From Humility to the Promised Land

Speaker: M.Noorhoff

 "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom;@and before honor is humility." Proverbs 15:33@

  As Christians, our goal is to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness just as the Hebrews sought the Promised Land. Christ has brought us out of Captivity just as Moses brought the Hebrews out of Egypt. The story of the Hebrews from this point often mirrors our own lives as Christian and God is doing everything he can to bring us into the kingdom of Heaven just as he did to bring the Hebrews into the Promised Land. We too are destined to walk through the wilderness and the valley of the shadow of death. But we will walk through and eventually make it but God is going to humble us along the way. His rod and staff lead and comfort us. We too build idols we worship above God and his word. We too raise ourselves above him. We too forget that the Lord is always with us. We too forget that God is backing us up.

I so wanted to list the entire Old Testament for todayfs reading because in many ways this is what we will discuss. The New Testament is the Promised Land and the reign of Jesus is the Kingdom of God. Through faith we may enter in.

We can bring it down to one brief statement.

 One must accept the humility/ humiliation of the Old Testament if one seeks to accept the promises of the new.

One must accept the humility/ humiliation of the Old Testament if one seeks to accept the promises of the new.

  But how do we qualify for these promises

  Qualify? Yes! You see, only one type of person is truly able to understand the nature of the promises and walk in it - and that person is one who has come to the point of genuine humility.

 Notice I said genuine humility. Most people don't even know what that is. They don't recognize it when they see it because they judge by the wrong criteria. Thus, many of the people we have called humble are actually prideful and vice versa.

        What is Humility?

 According to the world's standards, a humble man walks around with his head down, his shoulders slouched and doesn't say much. But the world is mistaken. A quiet person is not necessarily a humble person. One can be silent and yet rebellious; quiet and yet selfish.

By the same token, a man who walks confidently and knows who he is, is not necessarily arrogant. Confidence is not pride. Consider the confident servant waiting to boldly carry out his master's command. He is confident, yet at the same time, he is yielding to the authority of another.

What, then, is true humility? Let's look at what the word has to say about it.

 Better it is to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. (Proverbs 16:19)

A man's pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit. (Proverbs 29:23)

When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)

The Bible says humility is "lowliness" or the act of being lowly. According to these verses, the lowly have wisdom and it's better to have a humble spirit than a spirit of pride.

In a very basic sense, to be humble means to be submissive. It means to take your authority, power and independence and yield them to another. It implies becoming totally obedient to a higher authority. To step down, in order to look up.

Child of God, when you are humble in the sight of God, you place yourself in a lowly position under His mighty hand. You are under His authority and power. You refuse to move until you find out where He wants you to go, when He wants you to go and what He wants you to do when you get there.

 A humble man has no plans, programs or ideas of his own. He simply adopts with all his heart the plans, programs and ideas of the one to whom he is submitted. No longer independent, he becomes interdependent with the authority over him.

Pride is totally opposite in nature.  A prideful man has a conceited belief in his superiority over others. He exalts his plans, programs and ways of doing things above God's. When you are prideful, you do what you want, the way you want to do it and when you want it done. You live as if you are independent of God's hand and authority.

 If you live this way, you will ultimately be brought low. You cannot stand for very long without God's hedge around you. Pride invariably leads to a fall.

           "I Know Not!"

 What does all this have to do with the promises of the Lord? Plenty. Before God ever showed me anything about the what he wishes to bless me with, I had to come to the point of true humility. I had to realize that my power and my ways of doing things were no longer sufficient to accomplish all that God had called me to do.

 The same will be true for you. You will have to adopt God's way of doing things before you can enjoy the success the anointing brings. You will have to humble yourself before God can exalt you.

                                                                                                     

 The Bible is full of accounts of men who did exactly that. Take Solomon, for example. In I Kings 3, we see him as a newly crowned king. He had just received a divine visitation during which God told him that He would give him anything he would ask. It was an easy time for Solomon to step into pride, wouldn't you say? But he didn't. He simply prayed:

 And now, 0 Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or

come in.

And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? (I Kings 3:7-9)

Common sense tells us that when Solomon said If am but a little child, I know not how to go out or come in, "he was not referring to his age or education. He was a grown man, educated in the household of a king! What he was saying was that he felt inadequate to judge such a great country and that he wanted to receive God's instruction, just as a child does from his parent.

 Solomon realized that even with his education and ability he could not succeed apart from God. He made a decision not to act out of his own limited knowledge and resources, but rather to seek God's plans. He called upon God to supernaturally supply what he did not possess naturally, thereby tapping into God's limitless resources and power.

 How did God respond to his humble posture? We find out in I Kings 3:12-14:

 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart;  so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.

And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.

The Child's Key to Greatness

Compare Solomon's request to Jesus' words in Matthew 18:3-4.

 Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom a heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

 In this context, the kingdom of heaven refers to the abundant life of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit that is ours as joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 14:17). Jesus says we enter into that great, abundant life by humbling ourselves as little children. His words confirm what Solomon demonstrated: childlike humility ultimately leads to greatness.

 All of us begin our Christian lives with that kind of humility. Unfortunately, we lose it as time goes by. You see it happen in the natural realm to most families

 For example, when children are born into the world, they don't have any of their own plans, abilities or ideas. They must rely completely on the plans and abilities of their parents. But little by little, they begin to develop their own opinions. Gradually, instead of simply learning from their parents, they begin to argue or rebel against them. Where there once was harmony, divisions between the parent and child begin to surface. Once this happens, they can no longer walk together (Amos 3:3).

 Sadly, that is precisely what happens to most of us in our relationship to our Heavenly Father.

 When we are first born-again, we cannot move without the direction and help of the Holy Spirit. However, after we have been saved for a while and have acquired some knowledge, we start thinking we know how to handle ourselves. We say things like "I've done this before," or "I know how that works." Instead of seeking God's instruction and help the way we used to, we begin to do things our own way. We get proud, independent of God's authority.

 How does God respond to that pride? The Bible says, "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble" (James 4:6). That should not surprise you. You are the same way with your children. When your child rebels against you and decides to do things his own wayCyou have a set response. When he decides, "Hey, I'm not going to empty the trash can. I'm not going to help out anymore. I'm going to live life on my terms," your grace stops. You say, "Out, buddy! I resist you!" However, as long as your child is submitted to your authority, you give him grace. He can make all kinds of mistakes, but you still feed, care for and help him every way you can because he is in a submissive position.

 Most Christians would deny they have ever lifted themselves up in pride that way against God. But let me ask you; How many Christians are there who say, "Well, I know the Bible teaches tithing, but I just can't afford to tithe right now" or "I know I need to forgive them, but you just don't understand what they have done to me"? Such statements are nothing but pride and rebellion, exalting your own thoughts and feelings above God's Word.

 If you have done that in any area of your life, you must humble yourself like a child and get back in the place of Godfs grace. Come to God and say, "Lord, I submit to you. Show me where to go." If you will do that, He will be faithful to you. If you start going the wrong way, He

will do whatever it takes to turn you around. You will walk in blessings and victory you do not deserve. You will walk in grace because of your humility!

 

Get Dressed!

 First Peter 5:6 says,h Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, tilt he may exalt you in due time." First Kings 18:46 says that Elijah outran the king's chariots because "the hand of the Lord was

upon him." Put those two scriptures together, and they prove what I have been saying throughout this chapter: The place of humility is the place of God's power, and the promise of the New Testament.

It is there, beneath the hand of God, that you have access to the promises of the New Testament, supernatural anointing and abilities. It is there where you can throw off the limits of man and operate by the limitless power and might of the Spirit of the living God.

 So stop resisting and get humble! As I Peter 5:5 says, "...Be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble:'

 I like that phrase, "be clothed with humility," because it so accurately depicts our necessary attitude as Christians. We must be clothed with humility in order to walk with God (Micah 6:8). Have you ever seen a mother or father try to dress their three or four-year old child who has no intention of wearing the clothes she has selected for him? He will fight and squirm against her every effort. By the time she has gotten his arm in one sleeve, he has wiggled free of the other.

 It's an exhausting and fruitless endeavor. Yet, most believers behave exactly the same way when it comes to the Full promises of God! While God is trying to dress them with His power and anointing, they are so busy squirming around, trying to pursue their own plans and ideas, that He can't do a thing with them.

 Don't be like that! Comply with and submit to the dressing of the Holy Ghost. Allow those He has placed in authority over you to teach you. Quit arguing with the Bible, and just obey it. Help the Holy Spirit clothe you in the anointing by clothing yourself first with undergarments of the humility

Humility is the key to all of God's Promises and power. It is the foundation and prerequisite for au blessing and honor. Oh, if God could only get us there what wonderful things He could do in our lives!

It is then that we reach the Promised Land.