A Brief Meditation for the Month

March 2020

One of the old Puritans, William Gurnall, had this to say: “They who climb lofty mountains, find it safest, the higher they ascend, the more to bow and stoop with their bodies; and so does the Spirit of Christ teach the saints, the higher they get in their victories over corruption, to bow lowest in humility.” The grace of genuine humility is most desirable, as it so much exhibits Christlikeness. Paul reminds us that the Son of God, “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men,” Philippians 2:6–7. This act on the part of God’s eternal Son displays immeasurable humiliation, at which the angels must marvel. Yet the apostle goes further, telling us, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,” verse 8. In his humiliation, Christ, Jesus was willing to be humble. His humiliation was not imposed upon him. But in his humanity, as a man, he humbled himself to the very lowest status—“he made himself of no reputation.” Humanly speaking, Jesus had more reason to be exalted than any other because of who he was, giving so much evidence of his deity, his knowledge, his wisdom, his power. Still, he humbled himself for the sake of sinners.

God requires all his children, to humble themselves under his hand, 1Peter 5:6. So what does this require of us? In the little Prophecy of Micah, the prophet wrote: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8. True humility is not in words, but in our walk—our walk with God. No one can walk in pride and expect to experience communion with God. Ego has no basis whatever in the life of a redeemed sinner, yet how often God must chastise his children because of it. Someone, drawing attention to the diverse forms of pride, suggested that “some are proud of race; some are proud of face; some are proud of grace.” How sad it is to encounter one who claims to be born again boastfully drawing attention to their accomplishments as a Christian. Every genuine Christian will gladly testify, “Boasting excluded, pride I abase, I’m only a sinner saved by grace.” To humble ourselves before God, we require a knowledge of the awesome majesty and holiness of God against whom we have sinned and rebelled.

When the prophet Isaiah experienced a sight of God’s glory, he cried out, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips,” Isaiah 6:5. Job testified, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5–6. We also need to learn what our sin is and how heinous it is before such a God. Also, we need to betake ourselves often to the cross to observe and listen to the suffering Saviour, as he suffered in our guilty place. Reflecting upon him, as he so willingly drank the awful cup of divine wrath that was due to ourselves, it should cause us to cast ourselves down before God in self-abasement and shame. How regrettable it is if God has to say to any of us as he did to haughty Pharaoh, “Thus saith the LORD God…How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me?” Exodus 10:3. When God, through his word and providences calls sinners like us to humble ourselves before him, to repent for our pride, we ought to be swift to respond.

G. G. Hutton.