Humility Before the Word of God
A truly humble man is hard to find. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure how often in my life I have actually run across a truly humble man. Certainly there have been times where someone has responded with meekness in a particular situation, and I do know some who are more modest than others. More often than not, however, we find ourselves in the presence of such characters as Charles Dickens’ creation, Uriah Heep, who went about proclaiming his humbleness—in a very non-humble way! Bragging on how humble you are tends to contradict the very statement! True humility is indeed a rare thing.
There is, of course, a good reason why Christians should exude humility in every situation. Christians forthrightly proclaim their dependence upon Another; we bask in the fact that we follow another Leader; we trust, not in ourselves, but in our Lord. Hence, humility—recognizing a position of submission and subservience—is built into our faith. What a crime, then, when Christians act arrogantly, self-assured, and proud of themselves! How very… anti-Christian!
But, true humility quickly acknowledges another’s authority, and willingly submits—even in the face of confusion or disagreement. And, I personally find that to be key: It is easy to respond positively to God’s authority when I agree with Him! How much more difficult when His Word goes against my natural inclinations or thoughts! If I only submit to God when I agree with Him, then in reality, I am only trusting in my own conclusions, not in God’s. If we are to acknowledge God’s authority in our lives, that means listening to and obeying Him precisely when His Word goes against our own thinking. And, that is hard!
The more we study the Bible, the more we find it running counter to our own natural inclinations. God proclaims in His Word a reality that challenges our own—a reality where the meek inherit the earth, where the blessed are persecuted for their faith, where we are to turn the other cheek. Digging into the Word produces many opportunities to humbly acknowledge that God’s way is right, that His path is the true path.
And, the true test of humility comes right there, when what we see, know, and believe runs directly counter to what God says is true. Can we put aside our own thinking and embrace His? Can we acknowledge the “rightness” of God’s way, even when we see it differently? This is no easy matter, and it highlights the rarity of real humility.
This Sunday in worship we will be tackling an issue that for many will seem simply wrong. We will want to understand faithfully what God says in His Word, and then accept it as the true picture of reality. For many, this will be a challenge—as it should be each and every week! I invite you to worship again this week, where we will hear God speaking through His Scripture. We’ll struggle to understand what He is saying, and we’ll pray that He tunes our hearts to obedience, love, and faith.
For this Sunday, read 1 Timothy 2:8-15.
1. What is the connection between the way men are to pray (vs. 8) and the way women are to
dress (vs. 9-10)?
2. Remembering that Ephesus was the central hub of worship of the goddess Diana is helpful in understanding this text. How might the description of a godly woman in verses 9-10 differ from what is promoted by the cult of Diana?
3. In our current society, the challenging part of verse 11 is the call to submissiveness. What is the affirming part? How does Paul speak positively about women in this verse?
4. Verses 13-14 seem to form the reasoning behind Paul’s thinking. On what does he ground his thinking, and why does this matter? Why would the order of creation matter? Why would it matter that Eve was deceived by Satan?
5. Verse 15 is truly a mystery—there are lots of ways of trying to figure out what Paul is saying here. But, first notice who “she” refers to: it is not all women, but Eve. How does this effect the way we understand this verse?