WONDERFUL THINGS: The joy of humility
If you go the beach in the evening as the sun is beginning to set, what is it that will draw your eye? Where will you look? Most of us will look at the splendor of the sky, the oranges, blues, reds and pinks, as the sun’s last rays light the clouds. Maybe your eyes will be drawn to the shimmering waves as they reflect the setting sun. Notice that our attention and gaze naturally focuses upon those things that are beautiful.
And here is the question for today: In this entire universe that the Lord Almighty has made, among all the beauty of the earth, and the sky, and the heavens, what is it that draws the eyes of the Lord? Where does He look with love, joy and delight? The answer may surprise you.
“Thus says the LORD: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be,’ declares the LORD. ‘But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word’” (Isaiah 66:1-2).
God made all the glories of the heavens and he made the splendors of the earth. But to what and to whom is the eye of the Lord drawn? What is beautiful in his sight? Again, here is His answer: “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”
Humility and a sense of our own emptiness are good and beautiful things before the Lord. This is something that sounds so strange in our ears that we can scarcely believe it to be true. Most people when they begin to feel their inadequacy and inability, when they start to see something of their sin and unrighteousness, when they see how little they seem to have advanced in their love to God and others — they wonder what is wrong with them. This world we are in tells us not to think or feel this way. The world tells us that if you are feeling inadequate, know you are adequate. If you are feeling weak, know you are strong. If you are feeling unworthy, know that inside you are worthy. We think that a sense of our own unrighteousness and inadequacy are bad things to be avoided and overcome. But God says it is something of great beauty in his sight. It is to that person that the eyes of the Lord are drawn.
If God has brought you to a place in your life where you are sensing more and more your inadequacy and weakness, don’t ask, “What is wrong with me? I need to snap out of this!” Instead give thanks to God that His eyes are upon you, and He is seeking to bless your life. You might ask, “What possible blessing can come from knowing that I am poor, pitiful, weak and sinful before a sovereign and holy God?” William Plumer, an early governor of New Hampshire and Baptist lay preacher, answers this way:
“Some humble child of God may say, ‘I have made but poor progress. I have sore troubles, fears within, and fightings without. Let such remember, that whatever makes us humble is good for us. Humility is the most lovely of graces. Without it, there is no real progress heavenward. It is a precious token of God's regard to us, that He so deals with us.”
Humility and contriteness are meant to help us stop looking to and relying upon ourselves, and to start looking more and more to the sufficiency and grace of God in His beloved Son, Jesus.
I think we see this in the second half of the description given of the man to whom the Lord will look — the one who is humble and contrite of heart and trembles at God’s Word. This is important. There are many people who are down and broken, harassed by many things, but not all of them will then turn to God and His Word. The one whom the Lord will look to is the one who will turn to God to hear His voice. In your weakness and brokenness look to Jesus; you will find Him already joyfully looking upon you.
James Calderazzo is pastor of Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church in Destin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.