Last week I shared some of my Sabbath studies on humility. This week
I want to go a little deeper on the subject. How God uses humility
can be a controversial topic. Recently, I heard a radio announcer say
that God is love and would never allow anything bad to happen to
anyone. Other people say God cannot do bad things Himself, but does
give Satan permission to do things at times for His greater purpose,
which is always good. And then there is a quote I heard a few weeks
ago that says,

"It's doubtful that God will use anyone greatly until He has hurt him
deeply." A.W. Tozer

I venture to guess that a lot of people cringe when they read that
quote. No one really WANTS to believe it to be true. I know that I
don't enjoy being hurt, much less deeply hurt. So, I am left
wondering . . . is this quote true? How does God humble people?

God's Word is where I headed for answers. Examples of God using
humility to acomplish His purpose are abundant throughout the entire
Bible. Person after person is brought to a place where they are
willing to give everything over to God and allow Him to have total
control. I focus now on four different stories: Jonah, David,
Nebuchadnezzar, & Paul.

JONAH: Jonah 1:1-4:11
Being swallowed by a huge fish does not seem like a good thing. But
notice in Jonah 1:17 that it says, "the Lord provided a huge fish to
swallow Jonah." God made the provision that Jonah needed to
accomplish the greater end result. At the end of the book, God
"provided a leafy plant" as shade for Jonah. Then He "provided a
worm" to kill the plant. It's clear that Jonah would not have chosen
to be used by God if God had not humbled him first.

DAVID: 2 Samuel 16:5-14
David's sin on the rooftop sent his life into a downward spiral of
consequences. At one of his lowest moments, an enemy throws stones at
him and curses him. When one of David's men offers to kill the enemy,
David responds, "Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told
him to. It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore
to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today." David had
learned that God restores the humble. It is found in verse after
verse. Had David not been so humbled, he might have responded

NEBUCHADNEZZAR: Daniel 4:24-37
Nebuchadnezzar was warned what would happen if he didn't humble
himself. A voice from Heaven decreed that his royal authority be
removed and he be driven away to live with wild animals and eat grass
like an ox. "His hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his
nails like the claws of a bird." He stayed like this for seven years!
That would be hard to handle! But it said seven years was what it
would take for Nebuchadnezzar to acknowledge God as "the Most High."

PAUL: 2 Corinthians 12:6-10
Paul attributes his "thorn in my flesh" as given by "a messenger of
Satan, to torment me." He begs God to take it away, yet God assures
him that He allows it to be there so Paul can be humbled and God's
power can be perfected.

So it seems that Tozer was on the right track. Until we are willing
to surrender ALL to God, He allows us to go through things that help
us get to the place of full surrender. We all reach that place at
different times in different ways. And then we might try to take some
control back and have to go through the process again.

God's ways are always good and always bring Him glory. We just can't
always see the good at the time of our humbling and it doesn't always
make the trials easier to go through. But God promises that His grace
is sufficient for us and when we are weak, then He is strong!

Being humbled will hurt, but God wants us to trust that His greater
plan is for eternity and He wants us to be a part of that plan. I can
chose horizontal thinking (worry how I will handle what is going on in
my life) or vertical thinking (look to God to see how He will handle
what is going on in my life).

Until next week,
Lisa G.