There are multiple times we encounter humility in the Scriptures. Humility is more than just not being prideful. Humility is realizing that you don’t have it all together. Humility is being teachable and correctable. Humility is receiving sound instruction and changing the way you think and act as a result. This psalm perfectly outlines what that humility looks like.
In this world it is difficult to be humble, especially to God. People treat us poorly, leave us feeling unappreciated, talk behind our backs, accuse us of things we didn’t do, and much worse. We also see the world around us and how it behaves and it seems so difficult not to fall into the thousands of traps of ungodly behavior that are around us. Yesterday I was talking to my wife and she pointed out that there are so many things we do as Christians that are accepted by society and don’t even register on our radar as sinful. We us inappropriate words, we take things into our own hands, we over consume food and media…we simply aren’t living the lives God designed us to live. Then we wonder why we have so many problems in our daily lives! Yet David writes a beautiful psalm in humility, asking for God’s help.
We see he begins talking about those who are against him, but he realizes that if he humbles himself before the Lord he has nothing to worry about. He asks for wisdom and teaching and guidance. He recognizes God as his Savior and that it is worthwhile to wait on God’s timing. He asks for forgiveness and redemption of his trespasses and embraces God’s patience and lovingkindness. In verse 9 we read about humility, that it opens the doors of our hearts (which we read about in Psalm 24) so that God can guide us in righteousness.
God’s way is lovingkindness and truth. He forgives, restores, and empowers if we would only recognize our own iniquities and that He knows best. We understand this concept and have acted it out before. As children, our parents tell us when we do something wrong and reward us when we do something right. Our teachers in school show us how to do something then test us to see if we learned the lesson. Sometimes we do poorly and have to retake the test or lesson until we get it right. If you have ever utilized a fitness trainer you actually seek their guidance because you have a goal in mind but recognize you don’t quite know how to get there. When they tell you what to do or advise you how to change your habits, normally you do it because your desire is to get healthier. There are many other situations in life where we humble ourselves and recognize that we don’t have it all together and we need help. God is the greatest person we could ever seek for this. Our biggest downfall goes back to the original sin: thinking we can be like God.
Yet we CAN be like God! He created us in His own image! We are created to be like Him and be His children. Yet we throw tantrums, we rebel, we think we know better. Anybody who remembers their own childhood or has children of their own can certainly attest to how children can be, especially when they hit certain milestones in their growth like being able to walk, talk, or when they become adolescents. When we humble ourselves and figure out we don’t know how to live in His Way, He instructs us an guides us. In Matthew 11 we see Jesus explain this concept:
25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. 26 “Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 27 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “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. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Those who do not humble themselves (the supposedly wise and intelligent in their own sight) simply cannot receive instruction from the Lord, or anyone else for that matter. Their minds are made up and refuse to allow someone else to tell them different. They are unteachable, except maybe for that which they are comfortable with. They think they have it all figured out and do not need any help. The infants, on the other hand, are humble to the point where they realize they are helpless and hopeless without God’s guidance.
In Psalm 46 we read God’s words, “cease striving and know that I am God.” In other words, stop thinking you are God and recognize who I am. Seek me for help. Trust me and my wisdom and power and love. Jesus says that when we do, we will find rest for our souls and learn from Him. Until we do, we wills imply be burning ourselves out trying to be God. We aren’t designed to be God, we are designed to be His creation. We are supposed to be subject to Him. Yet in His grace and mercy He allows us to choose.
Will you choose to humble yourself and recognize God for who He is? Or will you continue trying to be God?