Reading: Psalm 119
I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.
I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.
Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me and teach me your law.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes, LORD;
do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding (NIV).
Fallen leaves laid low in water — Tsawwassen, BC — photo by David Kitz
Humility is not a character quality that is natural to man; on the contrary, a proud and haughty spirit is all too common. We may do our best to disguise our pride, but often it’s there just below the surface. Usually we are blind to our conceit and arrogance. We flatter ourselves too much to see our own faults. There are a number of scriptures that say just that. The rich are wise in their own eyes; one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are (Proverbs 28:11).
We smarten up when we are laid low. The psalmist begins today’s reading from the lowest point—from the dust. Why does he begin from such a low point? We are given a clue in the second verse of this psalm portion: I gave an account of my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees.
When we are called to account, we like to put on a brave face and set our best foot forward. This may work well in human circles, but it’s not the best strategy when we are called to account before God. The positive spin we put on our sins and shortcomings doesn’t impress God in the least.
God sees us as we truly are. We are always naked—morally naked before Him. We can hide nothing from the LORD. When God answers us, we are brought low; we are laid low in the dust. We were taken from the dust and God formed us into who we are. Any success we have had is due to Him—entirely due to Him. That problem-solving mind was formed by Him. That pretty/handsome face was shaped by Him. That strength and athletic talent came from God. My talents are gifts from God.
We get a right understanding—the best understanding from our knees—the laid low position.
Response: Father God, you are right to call me to account. I humble myself before you. Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me and teach me your law. I want to please you. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you putting a positive spin on your relationship with God or has humility triumphed?