Hi everyone. Rob here.
We’re told in Numbers 12:3 that
Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.
No doubt Moses would have been very embarrassed by this description! What Scripture is trying to tell us is humility was a key to Moses’ leadership. Humility enabled him to put aside his own agenda and listen to God. It enabled him to do what was best for the community and not for his reputation. It enabled him to delegate tasks. It even enabled him to accept his sins and the consequence of not being able to enter into the Promised Land.
Humility is a quality greatly valued by God. In Luke 1:52 Mary sings;
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
Why is this? I see two reasons. One is that humility means we’re not putting ourselves first. It helps us get the right perspective. God is God and we are not. Like Moses, we need to die to our own agenda if we’re ever going to come alive to God’s. The second reason is that humility is a quality of God’s. Our God is a humble God.
In church we get trained not to think like this. God is powerful, awesome, mighty, all-conquering, glorious and victorious and that is true! But it’s also true that God delegated authority to human beings. From the beginning he never wanted to lord it over us but to share his abundance and joy with us. When our first ancestors fell and were exiled from the garden God clothed them. God kept looking for ways to bring us home. In Hosea 11:1-4 God says this:
“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
2 But the more they were called,
the more they went away from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals
and they burned incense to images.
3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
it was I who healed them.
4 I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
a little child to the cheek,
and I bent down to feed them.
That is the humility that comes from genuine love. And then there’s Jesus.
Who being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:6-8)
The world wants to tell us that we are masters of our own destiny and that we can do anything and be anything we want to be. They have a point. God has given us incredible freedom, creativity and power. But for us to become the rulers and the people that God designed us to be we need to discover the humility that comes from genuine love. We need to be humbled by God’s humility; the humility that sees the Creator of all things reach down with tenderness and love to his creation. It’s the humility that sees the cross of Christ as the centre of history and the rescue of the earth. It’s the humility that reveals itself as infinite patience in the face of our sinful pride.
We desperately need the perspective that genuine humility brings us. It helps us open the eyes of our hearts and experience the grace of God’s mercy. It also helps us see our fellow human beings as made in God’s image and worthy of our love. It helps us see ourselves as infinitely loved but not the centre of the world. This frees us from worry, striving and status-seeking. As we humble ourselves before our God we find ourselves lifted up with his strength and his life. We praise our God, whose humility reveals his power and whose grace reveals his glory. Christ’s victory meant walking the path of humility and,
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Grace and peace everyone.