Walk Humbly With Your God
By Lois J. Stucky
A scriptural gem used again and again to encourage and instruct us as we seek God for revival is 2 Chronicles 7:14. You may not need to read it here because it is well secured in your memory already: "If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." Several times in this issue of Herald of His Coming it is quoted or reference is made to it. Here God sets forth to King Solomon certain conditions in order for a people living in sin to receive forgiveness and restoration to His full blessing. God’s people have profited much from what God so clearly and concisely says here, as He opens His gracious heart to wayward people whom He loves and wants to return to Him.
There is a danger when something becomes as familiar to us as this verse has become, that the impact of it upon us lessens, and we do not heed it as seriously as we ought. Think of the important first condition God gives us: "If My people… will humble themselves…" Only God knows how many of us, His people, have had times of deep humbling before Him. In a time of strong conviction of the Holy Spirit, some sin or sins we have tolerated, suddenly become to us extremely sinful, and through brokenness, tears, confession and repentance, we have graciously received the mercy greatly needed from God and He grants us forgiveness and peace. Oh, the joy of cleansing and restoration!
So we may now consider the condition of humbling ourselves fulfilled and we go on to the next condition, "…pray…." We concentrate on this, and though our inadequacies are many and we must call ourselves back to it again and again, we endeavor to persevere in faith and prayer. For years some of us reading this have prayed for revival. In our sincere endeavors to keep faithful in prayer, we may lose sight of the fact that the humbling of ourselves is an ongoing matter along with prayer. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians that since we live in the Spirit, are born again by the Spirit, we are also to "walk in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:16). We are to progress on through life in the Spirit, being controlled and led by the Spirit. Just so, we are to progress on through life in a spirit of humility, ever open to God’s wise and loving authority in our lives.
We need to be ever humbly sensitive to His voice and humbly hearken to Him when He searches our hearts and reveals any ways in which we are not walking according to His satisfaction. How fitting it is that we vessels of clay, whose life is like a vapor that so quickly vanishes away, should walk humbly before our Almighty and eternal God! If we rely on our own judgment as to how we are doing in our spiritual walk, we are likely to deceive ourselves. No one knows our hearts like God does. Keeping humble before Him that He might search our hearts gives Him opportunity to reveal anything that hinders His bringing us to a better relationship with Himself and a better footing in our prayer connection with Him. He has set conditions for answering prayer, and His longing is that we meet those conditions so that He can answer fully.
If we let a humble, broken spirit leak out of our lives, God may, in love and mercy, allow sad and difficult experiences to come to us to awaken us to what is happening and to bring us to repentance. Experience often has a way of revealing something more clearly to us than words. Quite suddenly we may find ourselves in a situation that tries us deeply, something unlike anything we have met with before. It may be rejection, betrayed trust, broken promises or vows, or being set at naught or unjustly accused. Or it could be handling a rebellious child, or discovering that a dear child has adopted an immoral lifestyle. It may be a sorrow or disappointment that threatens to overwhelm us and blasts high hopes. Even though we are well along in maturity and well taught, we are not beyond the need of God’s discipline.
We endeavor to meet the new trial by ways through which victory has come before. We may find that though we pray and strive for victory, we continue to suffer deeply in our heart, and Satan’s emissaries bombard our minds, tempting us to justify ourselves, nurse our hurt or lose love for the offender. Resentment may flood in. We may utterly fail the test. Going to our knees in prayer may not bring the immediate relief we seek. It may take an extended time of looking to God and duly humbling ourselves before Him. Like a wise parent biblically training his or her child, God will not spare for our crying (Prov. 19:18) until needful behavior is learned. In the end it is proved that God is faithful to His Word: "The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness" (Psa. 18:28).
God may just now need to disclose to us that we have not been walking humbly before Him as we ought. Without realizing what we were doing, we may have begun to take the victory that we had previously been abiding in (actually His victory) as something we had gained. We started out in the Spirit. And as John Newton writes in "Amazing Grace" – "How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed!" Not only at the time of salvation, but whenever we repent and the load of sin is lifted, how humbly grateful we are to God and how we cherish His grace and forgiveness and want to please Him and to walk obediently to Him in all things. But as we walk on, it may be we will not sense so keenly our need of humble dependence on His life within. It is possible to outwardly give the appearance of walking in victory, for we have learned the right words and ways, but we slip into walking in the flesh. There comes self-dependence, maybe self-will. Then when the trials come, we are lacking in power to overcome, for the flesh profits nothing (John 6:63).
Jesus, (the very Son of God!) said: "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do…I can of Mine own self do nothing…because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me" (John 5:19,30). The Son of God chose utter dependence upon God. What a lesson for us! How important that we walk humbly with our God, lest we harden our hearts and resist correction which the Lord means only for our good.
Are not self-dependence and self-will a form of pride, which is sin in God’s sight? (Prov. 21:4). There is the danger also of self-righteousness that rests on the laurels of the past when the Holy Spirit was in control. When there is self-righteousness in our lives, we are quick to see the shortcomings of others. And yet we fail to realize that the power for godly living and for effectual prayer has lessened in our own lives. How we need that love which suffers long and is kind! (1 Cor. 13:4). That high caliber of love is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit, and the gentle Spirit draws back from a prideful heart.
Daily we need to humbly reckon ourselves to be crucified with Christ, the Christ who describes Himself to us as "meek and lowly in heart" or "gentle and humble in heart" says another translation (Matt. 11:29). While on earth our Savior had gracious ways and manners that fitted Him to company with the highest in society, and He had as well the lowly spirit that reached out to touch the disheveled, disfigured leper and the disreputable prostitute. Pride scorns association with such. But it was for all that our Savior hung in utmost humility on the cross, even for these which pride deems the lowliest. His blood was shed to atone for the sins of all.
Let us never forget that the Bible tells us that "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). And again, "There is none righteous, no, not one…there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10-12). Praise God if we are among those who, through grace and faith, are now privileged to enjoy the priceless blessings of full salvation by grace through faith! But remember, as James M. Gray writes in his song, "Naught have I gotten but what I received; grace hath bestowed it since I have believed…"
Oh, might the grace and humility that dwelt first in Christ fully possess God’s people! It is possible if we will put to death the flesh by the Spirit and become fully possessed by the Holy Spirit. How this sweetens all of life, including relationships! As hearts humbly break before God, repent, ever seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit – broken relationships can be restored. Then our prayers are "in the Spirit" and are effectual. We live in victory that is actually His victory in us and not our own, a constant cause for praise and for clinging humbly to Him all the more. Let us who pray and seek God’s face for revival, take care to ever walk humbly with our God and with our fellow man, that our prayers be as effectual as possible.