Berean Studies / Ber02 - Humility And Meekness
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1. What importance does God attach to these graces of Christian character?
2. Although the Scriptures use the words interchangeably, yet strictly speaking, what is the distinction between humility...
3. What is the relation between humility and knowledge?
4. How do we know that humility is the underlying principle of the divine government?
Mt 23:12; Jas. 4:6, 10; Php 2:7- 10; E151 ¶2; E423 ¶1; R2655, col 1, ¶2- 4
(Mat 23:12) And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
(Jam 4:6) But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
(Jam 4:10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
(Phi 2:7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
(Phi 2:8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
(Phi 2:9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
(Phi 2:10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
E151:2 There is a most important reason for the use of this title. It is a title of high honor, because a perpetual reminder of his great Victory--of his faithful, humble obedience to all the Heavenly Father's arrangements, even unto death, even the death of the cross, by which he secured the title to all his present and prospective honor and glory, dignity and power, and the divine nature. By this title, "The Son of Man," both angels and men are referred directly to the great exhibition of humility on the part of the Only Begotten of the Father, and to the underlying principle of the divine government--he that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Thus every time this name is used it speaks a volume of valuable instruction to all who shall be taught of God, and who are desirous of honoring him, and doing those things which are well pleasing in his sight.
E423:1 Amongst the angels who had retained their first estate and loyalty to God, no doubt there might have been many found who would gladly have undertaken the accomplishment of the Father's will, and to become man's ransom price: but to do so would mean the greatest trial, the severest test to which loyalty to God could be exposed, and hence the one who would thus manifest his devotion and his loyalty and his faith would be worthy of having the very highest position amongst all the angelic sons of God, far above the angels and principalities and powers, and every name that is named. Moreover, it was a part of the divine purpose to make use of this opportunity to illustrate the fact that whoever seeks to exercise his own selfish ambitions (as Satan did), shall be degraded, abased, while, on the contrary, whoever shall most thoroughly humble himself, in obedience to the Heavenly Father's will and plan, shall be correspondingly exalted. God so arranged his plan as to make this feature a necessity; to the intent that in this manifestation of divine sympathy and love for the world, an opportunity might also be afforded for the manifestation of the love, humility and obedience of the Only Begotten of the Father--his well-beloved Son, whom he delighted to honor.
R2655 c1 p2-4 According to the flesh Peter and several others of the apostles of our Lord were his elders, but according to the spirit our Lord is the Elder Brother of all accepted to the family of God. According to the flesh both Timothy and Titus were young men--young in years--so that the Apostle needed to write to one of them, "Let no man despise thy youth." (`1 Tim. 4:12`.) And yet these young men the Apostle recognized as Elders in the Church, who, because of their spiritual development and knowledge of the divine plan, and aptness to teach, were well qualified to feed the flock of God and to be overseers in it--but not lords, not rulers, not masters, and not vested with any authority --merely privileged to call to the attention of the flock the voice of the great Shepherd and his twelve chosen assistants, and to lead them to the green pastures and still waters of divine truth.
It was after specially enjoining modesty and humility upon the ones most advanced and most capable of the flock that the Apostle, in the language of our text, urges that each one of the Lord's sheep, so far from seeking to be a leader in the sense of a ruler or lord or master, should seek to be subject one to another --to hear gladly from the humblest of the flock, and to be willing to yield his own preference, so far as his judgment and conscience would permit. A Church operating under this spirit would not be likely to be rent with contention, for each would be so anxious for the interests of the cause and so willing to condescend to the wishes of others, that even the will of the majority would not be considered satisfactory, but rather all would seek, if possible, to reach such a modified conclusion as would meet with nearly or quite unanimous approval.
The Apostle most distinctly points out that the quality essential to such proper conduct on the part of Elders and on the part of all, is humility. How beautiful is his exhortation, "Be clothed with humility." The thought would seem to be that outside of every other adornment of character, and covering all others, should be this robe of humble-mindedness, the opposite disposition to pride.
By way of clinching his argument, the Apostle reminds us of the principle upon which our Lord deals with his flock and with all;--that he disapproves of pride, and that all who are actuated by pride may be sure that the Lord, so far from receiving them, fellowshiping them, leading them, blessing them, will resist them, push them from him. The natural inference is that thus resisted of the Lord, the tendency of such as come under the influence of a spirit of pride and ambition will be not toward the truth nor toward any of the fruits and graces of the spirit, but further and further from these. "The Lord resisteth the proud, but supplies his favor to the humble." Come then, dear brethren, says the Apostle, let us cultivate this humility which the Lord so loves and appreciates and promises to reward. Let us humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt us in due time.
5. What does it mean to be ‘clothed with humility’?
6. Is it possible to have too great humility?
7. What elements of character are in direct opposition to humility?
8. What lessons may we learn from Jesus’ example of humility?
9. Was humility characteristic of the apostles?
10. Why is humility a chief essential in an Elder?
11. Why should husbands cultivate and exercise humility?
12. How can wives exercise humility?
13. Why is it important that we teach our children meekness and humility?
Zep 2:3; F555 ¶1; R1963 col. 2 ¶2- 5; R2021 col. 1 ¶1, 2
(Zep 2:3) Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD's anger.
F555:1 There is just one promise which seems to hold during that time of trouble, and it appears to be a general one, applicable to all who are meek and lovers of righteousness. This class should include all mature children of the consecrated ones, who have been rightly taught in the precepts of the Lord, rightly instructed out of his Word. The promise reads, "Seek meekness, seek righteousness; it may be that ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger." Zeph. 2:3
R1963 c2 p2-5 The tendency of all as the storm approaches will be to seek cover, protection, under the great mountains (kingdoms) and in the rocks of society (beneficial orders) (`Rev. 6:15-17`); and many will flee from the country to the cities. The "overcomers" who will "escape all these things coming upon the world" (`Luke 21:36`) will indeed flee to the mountain, the Kingdom of the Lord, and be safe, but none others can attain to it. "Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord? who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart," etc.--`Psa. 24:3-6`.
But, seeing that all the efforts of men to hide themselves "from the wrath of the Lamb" when the great day of his wrath shall have come will be in vain, the saints would best make no such effort to hide their children, knowing that it would be folly. The trouble comes to overthrow sin and every false system and thing; and the lessons it brings will prove beneficial to mankind in general, breaking their idols and purging their hearts. If our children and friends need the purging, we should not wish to have them escape it. If they do not need it, we may rest assured that the Lord will permit the glorified members of his body, his Church, to care for their children and friends during that trouble and to succor them from all that would not be to their benefit. What more could we ask than that we should be their ministering guardians, far more able to help them than if with them in the flesh?
The best provision which parents can make for their children is to give them, by precept and example, faithful instruction in righteousness. Remember that "the fear [reverence] of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Begin therefore to instruct them in the plan of salvation, the plan of the ages. As they come to a true appreciation of God's wisdom, justice and love, it will give them broader and truer views of justice and love, in respect to their own conduct and toward their fellow creatures. Teach them meekness and humility, and the folly of pride and arrogance. Teach them generosity of thought, and how to be happy with little, reminding them frequently that godliness with contentment is true riches. Remind them of the Lord's words, "seek meekness, seek righteousness. It may be that ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger." (`Zeph. 2:3`.) The rich in this world's uncertain riches, and the proud, whether poor or rich, and all that do wickedly, will be special sufferers.--Compare `Mal. 4:1`; `James 5:1-6`.
During the time of trouble, for the first time in the world's history, there will be a premium on meekness, patience, love, gentleness, goodness. (However, before that stage of the trouble comes, before Babylon falls, there will be a different trouble upon a "great company" of those not overcomers, who will be severely buffeted by Babylon which for a time will have an increase of power. The foregoing remarks do not apply to this class which will come through great tribulation. Since the service of the poor and afflicted in mind and body is a great privilege, we should endeavor so to train our children that, when the trouble comes, they will be both able and willing to counsel others to righteousness and the avoidance of carnal warfare, rather than selfishly think merely of their own safety. Children should be encouraged to such stability of character, in combination with faith in God, that they will, under any stress, act up to a high conception of nobility.)
R2021 c1 p1,2 "Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth which have wrought his ordinances; seek righteousness, seek meekness: perhaps ye will be protected in the day of Jehovah's anger." (`Zeph. 2:3`.) This is the only safe course. Those who now seek according to this direction may yet make their calling and election sure, and be among the "overcomers" who shall "escape" the things coming upon the world. Those who do not "escape," but find themselves in the great trouble, can follow no better advice;--they may be hid or protected from at least some measure of the trouble.
Hence, instead of seeking a place of safety (which cannot be found) for ourselves and our children, let us seek to bring ourselves and them into the above described condition of safety, by hearty obedience to the reasonable service set before us.
14. What Scriptural promises are given to the meek and humble?
15. What notable illustrations and examples of meekness and humility do we find in the Bible?
16. Give suggestions as to the best methods for acquiring and cultivating these important graces.
17. What additional thoughts can be found by consulting the Topical Indexes of the ‘ New Bible ‘ and ‘ Heavenly Manna ‘?