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How humble should we be?

The Bible teaches us to be humble and Jesus Christ is used as an excellent example of humility that we should follow.

Phil. 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

Phil. 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

Phil. 2:7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

Phil. 2:8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Jesus is certainly an excellent example to follow, but there is also an example in the book of Genesis. As you read the following story, notice that God took the form of a man. How did He demonstrate humility in this instance? (I have added words in brackets to clarify who the pronouns refer to.)

Gen. 32:22 ¶ Now he [Jacob] arose that same night and took his two wives and his two maids and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.

Gen. 32:23 He took them and sent them across the stream. And he sent across whatever he had.

Gen. 32:24 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.

Gen. 32:25 When he [the man] saw that he had not prevailed against him [Jacob], he [the man] touched the socket of his [Jacob] thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him.

Gen. 32:26 Then he [the man] said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he [Jacob] said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me [Jacob].”

Gen. 32:27 So he [the man] said to him [Jacob], “What is your name?” And he [Jacob] said, “Jacob.”

Gen. 32:28 He [the man] said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.”

Gen. 32:29 Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he [the man] said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he [the man] blessed him [Jacob] there.

Gen. 32:30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”

Gen. 32:31 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh.

Gen. 32:32 Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip.

Verses 28 and 30 indicate that the man who wrestled with Jacob was God Himself. God demonstrated humility by taking on human form, allowing Himself to be weaker than Jacob, and allowing Jacob to prevail in the wrestling match. The Creator of the universe allowed a man to prevail over Him in a wrestling match.

Let’s look again at these verses in Phillippians. Notice that we are commanded to have the same attitude that Jesus had.

Phil. 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

Phil. 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

Phil. 2:7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

Phil. 2:8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

As we go through life, we often do not receive the recognition or respect we deserve; and many times other people who are less talented or less deserving receive more than we receive. It hurts our pride to be in those situations, but just as God lowered Himself to human form and allowed Jacob to prevail over Him in a wrestling match, and just as Jesus lowered Himself to human form and allowed Himself to be killed, so too we need to humble ourselves and accept the fact that we often will not get what we deserve.

 

Further Reading

What should we do when we are a moral minority?

Do you want revenge?

How should we respond to disrespect?

 

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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”