Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Having a Humble Heart

"Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time."
- I Peter 5:6 -

From the beginning, God has desired for men to humble themselves before Him, putting His will above our own.  In Exodus 10:3 God asks Pharaoh "How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me?"  Pharaoh refused to let go of his pride so that he might do the will of our wonderful Lord.  Is God asking us the same question He asked Pharaoh?  Are we holding onto our pride, despite the consequences of our prideful rebellion to serve God with our whole heart?

Pharaoh was not the only person in Exodus who lacked humility.  God's chosen people had a pride issue, too.  In Psalm 18:27 the psalmist wrote "For You will save the humble people, But will bring down haughty looks."  God made no exception for His chosen people, Israel.  Moses wrote:  
"And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.  So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord."
- Deuteronomy 8:2, 3 -

There are many verses throughout the Psalms, Proverbs and the book of Isaiah that teach us about humility and how God treats those who humble themselves before Him.  Here are a few of my favorites:
  • Psalm 10:12 - "Arise, O LORD!  O God, lift up Your hand!  Do not forget the humble."
  • Psalm 10:17 - "LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear,"
  • Psalm 25:9 -  "The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way."
  • Psalm 34:2 - "My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear of it and be glad."
  • Psalm 147:6 - "The LORD lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground."
  • Psalm 149:4 - "For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation."
  • Proverbs 3:34 - "Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble."
  • Proverbs 11:2 - "When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom."
  • Proverbs 16:19 - "Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud."
  • Proverbs 29:23 - "A man's pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor."
  • Isaiah 29:19 - "The humble also shall increase their joy in the LORD, And the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holly One of Israel."
  • Isaiah 57:15 - "For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: 'I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones."

We must also remember the humility of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who "being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:8)  No greater humility could ever be shown by mortal man than what was exhibited by Christ.  He left His throne of glory, allowed Himself to become sin for us and endured separation from the Father simply because that was the Father's will.  Before His death on the cross, Christ spoke saying, "whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:4)  He also reminded us a couple times that "whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Matthew 23:12, Luke 14:11)

Therefore "Humbles yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." (James 4:10)

God cannot lift us up
if we have already lifted ourselves. 
We must be humble
so that God can do the exalting.

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