Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Lesson in Humility

So True...
I'm on a 2-year Bible reading plan and let me just confess that I am happy to be out of Ezekiel and into Daniel. Daniel is an incredible man (so is Ezekiel), and his book is full of stories, mysteries, and unbelievable events (Fiery Furnace? Lions Den?). Early on in the this book we see that Daniel has a gift of interpreting dreams. Specifically, when nobody else in the land can help the king out, Daniel steps in. That's where we find him in chapter 2. Nebuchadnezzar has just had an alarming dream and he doesn't know what it means. After consulting everyone he can find and still not knowing the meaning, he finds Daniel, who says this to him.

"As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind." (Daniel 2:29-30)

Today, let us consider Daniel's humility. Here he is asked to do something that nobody else could do, and God gives him the ability to do it (interpret a dream). Does he gloat about it? Step up and say something like "unlike all your so-called 'wise men' who weren't able to help you, I and I alone have the correct interpretation. What will you give me if I interpret it for you?" Maybe he jumps on Twitter or Facebook to tell the world that he alone has the answer? No! In fact, he rather does the opposite, making it clear that he is no wiser than anyone else, but just happens to have received the understanding from God.

Humility has been defined many ways, by many men and women. In this instance, Daniel's humility is simply this; seeing himself in his proper place. What I mean is this; Daniel is humble because he demonstrates the ability to properly see who he is (and is not). He remembers that he is not God, he is not the source of wisdom, he is not a creator, he does not give dreams or interpret them. And what he is; he is only a man, he is a receiver and messenger of God's wisdom (not his), he is obedient (in sharing the dream with Nebuchadnezzar).

Pride, so often, is not remembering who we are. We get prideful when we forget that we are nothing...that everything we are and everything we do is by God's grace and power. Remember these words from Jesus? "Apart from me you can do nothing." Daniel knows...and we would do well to remember as well. The point?

At a recent leadership conference I was able to attend I heard an incredible message given on the topic of humility. The findings traced the power of humility all the way back to, guess who, Jesus. One of his opening statements was simply this; "Humility makes the great, greater." We would all benefit from remembering who we are, and worshipping God in all humility.

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