In our society, it is easy to conclude that humility is a missing virtue. People elbow others to scramble up the ladder of sucess. Others proclaim themselves to be the god or godess of their own lives– while others would never say it out loud– but their actions show a disreguard for their Creator.
But humility isn’t just missing in our times, we can look back to the Old Testement and see there were seasons that even the nation of Israel failed to honor God as their Lord and Leader. Whenever they sought to humbly follow God’s lead, things went well for them. Their economy flourished, their enemies backed off, their personal well-being improved and they lived in peace. However, whenever they arrogantly decided they had the right to devise their own way of living, God cared enough for their being that a progressive set of steps were set in motion to get them to return to humility.
God sent setbacks to motivate them, then prophets to warn them, and finally calamity to discipline them. Isaiah is one of those prophets who was attempting to get the attention of the nation. In chapter 5, verses 18-23, he presented a number of characteristics that help us recognize humility by describing what we ought to avoid:
- The humble accept what is true. “Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit,
and wickedness as with cart ropes.” (v. 18) What a graphic picture of a person who has a cart or trailer loaded with deceitful schemes who is defiantly looking for a way to put them into practice. Rather than dumping the load and replacing it with worthwhile goods, he is defiantly looking for a market for the products that will help no one.
- The humble are patient. “[Woe] to those who say, “Let God hurry; let him hasten his work
so we may see it.” (v; 19) Many people confuse God’s historic patience with inability. They think, since He isn’t doing it right now, He can’t do it. The humble realize it is never a question of power. It is simply a matter of timing.
- The humble call good things good. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” This is the age old argument between God’s ways and man’s ways. Ever since the fall of mankind, people have loved the darkness and have searched for ways to justify whatever they want to do. Humility says, “I didn’t create life so I must accept it the way it is. I don’t have the right to redefine life but I do have the privilege of enjoying the good things God has made.”
- The humble are willing to learn. “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.” (v. 21)
- The humble love sobriety and self-control. “Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks.” (v. 22)
It seems almost too simple to be a problem. If you were ask people, “Do you want to do what is true, be a patient person, love what is good, be willing to learn and possess self-control?” You would expect most people to say, “Yes.” In action, however, most of us have done the opposite.
In humility, we must accept that we are no different today. We too need to choose to be humble. Today we need to be determined to wait on God. Today we need to be willing to learn. Today we need to bow to God’s will and God’s ways. Today, we need to choose the positive actions of
those who are humble.
Pam Farrel is a woman redeemed by God, a woman who knows that apart from the power of the Creator, she would be a “hot mess”. She is grateful that God gives her the privelege to write and speak to encourage and equip people to live “Love-Wise” . She is also grateful for Bill, her husband of 38 years, with whom she wrote the devotional today’s blog comes from: A Couples’ Journey With God. (Harvest House)