I don’t want to just hear from God and move on. The if statement was if you humble yourself and I want to know just what does that mean?
I have found many times the definitions of some words today are not at all what the Bible means by the very same word. I have a feeling this one might actually be very close to what the Bible says, but let’s not assume, let’s find out.
Today’s definition of humble:
– Good old Webster says: not proud : not thinking of yourself as better than other people; reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission; ranking low in a hierarchy or scale
– Urban dictionary: 1. An admirable quality that not many people possess. It means that a person may have accomplished a lot, or be a lot but doesn’t feel it is necessary to advertise or brag about it. 2. To degrade, to cut one’s ego down to size. It is not necessarily done in a rude fashion but it SHOULD BE.
– Your dictionary: having or showing a consciousness of one’s defects or shortcomings; not proud; not self-assertive; modestlow in condition, rank, or position; lowly; unpretentious (not attempting to impress others with an appearance of greater importance, talent, or culture than is actually possessed.)
Interesting variety there. So what does humble look like in the Bible? The first place we see this word, humble, is used in Matthew 18:4:
Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
This word translated as humble is tapeinóō. The full Thayer and Strong’s definitions are:
to make low, bring low; to level, reduce to a plain; metaphorically to bring into a humble condition, reduce to meaner circumstances (to assign a lower rank or place to; to abase; to be ranked below others who are honoured or rewarded; to humble or abase myself by humble living); to lower, depress (of one’s soul bring down one’s pride; to have a modest; opinion of one’s self; to behave in an unassuming manner; devoid of all haughtiness)
From G5011; to depress ; figuratively to humiliate (in condition or heart): – abase, bring low, humble (self).
So humble looks like becoming like a child. Yipes! I’m not sure I can relate. It seems to me that children can tend to be selfish, taking toys off each other, throwing temper tantrums, hitting each other. lol I don’t think that is what we are supposed to envision here. Or at least I hope not! Better look at this a little further. Truthfully, when we think about really little children, they are very caring in nature. They also go where you tell them to, and try to please you. It’s really more about becoming like a little child is to an adult. I’m sure as we move forward this will clear itself up.
We can find humble in 2 Corinthians 11:7. Here Paul is basically saying, “By laboring with my own hands; by submitting to voluntary poverty, and by neglecting to urge my reasonable claims for a support.” (Barnes); ” in my mode of living, waiving my right of maintenance, and earning it by manual labor; perhaps with slaves as his fellow laborers (Act 18:3; Phi 4:12 (refs2)).” (JFB);
It looks like Paul was humble because he pulled his own weight; was submissive; and didn’t make others support him even thought he could have rightfully done so.
In Philippians 2:8, Paul describes Jesus as being humble by becoming obedient, to the point of death. In thinking about how Jesus was: He laid aside his symbols of glory, did not aspire to high honors, did not demand service of other’s but was servant to all, He touched people who were deemed untouchable and unclean, He didn’t treat anyone as if they were a nobody, He demonstrated love and patience.
So what is being humble?
– to be in a lower rank than those around you
– to have a modest opinion of one’s self
– being pleasant and polite
– not drawing unwarranted conclusions (not assuming things)
– not being bold or forward
– pulling our own weight,
– supporting ourselves and not demanding that other’s support us
– be obedient to God and our superiors
– lay aside our position being servant to all
– not being demanding
Hmmm, you know what? If those of us who are married could do all of that, I think it really would help marriages. It would help any relationship we are in!
The question is, when you read the list – how many of those things can you TRULY (don’t lie to yourself) say you are? Think about your closest relationship.
Are you a parent who makes demands just because you are a parent and can? Or do you talk to your children and give them the opportunity to do the right thing after being asked?
Are you a boss or manager that allows your team members to give their opinions? Or one who thinks they know everything and passes out the orders?
Are you a co-worker who says please and thank you? Or do you just make your requests and expect them to be done?
Are you a friend who assumes someone is upset with you or doesn’t like you because you haven’t heard from them in a while? Or do you reach out and see if there is something going on in their life you can help with?
Do you walk up to a counter and demand your way, or do you work with the clerk to get a satisfactory outcome?
Are you a father who barks out orders to your children, or do you get right in there and teach them by example, letting them help you?
Do you pitch in and help when others are working around you, or do you try to hide so they don’t notice you aren’t really doing your fair share?
Are you listening to your friends and family? Or are you listening to what God is saying to you?
As a husband, do you lay aside your wants, needs, desires, and serve your family, especially your wife? Or do you have a list a mile long of what everyone can or should do for you?
Are you a wife who is always stomping around and slamming cupboard doors, or yelling at everyone because no one sees you need help? Or do you ask nicely for help?
Yes, these are things we all should consider. If we can’t humble ourselves, we can’t honor the if statement. And if we don’t honor this part, we can never get to the other part. I know in 2 Chronicles 7:14, it says heal their land, but somehow, I think God is a healing God. I think He will heal anything. What about you?
If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.