Man, in sinful pride, thought to elevate himself above God. He thought that by disobeying the Lord’s command he too could know good and evil. He fell and great was his fall. He became a lowly, despicable, sinful creature whose whole life was enmity against God. In his wretched state he foolishly imagines himself, even today, to be very important. He lifts himself up in haughty pride and defies the living God as Goliath of old. He shakes his fist in the face of Almighty God provoking Him with his rebelliousness. Jehovah sitting in the heavens laughs and holds him in derision. What an awful laughter that must be. How horrible to be the cause and object of that laughter. It means horrible blackness; unquenchable thirst: continuous, never ending burning; everlasting hell fire. In pride man, elevating himself above God, is cast into lowest perdition.
Man’s elevator “pride” fails miserably. In time he may appear successful in his attempts to elevate himself but eternally he is brought low. God’s elevator “humility” works in quite the opposite way.
Christ told his disciples in Matthew 23:72, “Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” In Isaiah 57:15 we read “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” “God,” according to Rev. G. Vos (see his meditation October 15, 1947: volume 34 of the Standard Bearer) “dwelleth in two places. First, he dwelleth in His Holy Place …. But there is another place where God loves to dwell, and that is His dwelling in a created place which He has reserved for Himself. It is with the contrite and humble spirit of man. . . . And a contrite spirit is a spirit that is broken, crushed, unspeakably sad and sorrowful as a consequence of his fall from God.” Such a person God will elevate to highest heaven to live everlastingly with Him.
Humility is a non-human virtue. Natural man is the very opposite. He is very proud. Humility is of such a nature that the minute you think you have attained it you have lost it. Wicked man even turns the virtue of humility into an object of pride. Napoleon once called it “the greatest ornament of an illustrious life which goes a great way in the character of die most exalted princes.” At the final judgment when every man will face the righteous judge of heaven and earth, each, the wicked and righteous alike, will be forced to confess that never in his whole life was he ever humble. It is impossible for man to attain the virtue of humility no matter how earnestly he strives for it. And yet God requires of us that we walk humbly.
True humility is God given. He is the one that brings low in order that he might also exalt. David suffered deep humiliation. He disobeyed God by going to live in the land of the Philistines. God found him out and brought him low by the arm of the Amalekite avengers. The purpose of this humiliation was to make David aware of his sin in leaving the inheritance of the Lord. The result was that David offered a broken and contrite spirit of repentance to God. God forgave him and exalted him as ruler of His people. God humbles His own because he loves them. Consider also that God suffered His own Son to be humiliated here on this earth so that we with Him might be elevated to sit at His right hand.
When the believing child of God walks through the Valley of Humiliation and faces the dreadful apollyons of this and the nether worlds he is being led unerringly by the Lord Himself. Only a regenerated child of God will be led through this Valley for he alone possesses humility. It is, however, a virtue that is as far away from his natural reach as is salvation itself. As only the Lord is able to work regeneration so only the Lord is able to produce true godly humility in one of His creatures. That humility which He originates is ultimately for His own pleasure and enjoyment.
Only the child of God is humble. He reveals his humility first of all and foremost to God. He submits himself willingly to the preaching of the Word and anxiously longs for that eternal day of glory with the Lord God. He detests his sins and abhors that which is evil. He is like the publican who prostrated himself before Almighty God and cried, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” He will not be anxious to display his humility before men because he will never be able in good conscience to consider himself humble. He will continuously petition the Most High for humility and bear adversity patiently knowing and believing that God is answering his prayer for humility. He will be content with that which the Lord has given him.
Humility is truly God s elevator. Through the deep way of humiliation he exalts His own.
He that is down needs fear no fall, lie that is low no pride,
He that is humble ever shall Have God to be his guide.
The Shepherd Boy’s Song Pilgrim’s Progress John Bunyan