“I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant.” Genesis 32:10
There are certain subjects I have never felt comfortable approaching, and definitely not writing about. Humility is at the top of that list. If you speak or write about humility, you must have it, right? Pride and arrogance seem to be visible traits of politicians, music idols, CEO’s of large corporations, even some televangelists. Though the world seems to gravitate to an arrogant and egotistical spirit, the Lord favors a humble spirit: “…But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2).
It was said of the Apostle Paul that he was the least of saints (Ephesians 3:8), the last and least of the apostles ( I Corinthians 15:8-9), and the greatest of all sinners (I Timothy 1:15). John the Baptist groaned that God must increase and he must decrease (John 3:30). Jacob, frightened out of his wits about facing his brother, Esau, lamented before the Lord, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant (Genesis 32:10). David, in receiving word that one of his greatest ambitions would be denied, building a house for God, responded by going in and sitting down before the Lord and saying, “Who am I, O Lord GOD? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?” (II Samuel 7:18). The Centurion, pleading to the Lord for the healing of his paralyzed servant, said to Jesus, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8).
What I see in each of these who sensed their unworthiness before the Lord, is that troubles, heartaches, pains and failures, at some time or another had invaded their lives. There is something about being brought to the end of our “hoarded resources,” that humbles us and makes us totally dependent upon a Sovereign God. Puritan Thomas Brooks writes, “One property of a humble soul is this; it will quietly bear burdens, and patiently take blows and knocks, and make no noise. A humble soul sees God through all the actions of life. Though I have fallen into a pit, it is free grace that I have not fallen into hell. God is too just to wrong me, and too gracious to harm me, and therefore I will be still and quiet; let Him do what He will with me. The humble soul will bless God under misery as well as under mercy, when God frowns as when He smiles, when He takes as when He gives, under crosses and losses as under blessings and mercies. The humble believer looks through all secondary causes, and sees the hand of God.”
This brings to mind the words of one who certainly had experienced such, the Apostle Peter: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (I Peter 5:5b-6). Samuel Rutherford made an interesting statement when he said, “Humility is a strange flower; it grows best in winter weather, and under storms of affliction.”
A genuine spirit of humility cannot be borrowed, bought or bargained for. It can only be acquired as we recognize that God is in control of all things and that all things in our lives are to bring glory to Him. The lower we are, the higher God. The less we are, the more He is exalted. One blessing the humble have over the proud is that they cannot fall. Nebuchadnezzar, thrown from his throne as a small ant from a mountain, was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws (Daniel 5:33). It was at this time that he lifted his eyes to heaven, and his understanding returned, and he blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever (Daniel 5:34). He finally came to realize that God’s ways are just, and that those who walk in pride God is able to bring down (Daniel 5:37).
May I close with these quotes from a worthwhile book entitled, “Humility – True Greatness,” by C.J. Mahaney:
“There is only one thing I know of that crushes me to the ground and humiliates me to the dust, and that is to look at the Son of God, and especially contemplate the cross.” — Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“Nothing in history cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.” –John Stott
“Fill your affections with the cross of Christ that there may be no room for sin.” –John Owen