A Precious Promise for the Humble
"Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way…Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. His soul will abide in prosperity, and his seed will inherit the land. The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant. My eyes are continually toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net." (Psalm 25: 8-9,12-15 NASV).
This Scripture is one of the precious and magnificent promises that is the legacy of every true child of God. It has provided unspeakable comfort to many a weary pilgrim on the way to Zion who has sought understanding, insight, and guidance in this oftentimes-weary wilderness of life. Child of God, have you ever faced a situation in which you were unsure what path you should choose? Have you ever sought for guidance out of the Scriptures in times of uncertainty or confusion? Have you ever struggled to make sense out of seemingly obscure truths in the Bible? Well, if you are like most of us, then you probably have at one time in your life. What is also certain is that you will no doubt face these seasons sometime again in the future. It is during times such as these that you will discover the sweetness in this promise and will find yourself often dipping in your cup to draw forth its soul-comforting words of assurance.
Notice something about this promise however. It is directed toward those who are of a certain characteristic – they are initially called "the humble" in verses 8 and 9. Then in the following verses these people are said to "fear the Lord". In other words, this promise of guidance, instruction and insight is reserved for those who fit that description and those alone. It is not for those who are proud, lifted up, presumptuous, irreverent and godless! As a matter of fact, the Scriptures testify against all those who are of this type of disposition:
God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble". (James 4: 6)
"No one who has a haughty look or an arrogant heart will I endure" (Psalm 101:5).
So then the question that should be asked by all those who are exercised by these things is, "How do I obtain this humility"? The answer itself is very easy – it must be created in the heart by the Spirit of the Lord as He applies the truth of God’s Word to our hearts and by His providential dealings in our lives. Sadly though, the lessons themselves often prove to be anything but easy and are rather very painful indeed. Human pride and self-reliance is a stubborn sort of thing and yields only very reluctantly to the dealings of God. But yield it must if the creature is to be brought to the place of lowliness before the Creator.
Now, as previously stated, God works this humility into His elect by two primary methods. Firstly, the Spirit of the Lord progressively reveals to each of His children their own innate sinfulness and depravity by applying the truths of God’s Word directly to their hearts. In effect, the Spirit of God shows them what they are really and truly like by nature. This truth is brought home in power upon their own heart until they cry out like the leper of old, "Unclean, unclean". In this manner they are brought lower and lower in their own estimation and thus learn to prize more and more the righteousness of their Lord Jesus Christ. Eventually they are all brought to say with the apostle Paul:
For I know that in me (that is in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing". (Romans 7:18).
Secondly, through His providential dealings in their lives, He arranges to teach them how weak and fickle and unstable they are by nature. He places them in situations which leave them no way out but rather will force them to "lean not on their own understanding". He frustrates their plans, blasts their schemes, overthrows their devices, and "upsets their apple carts". Why? Is it because He is cruel and delights in inflicting pain upon His own children? Perish the thought! No. The answer is to be found in the words of the apostle Paul:
"For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead." (2 Cor 1: 8-9).
As is often the case, the Lord must repeatedly hammer, file and rasp the rough piece of wood before Him if He is to bring forth a useful and functional instrument fit for His kingdom. The proud, self-reliant attitude in man must, in effect, be beaten out of him. Only in this way can the sweet fruit of humility be created.
You older saints in the Lord, have you not seen this in your own lives? Can you not look back over your life and see the hand of God forming and fashioning you, stripping you of your reckless self-confidence, your "can-do" spirit", and laying you at His feet as a needy beggar? Can you not see how that which you once boasted in has now become a source of shame for you? No doubt while you were undergoing the process it was not at all pleasant to your flesh. But, in retrospect, have not the ways of the Lord been beautifully and wisely suited to your own particular temperament and personality? Surely He doeth all things well!
A second thing to note well concerning our original promise out of Psalm 25. The promises contained therein apply also to those who "fear the Lord". This indeed must surely be the case. A person of true humility will always possess a godly fear of the Lord. How could it be otherwise? Someone who is small in their own eyes must have a reason for thinking themselves small. That comes only from a proper view of God as "high and lifted up". Only when one perceives the exalted majesty of the Most High are they able to put things in the proper perspective including their own persons and just how small and insignificant they truly are in the grand scheme of things. Listen to the report God gives concerning Himself through the prophet Isaiah:
"Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and marked off the heavens by the span, and calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, and weighed the mountains in a balance, and the hills in a pair of scales? Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge, and informed Him of the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless…Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the vault of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. It is He who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble. ‘To whom then will you liken Me that I should be His equal?’ says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing." (Isaiah 40: 12-17, 21-26).
Only when one correctly perceives of God such as this will he or she possess a holy awe of His majestic being. They will walk softly before Him being careful not to offend such a great Potentate and will take pains to order their conduct in such a fashion as to not dishonor or offend Him. As with Abraham they will say that they are but "dust and ashes" and will not dare to lift themselves up against in any fashion whatsoever. In short, this fear of the Lord will always accompany true humility. They are inseparable and we may say of them as is said at wedding ceremonies, "What God has joined together, let not man put asunder".
Christian, I ask you, do you desire to be led of the Lord? Do you desire to be guided by Him? Do you desire to know the way of salvation? Do you desire to understand His Word and be led and guided into the truth? Do you desire to be delivered from the lies and deceptions of the enemy? Then get this humility and this fear of the Lord. Prize it. Esteem it. Long for it. Pursue it. Pray for it. Seek after it. Beseech the Lord of heaven and earth to create it in you. Remember His promise:
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." (Matt 7: 7-8).
Yours in Christ Jesus,
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