That's the word I heard from the Lord today.
It has been a very long, trying week, filled with disappointment, pain, stress and lack of sleep, and I suspect that many of you reading this devotional can relate. You are probably either going through or have recently gone through major trials of some kind or another. You're tired, you're disappointed, you are in pain, you feel out of control, you feel harried and used, etc. Why would God's response to all of this pain be just this one word? What does humility (or lack of!) have to do with all the stuff we're going through?
When I asked God this question, He immediately placed Prov. 22:4 in my mind: "Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life."
I can relate to the last part of this verse. My tired, stressed-out existence longs for riches and honor and life. But when we read the first part of this verse, we see that these things we so long for are but the wages of, the result of, the word God placed on my heart: Humility.
Okay, if humility is the key to life, then perhaps it would be useful to define humility...
And God has already defined it for us: "Humility is the fear of the Lord..."
Did you ever go to the dictionary to look up a word, only to have to look up some of the words in the definition in order to understand?
That's how I felt as I read this line. Humility is the fear of the Lord, but just what is the fear of the Lord?
We've always learned that this means to respect Him, to reverence Him, to hold Him in awe, but we already do that, don't we? I mean, we have accepted Jesus' gift of Salvation, we recognize Him as the King of the universe. What more can this mean?
If we look to the Bible, we see that the fear of the Lord is the root of all wisdom (See Prov 1:7), for wisdom comes from understanding who God is and that He is holy, righteous and true (See Deut 10:12, 20-21). We also see that fear of the Lord includes understanding how much God hates sin, as well as having a healthy fear of His judgment on sin (See Heb 12:5-11), and fearing God also means having such a reverence for Him that it has a great impact on the way we live our lives. Thus, the fear of God is respecting Him, obeying Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshipping Him in awe.
And the fear of God, according to Prov. 22:4, cannot be achieved without humility.
As I think back over the many things that have "gone wrong" this week, I have to ask myself if I totally surrendered these situations to God. Did I lay them down at His feet? Did I submit to His will, even if that meant going through these tough times? And here was the kicker for me this week: Did I trust Him enough to understand that things might be more than they seemed? Did I trust Him with the problems? Did I trust that He could and would "fix" them--without my help?
Isn't that what the truly humble do? Don't the truly humble recognize their own inability to change a situation, and submit to the only One who can, without holding on? Without doubting His ways? Doesn't someone who is truly humble, someone who truly fears the Lord, live in total submission to God's will, ever knowing that God's ways are perfect, and that He often allows us the hard times in order to teach us important lessons? And that often these are lessons of humility?
Friends, if we are not willing to submit to God's will, if we are not willing to ride the valleys of life with Him, are we truly humble? Are we truly fearing God?
If we truly desire to be humble, if we truly desire to have the fear of the Lord, then we must let Him bring us to all humility. We must desire to submit, in all humility, to His sovereign will, ever trusting that His ways are best, even when we can't see it ourselves. It will be painful, yes, for we know that God sometimes allows us to go through pretty scary, taxing times in order to bring us to all humility, to bring us to the ultimate in the fear of God. But let's remember that the rewards are oh, so great: "Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life." (Prov 22:4)
Will you join me in seeking all humility today, in walking in total submission to God's will, no matter where that path may lead? If you will, then you are promised riches, honor and...Life!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.