Humbling Oneself

God looks with favor on those who humble themselves.

The Bible gives us many examples of this. “Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed.”

About Manasseh, the wicked king, it is written that when he prayed, the Lord brought him back to Jerusalem from where he was taken captive: “In his distress he sought the favor of his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.”

When Josiah heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes and sent messengers to the prophetess Huldah to inquire of God. This was the message that God gave him: “Because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord.”

Even the king Ahab, “who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord” was heard by God when he humbled himself. Then God’s message came to Elijah saying: “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day . . . .”

When you humble yourself before God then it is possible that God will relent from the disaster He was planning to sent against you. The Ninevites, from the greatest to the least, humbled themselves before God when the message of destruction was preached to them. God had compassion on them.

The message of prophet Joel is the same: Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God. Gather the people including the elders, the children, those nursing at the breast, the bridegroom and the bride for a holy fast, a sacred assembly. And let the priests ministering before the Lord weep between the temple porch and the altar saying: “Spare your people, O Lord.” Joel says, “Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing!”

King Solomon was answered by God saying: “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.”

Peter admonishes us, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

Ezra leading a group of exiled people back to Jerusalem was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen for protection since they had already told the king that the gracious hand of God was with all those who looked to Him. So he declared a fast so that they might humble themselves before God and ask Him for a safe journey. It was granted.

Daniel was told by the heavenly messenger that his words were heard since the first day he had set his mind to gain understanding and humble himself before God. This was told him to assure him that even though the answer to his prayer was delayed 21 days it was heard even the first day itself because he had humbled himself.

Prophet Micah sums up devotion to God this way: “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Jesus said: “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” And again, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

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