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Live Humbly Before God

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A strong reason for pursuing genuine humility is found in Bible verses that prove that God sustains the humble (e.g., Ps. 147:6). In this study we shall examine primarily scriptural texts from the Psalms that teach that the Lord is he who sustains the humble person. David writes:

To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,

To the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.

You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. (Ps. 18:25-27)1

What was true in David’s case is no less true for today’s believers. As Futato observes. “What is true of the Lord in his relationship with David … is true of his relationship with all … All who are humble will find the Lord to be a shield as they look to him for protection.”2 Elsewhere David remarks,

Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore, he instructs sinners in his ways.

He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way. (Ps. 25:8-9)

Indeed, the Lord is a faithful and loving God who desires people to be those who return that loving faithfulness to the Lord (cf. v. 10). Believers, then, should live humbly before their God and fellow man, and resist self- exaltation. Thus, Jesus said, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11; cf. 18:14). As I. Howard Marshall points out, this verse means that, “Anybody who tries to exalt himself – blatantly or cunningly – will be humbled.”3

In Psalm 45, a psalm directed to the king, the psalmist encourages him in his rule to ride victoriously in all “humility and righteousness” (Ps. 45:4). As VanGemeren remarks his kingdom mirrors, “the kingdom of God in fidelity and righteousness.”4 The author of Proverbs points out, “Humility comes before honor.” (Pr. 15:33; cf. 18:12). This is no less true for kings or any person in an authoritative role. A person may so exalt himself/herself, but it will only lead to dishonor, whereas a person clothed in true humility may well experience special honor. As recorded in a praise psalm, the Lord delights in those who walk humbly before him and “takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.” (Ps. 149:4)

The author of Proverbs reminds us, “He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.” (Pr. 3:34). So also the Apostle Peter says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourself, therefore, under God’s mighty hand that he may lift you up in due time.” (I Peter 5:5b-6)

May we follow carefully true humility. As the prophet Micah expresses it:

He has showed you, O man what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?

To act justly and love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

May this be true of all believers.

As the hymn writer says:

Give me a faithful heart, likeness to Thee.
That each departing day henceforth may see,
Some work of love of work begun, some deed of kindness done,
Some wand’er sought and won, Something for Thee. 5

1 All scripture references are from the NIV.

2 Mark D. Futato, “The Book of Psalms” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, ed. Philip W. Comfort (Carol Stream, Il., Tyndale House, 2009), 7:87.

3 I. Howard Marshall, “Commentary on Luke” in the New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978), 582-583.

4 Williem A. VanGemeren, “Psalms” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, revised edition, eds. Tremper Longman III and David. E. Garland (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), 5:398.

5 Silvanus D. Phelps, “Something for Thee”. 

Related Topics: Devotionals

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