March 31, 2020
“If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” - 2 Chronicles 7:14
What does it mean to “humble yourself”? I have been thinking about this question for the past week, especially since we are all experiencing the impact of this global pandemic. What does “humility” look like? How would you describe it?
When King Solomon dedicated the temple, he offered a prayer to the Lord during the dedication ceremony. In 2 Chronicles chapter 6, Solomon’s prayer was an invitation to the Lord to receive this temple structure, built by human hands, as a place worthy to be called the “House of God”. Solomon’s prayer demonstrated the human need for Yahweh’s presence in the lives of His people. His prayer outlined the different scenarios in which God’s people would sin and fall short of God’s will. His prayer also described the different ways God would indicate to His people that they are not living according to his will and pleasure. Enemy siege, famine, pestilence and the destruction of crops, and biological plagues were mentioned in Solomon’s prayer as indicators of God’s displeasure being expressed towards His people. Solomon’s plea was that God would hear his people and bring deliverance whenever His people turned their face towards His house, and prayed for forgiveness.
In response to this powerful prayer, Yahweh stated, “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). What a powerful and encouraging response from the Lord, and yet it can easily be missed that the personal requirement to fulfill such a command is humility. The word “humble” that is used in this verse is, kana, which means “to be brought down low”. It is a primitive root that displays a change in position and height. Before God demands prayer from his people, he demands a changing of position and height. He could’ve easily demanded prayer alone, but yet he insisted that His people would first “humble themselves” before they uttered a word. What does it mean to “humble yourself?”
This global pandemic has been a powerful “truth-revealing” tool. The simple command to “love your neighbor as you love yourself” has been exposed as we see people fight to the death for toilet tissue. The tension between “faith” and “fear” has been exposed as Christian leaders and believers argue the semantics of 1st amendment rights versus the opportunity or responsibility to exercise social distancing protocol. As loved ones struggle to breathe in hospital rooms, God’s people...who are called by His name...are still engaged in “political arguments”. What does it mean to “humble yourself”?
Sometimes, humbling yourself can be seen as a simple crying out to God for help. Admitting to God that you are afraid...can be seen as humbling yourself. Asking God for forgiveness for your stink, and arrogant attitude...can be seen as humbling yourself. Calling that person, who you have had an issue with for years, and making things right...can be seen as humbling yourself. Asking God for forgiveness for your political rhetoric for the last couple of years...can be seen as humbling yourself. Before you utter another word of prayer, God is demanding humility. God is demanding that you bring yourself low...that we bring ourselves low. “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” – James 4:10
Now that’s Good Word!