God has been speaking to me on the topic of humility for some time now and I have been amazed at how many things in the Bible are associated to pride and humility. Many of them seem completely unrelated.
Take for example the word “bless” or many of its forms (blessed, blessing, etc.) When we think of this word we don’t normally connect it with either humility or pride, do we? We connect it with physical good fortune (health, wealth, fame, popularity, power to assert your will in politics, etc.). But, these physical “blessings” all too often are found to be more of a curse than a blessing. But in the Hebrew language, “Barak” is the word used for blessing. You can sometimes see it spelled baruch, but it is my understanding that regardless of the spelling it is still pronounced the same.
So how is it that this word is related to humility? The vast majority of words in the Hebrew language can be boiled down to a three-consonant root word that contains the essence of the word’s meaning.
B (Bet)-R (Resh)-K (Kaph)
We can get a better understanding of the meaning of the root of this word through the words it forms within the Hebrew language. For example, when Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, brought his camels to the well where he met Rebecca, he caused his camels to bend their knees. The word used there is, “Vi’yavrach” (a derivative of “barak”), so Eliezer made the camels kneel down. (Genesis 24:11)
The word barak is also related to the word in Hebrew “berach” which means knee. Another use of the root of barak is the Hebrew word “L’havrich” which refers to taking a vine and putting part of the growing branch under the ground so that it may sprout roots. Barak is also related to the Hebrew word baraq, which means lightning.
When we compare the word barak to all the various forms associated to the root of the word, we find that what they have in common is a downward motion: the kneeling of the camels, bending the knee, planting of the vine, and lightning, all have in common that something is being made low.
Being made low……humility is often clearly associated to lowliness in a number of well known scriptures in our bible. So let’s get to the practical connection between blessing and humility. First, how are we blessed by God through humility? There are so many ways God blesses us through humility. God, The Creator of All Things, Maker of heaven and earth, provides for our needs. And who are we that He should be mindful of us, creatures made from the dust of the earth? Not only that, He then took on the form of this man He created in His Son, Jesus. He humbled himself to hang on a cross, suffer and die, to secure a place for you to live with Him. God also blesses us by empowering us to do things that are not within our natural abilities. These are just a few examples of how God has blessed us through His humility and we receive these blessings through our humility.
Now, do we bless God? In Psalm 34:1 David says “I will bless the Lord at all times…” So how in the world can we bless the creator of the universe? It is again through humility that a blessing takes place. Realizing our place, as limited individuals, we can put our trust in our God of unlimited ability. We give Him the only thing we have of spiritual value, our life.
But a word of warning, many times the process of blessing appears to be anything but. Deep humility is forged in the fires of adversity, trials, trouble and difficulty. With our faces on the ground, crying tears of pain and heartache, we find our self made low enough to be useful, broken enough to receive true wisdom, surrendered enough to find rest and low minded enough to achieve the unity of God’s design. We also experience those same conditions in the process of blessing others. God’s blessing and humility go hand in hand.
One of my favorite scripture to illustrate the connection between blessing and humility is Psalm 1 (NKJ):
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore, the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Notice that the blessed man is not walking, standing or sitting. All of these are upright. The blessed man has made himself low. He is kneeling. The author compares the blessed man to a tree. A tree represents a Godly, humble man in the spiritual realm. Now you might say “But a tree is standing upright.” This is true but a tree gets its uprightness from God. There is humility in a tree.
The tree in this scripture does not put itself by the water but is planted. Once a tree is planted, that is the place it rests. While a humble man may be active in the physical realm, in the spiritual realm he is at rest in the peace from above. A tree’s nutrition is processed using the energy of the light above. This tree does not wither. It receives its nutrition and water from the depths below, the deep things, the unseen things. A tree is quiet. They move and make a quiet rustling when the wind or spirit blows them and only when the wind blows them. A tree does not live or provide for itself. The shade it provides is not for itself. The fruit, lumber or shelter to wildlife it provides is not for itself. God knows the way of the righteous, the blessed man, and the humble. They are one in the same.
May you receive God with a humble heart and have your being with Him alone.
Your Friend in Jesus Christ,
- Humility: Forgetting Ourselves Completely (1catholicsalmon.com)
- God in Every Breath (richardburkey.wordpress.com)