple of things: first, that I am an arrogant, prideful man (that simple mistake really bugged me) and second, that God wants me humble, not self-confident but confident in Him. This is a constant struggle for me, but I was also reminded of something I decided a few years ago. I decided that I would no longer pray for God to humble me.

Now, rather than praying for Jehovah to humble me, I ask that He teach me humility – it seems like a semantics issue, but there is a profound difference in the two. God is more than willing to teach us humility and show us where we need to learn to submit in our lives, but if we wait for Him to humble us, then we will receive humility at great cost. Nebuchadnezzar, in the Book of Daniel, waited for Jehovah to humble him, despite prophetic warnings from God; his humbling came through seven years of insanity, living in the fields and eating grass, before he bent knee and acknowledged Jehovah as the Most High God. In contrast, consider the men and women of the Bible who chose to learn humility:

Moses was the most humble man on earth (Numbers 12:3). Could he have done what he did had he not chosen to bow before the will and word of Jehovah and discard his own agenda? Not a chance!
David, in humility, constantly sought the guidance of Jehovah and His forgiveness – and is remembered as a man after God’s own heart.
Abigail humbled herself before Jehovah and before David, and her humility resulted in her own salvation and that of her entire household, save Nabal who was the one who had sinned.
Hezekiah and Josiah, both latter kings of Judah, humbled themselves before Jehovah. Because of their willingness to humble themselves and pray, confessing sin and seeking mercy, both they and Judah were spared (for a time) the coming judgment of God.
Ezra’s and Nehemiah’s humility before God lead to a revival among the remnant of Judah and the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego humbled themselves before God and were raised to high positions in exile under Nebuchadnezzar. There righteous behavior and humility played no small part in bringing Nebuchadnezzar to recognize the authority of Jehovah.
Isaiah humbled himself before the presence of Jehovah, declaring himself unclean – and he was cleansed!
The apostles humbled themselves before Jesus, leaving all they had and following Him, even to a life of pain, suffering, and death – receiving salvation.
Zaccheus humbled himself before Jesus, and was rewarded with a personal audience with the Messiah.
A woman came to Jesus at the home of Simon the leaper, humbling herself and anointing His feet, and her act was called good by Christ and her act of humility is remembered to this day (Matthew 26:13).
Christ himself, the Messiah, the Son of Man to whom has been given authority, laid that authority aside and humbled Himself to His Father’s will, taking shame upon shame, feeling an immense separation and distance from Jehovah as He bore the weight of our sins, dieing on the cross when He deserved so much more. Because Jesus humbled Himself, He has been placed above all things, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow (Philippians 2:6-11).

The one theme that is constant in each and every one of these lives is that they chose humility; they chose to learn and be humble before Jehovah and received magnificent gain for their initiative both for themselves and for those around them. I believe that when we simply ask God to humble us we tell Him that we are standing our ground, continuing in the life of sinful pride and selfishness that we have always lived in, and that we are waiting for Him to come and humble us.

Despite my resolution to seek to learn humility, God still steps in and humbles me in small and large things when I again become arrogant. But, it is good to be reminded in small ways - to be drawn back to God gently - rather than waiting for humility to come like it did for King Neb. (Have you ever eaten grass and hay? Not appetizing!)

Sorry for the long post, but I felt it worth sharing.

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