Humility

THIS IS A prayer to God, written by a king:

I am poor and needy; make haste to me,

O God! You are my help and my deliverer;

O Lord, do not delay (Psalm 70:5).

Notice the humility here of a man whom ordinarily you wouldn’t expect to show it. He had after all been anointed the King of God’s people.

Yet God rewards humility. Jesus demonstrated this when he said:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:3–5).

The importance of humility is emphasised in the book of Micah, where it is listed as one of three qualities God requires in those who come to Him:

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8).

Humility is however very difficult to achieve. We naturally want the opposite—to build ourselves up in the sight of others. How, then, do we achieve meekness when it is contrary to our nature?

Moses was described as the perfect example of humility: “Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth”

(Numbers 12:3).

Moses spent the first 40 years of his life as an Egyptian prince in Pharaoh’s household—and his next 40 years as a shepherd. He learned to be the leader of the nation by caring for sheep. David also started life as a shepherd—that’s where he learned the skills of kingship. And Jesus himself described himself as a shepherd: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Three great leaders, whose lives were characterised by putting others first.

God requires humility in those who come to Him. The meek will inherit the earth. We can learn this essential quality from some great characters of the Bible, and best of all from Jesus Christ:

Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28–29).

 Robin de Jongh