Friday, September 11, 2015

The Desire of the Humble

“O Lord, You have heard THE DESIRE OF THE HUMBLE; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror” (Psalm 10:17-18 NAS).

Herein this verse of Scripture we see that the desire of the “self-loathing or depressed” soul (the meaning of the word “humble” as derived from the Hebrew word used here)—is heard by God; this seems to suggest that a soul not self-loathed or depressed will not be heard by God.  Does this mean that we are to walk about with our heads bowed low, depressed, deflated, and disgusted with ourselves?  Surprisingly—and especially to this deceived and saccharin generation of high self-esteemers—the answer is YES!!!—(at least until the Lord Himself becomes our shield and our glory and the lifter of our heads).

But really, it is not about self-esteem at all (whether low or high), because self is not the subject at hand; self misses the mark as soon as self becomes the object of consideration.  But also, humility is not about complete self-abnegation (in the ultimate sense); as stated earlier, it is about getting the mind and consideration off of self and minding and considering God and His purposes.  God sees our low estate and promises to exalt us in due time; but always, our focus is to be on Him and not ourselves.  Remember, only those who lose their souls gain them.  That is why faith is necessary; only with the eyes of faith can we look into tomorrow and see what we cannot realize today.  Indeed, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be” (1 John 3:2).

Also note from Psalm 10:17-18 that the innate nature of a terrorist is earthly; he is characterized as a “man...of the earth.”  He oppresses humankind by the very force of his fallen nature.  But what incredible power lies in the bosom of the humble soul!  The desire of the humble is heard by God because genuine humility is inherently truthful and prayerful.  One cannot be both humble and wrong at the same time; when I am weak, I am strong, declares the apostle.  When I am humble or meek, I inherit the earth (I displace this man of terror!—in me and in others).  Humility is prayerful and heard by the Almighty.  The desire of the humble is to overthrow the evil powers of oppression and fatherlessness.  Does that sound like something we desperately need today?  Well don’t lift yourself up to get it!  Rather press yourself down and fall at the Almighty’s feet.  This is the need of the hour.  This is why the movie “The War Room” resonates today.

But why humility?  Because only humility strips away all pretense and discloses the genuine motives of the heart, down to the bottom of the heart, down to the premise of the person.  And what is the desire of the humble?   Deliverance from sin and complete freedom from guilt (something only God through Jesus Christ the Savior can do).
 
This is the template, the perfect example of the proper attitude and the right action attached to that proper attitude; in other words, this is how we need to act: “And He (Jesus)...told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.”  But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’”  I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be HUMBLED, but he who HUMBLES himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:9-14).

I would suggest that the proper Christian attitude and behavior—no matter how mature or accomplished we get this side of heaven—is perpetually that of the tax collector; ALWAYS our heart cry should be, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!”  This fact never changes: “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinners in the way.  He leads the HUMBLE in justice, and He teaches the HUMBLE His way” (Psalm 25:8-9).  Since I know that I am to be judged by the judgment I dish out to others, I am inclined to show mercy always and to take no pleasure in the death of the wicked (just like my God and Savior).    
Finally, “Seek the Lord, all you HUMBLE of the earth who have carried out His ordinances; seek righteousness, seek HUMILITY.  Perhaps you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zephaniah 2:3).  And remember that “To this one I will look, to him who is HUMBLE and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2).  Note how humility and contriteness (repentant spirit/heart) are coupled here; they are indeed closely related.
 
“Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, HUMBLE, and mounted on a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9).  “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and HUMBLE in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).  “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He HUMBLED Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).

“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and HUMBLE in spirit” (1 Peter 3:8).