The Value of Humility
...in God’s Kingdom
It has been coming to me lately that one of the greatest values in the lives of those who will inherit the Kingdom with Christ is humility. Often this is worked into us by humiliation imposed upon us by others. Moses was under humiliating circumstances when God called him. Read his story as we find it in the following simple translation taken from Exodus 3.
1 Moses was taking care of the flock of his father-in-law Jethro. Jethro was the priest of Midian. Moses led the flock to the western side of the desert. He came to Horeb. It was the mountain of God.
2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him from inside a burning bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire. But it didn’t burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I’ll go over and see this strange sight. Why doesn’t the bush burn up?”
4 The Lord saw that Moses had gone over to look. So God spoke to him from inside the bush. He called out, “Moses! Moses!”
“Here I am,” Moses said.
5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals. The place you are standing on is holy ground.” 6 He continued, “I am the God of your father. I am the God of Abraham. I am the God of Isaac. And I am the God of Jacob.”
When Moses heard that, he turned his face away. He was afraid to look at God.
7 The Lord said, “I have seen My people suffer in Egypt. I have heard them cry out because of their slave drivers. I am concerned about their suffering.
8 “So I have come down to save them from the Egyptians. I will bring them up out of that land. I will bring them into a good land. It has a lot of room. It is a land that has plenty of milk and honey....10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh. I want you to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. They are My people. NIRV®
Moses was a man who had been brought down to the place where he had no more stature in life than that of taking care of his father in law’s cattle. But God saw value in him and sent him to lead His people out of slavery.
Now, there is a very significant statement regarding Moses, placed in parenthesis in Numbers 12: 3—(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) Take note of the word meek. It is from the Hebrew gah-nahv. It means afflicted and humiliated, worn down by the processes of life, to the place where one feels he, or she, cannot go on. We will see the importance of this word as we move on.
Some of you reading this article have come to such a humble position in life that you feel utterly humiliated and worthless. (That’s what the word meek means.) But, God is preparing you to lead people out of their own slavery, the slavery of sin.
You might reply: “How could God use me?”
His reply to you is this: “You might be empty of skill and wisdom, having no great opinion of yourself. Therefore I can put My wisdom and the skill of My Kingdom into you. I can use you well. The humiliation of your life leaves room for My glory.”
God told the Prophet Samuel of a man in Bethlehem, named Jesse who had a son that was to be anointed as king of Israel. So Samuel went to Jesse’s home and interviewed seven of his sons, none of whom received the Lord’s approval. Samuel asked if there was yet another boy. Jesse said, “My youngest son is taking care of the sheep.”
The Prophet requested that this boy, whose name was David, be called in. It was rather apparent that no one in the family considered him worthy of standing before the Prophet. As we read between the lines, we can perceive there was hesitancy about calling Him, but Samuel insisted. As the boy who was rather sun-baked and had the smell of a sheepherder, came and stood before Samuel. God spoke to the Prophet, “...Anoint him. He is the one.”
So Samuel got the animal horn that was filled with olive oil. He anointed David in front of his brothers. From that day on, the Spirit of the Lord came on David with power—I Samuel 16:12,13.NIRV®
David had been chosen and anointed to be king of Israel and the Spirit of the Lord had come upon him. But, it becomes apparent that he did not immediately come to the position for which he had been anointed. He instead returned to the sheep cote, for there was much work the Lord had yet to do in him. There was yet much to be revealed to him before he would be ready to rule the Kingdom. Those nights and days out there alone with the sheep must have been a valuable time of preparation for David.
In a tiny measure, I can identify with David in spending that time back among the sheep. I also had to be sent back to the sheep cote for the discipline the Lord was requiring for my place in His Kingdom. To be truthful, I did not like much about that time of being disciplined. The Spirit and the call of the Lord had come upon me while I was still young. I had the idea that receiving degrees from institutions had made me ready to serve in God’s Kingdom. But, that was not the case. My education, my ability to speak and teach, my grasp on Scriptural understanding all left me with a lack that would have never allowed me to fit into His Kingdom’s purpose for my life. I had failed in allowing the work of God’s Spirit in my life so, the Lord put me into the place of a common laborer, even after I had been recognized, and functioned to some degree, as an Apostle. These matters had to be resolved in my character to set me toward becoming useful in God’s Kingdom. And, I can add this: the process continues on in a measure. It seems God is more concerned with what we are than what we can do.
That’s the way it is with many who are chosen in this day. After being trained like myself, many are shunted into a place of humility in order to remove from their lives some of the ways that do not fit in God’s Kingdom. There are things that can only be worked into us through the humiliations of life; things that will only get through to us while we are under pressure, or while we are in the darkness. Many find this difficult and spend much time in periods of darkness chafing under the hand of the Lord when we could be flourishing under the skill of His tender instruction.
Here is a Word from the Lord Jesus that has come to mean much to me. He said, What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light—Matthew 10:27. Darkness is valuable for hearing from the Lord. This was the case with David. It has been so with me. We have to learn not to despise the darkness—that valuable darkness where the hand of the Lord alone can work Kingdom values into us.
Now in the home of an Israelite, the Word of the Lord was taught from generation to generation. We perceive that it must have been instilled in David’s heart and mind that in the beginning of God’s dealing with mankind, He had said, Let Us make man (from the Hebrew adahm, meaning “mankind”) in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion—Genesis 1:26. This was emphasized again two verses later—And God blessed them (that is, Adam and Eve), and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion.
Having the stars as his companions, David sang unto the Lord the words of Psalm 8. As we look at this Psalm, one of his earliest, we can see that he was intrigued with that early commission from the Lord to Adam and Even about their having dominion in the earth. See these words as they point toward the unveiling of Truth that will make us useful for God’s Kingdom. And, take note that what David saw in the words of this Psalm he saw in the darkness.
Psalm 8 3When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; 4what is man (enosh, mortal man, subject yet to dying), that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man (the son of Adahm, the man to whom the Lord gave authority to have the dominion, but who lost it to the serpent, and thus became a mortal man), that Thou visitest him (that You should look after him with close attention)? 5For Thou hast made him a little (for a little while) lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. 6Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet..
Generations later, the writer of Hebrews drew upon this Psalm of David with one of the greatest depths of divine revelation ever. We shall take this up in our “prayer-starter” section.
It’s rather certain that David wrote Psalm 8 soon after his encounter with the giant Goliath. There were three significant factors in his life at this point that must take our attention. First, he was the least among his brethren, with the most humiliating position in his family. Second, he had fought and won the fight with Goliath. Third, he was still the sheep tender.
David was returned to the place of his humility, anointed to be king and still tending sheep! It was in those days that the Spirit of the Lord taught him. Psalm 8 seems to have been born out of that period—along with Psalm 19, and Psalm 23. Just read them and you can feel yourself out there with him under the stars, keeping watch over what his eldest brother called those few sheep.
Of all the Psalms from that period, Psalms 9 and 10 unveil for us some of the most valuable end-time Truth in all of Scripture, and yet they are seldom acknowledged as such. On spending time with them, it becomes clear they speak of the same time that Daniel called a time of trouble in Daniel 12:1. Jesus made reference to this same time as great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world (from the Greek kósmos, meaning “since the world was set in order”) to this time, no, nor ever shall be—Matthew 24:21.
I believe, the revelation contained in these Psalms came while he was still more of a sheep tender than a king. In fact Psalms 9 and 10 run parallel with, and add to, what Daniel revealed in the four prophetic visions at the conclusion of his Book. They are also parallel with what Jesus revealed in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. All of these Scriptures tie in closely with the finalizing statement of II Thessalonians 2:8 which speaks conclusively of what will take place when the one we have come to call the anti-Christ comes face to face with God’s Anointed One. And then shall that Wicked (one) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming (His Parousía).
Some early manuscripts and editions had superscriptions—words written before the beginning of a Psalm—indicating that Psalms 9 and 10 were also born out of David’s encounter with Goliath. These two Psalms were originally composed as one, joined together by an irregular acrostic, which is an ancient Hebrew poetic device. It makes use of the Hebrew alphabet with the first letter of a verse being the first letter in the alphabet, and then following in like manner successively on through the whole alphabet, verse after verse. This method of Hebrew poetry is followed with a precision in Psalms 119 and in several other Psalms, particularly Psalms 37.
With Psalms 9 and 10, however, there are irregular numbers of verses assigned to the same letter, and on some occasions the initial letters are out of place and a few are missing. There is enough order, however, for us to recognize the Psalm as the acrostic writing that it is.
The Companion Bible recognizes the broken irregularity as drawing attention to the broken and irregular times of which the Psalms speak. Oddly enough, this has been an inspiration to me as I have studied the Psalms. There is an unusual acknowledgment that we must see within them. The time to which they point has within it an irregularity that only those who search for Truth can discern as being under the regulation of the Lord.
The inscription at the beginning of these Psalms in the Hebrew text is, To the chief Musician upon Muth-lab-ben, A Psalm of David. It is rather apparent that the Psalms are thoughts—indeed, prophetic thoughts—that came to David as he meditated on what had taken place in the slaying of Goliath. The words upon Muth-la-ben seem to mean “Concerning the Death of the Son.” But, the word beyn, which is usually understood as meaning “son,” is seen by some scholars as a defective writing of the same word that is translated champion in I Samuel 17:4.
In the I Samuel account, the reference to the champion is, beyond question, Goliath. The word champion means “the dualist,” the one who went between the two armies. Goliath challenged the army of Israel to send forth one man who would enter a dual with him as he represented the army of the Philistines.
The Chaldee version, from the land of Babylon, has this in the superscription of Psalms 9 and 10: “A Song of David, to be sung concerning the Death of the Strong Man, (or champion) who went out between the Camps,” that is, Goliath, on account of whose defeat this Psalm has been supposed by many to have been composed.
The Latin Vulgate says it is “A Psalm of David, for the end; concerning the secrets of the Son.” Just think on this! Then, there was this ancient Syriac version that had this in its superscription: “A Psalm of David concerning Christ’s receiving the throne and the kingdom, and defeating his enemies.” The ancient Arabic version had this: “Concerning the mysteries of the Son, as to the glory of Christ, his resurrection, and kingdom, and the destruction of all the disobedient.”
In ancient days, ancient men who studied the Scriptures perceived these Psalms as pertaining to the end of the age. They also could see that in the words of the Psalms were messages to be unveiled concerning God’s Son. What an anointing must have rested upon those men of old as they studied the Scriptures intently and longed for the Day of the Lord!
As we study Psalms 9 and 10, we can see the unveiling of insight that points to the time when the anti-Christ, whom David calls the wicked (one), shall be put down by the overwhelming intervention of God’s Anointed One.
There is something important here to see before going into these two Psalms. There is a word that occurs time and again in the two that connects them with what David saw and revealed in Psalm 37:11. There he said, But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. We took note of this word meek when we considered Moses.
Oddly enough, in the King James translation of these two Psalms, the word meek does not occur. The same Hebrew word, however, occurring either as a Noun or as an Adjective, occurs nine times. I love the “nines” to be found time and again throughout the Scriptures all with reference to “Kingdom people.” There are nine Beatitudes, nine Gifts of the Spirit, nine parts to the fruit of the Spirit, nine principles taught by the Lord Jesus regarding the Holy Spirit in John 14-16. On we might go.
But let’s go now to our “prayer starters” with Psalms 9 and 10 and see the utter faithfulness of the Lord as He brings the meek through to their—oops! our—inheritance. While the wicked one opposes with all his might, that might of his is like nothing before the might of the Lord God Almighty. Although the times ahead may be irregular and often confusing, setting our scope on the Lord Jesus Christ will bring us through the roughest waters ever imagined to inherit the Kingdom with Him.
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