The Ultimate Humility
Is America headed for another civil war? Many commentators are finally realizing the deadly reality of our dreadful political division. There is only one way to avoid a nation-destroying clash.
The Civil War began on April 12, 1861. On August 12, President Abraham Lincoln made this proclamation:
Therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States, do appoint the last Thursday in September next, as a day of humiliation, prayer and fasting for all the people of the nation. [I]n all humility and with all religious solemnity, to the end that the united prayer of the nation may ascend to the Throne of Grace and bring down plentiful blessings upon our country.
In a time of unprecedented national crisis, Lincoln spoke about the need for coming to God in “all humility”! The Union came close to being divided forever. Abraham Lincoln wanted to save it, and he knew that the nation couldn’t be reunited unless we were in “all humility.” Americans had to be humble enough for God to teach them a lesson—or else the nation would be divided forever.
How far our nation has fallen from God since that proclamation was made! Look at this history and you gain some perspective on what is happening in America today.
On March 30, 1863, as the Civil War continued to rage, Lincoln praised God for providing endless blessings. Then, he warned:
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
Can you imagine a president or a political leader today making such a statement? We are in this deep and dangerous division because we have forgotten God. Yet the situation is even worse today in some ways! We just haven’t started shooting yet, but some of the statements being made are worse than those made in 1861. Where is this all leading?
A Call to Repentance
On Oct. 20, 1864, Lincoln reemphasized the repentance theme:
And I do farther recommend to my fellow citizens aforesaid that … they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union and harmony throughout the land, which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.
Lincoln didn’t reach the people with that message right away. They had to suffer and suffer, soaking the land with blood, but they finally did gain more humility. And after much suffering and hundreds of thousands of deaths, America was finally ready to lay aside its weapons and listen to God. This president was actually calling on them to repent and humble themselves and let God lead them.
Think about these powerful statements from perhaps our greatest president. Can you imagine a president today rebuking the nation for turning away from God? We often hear hollow words of gratitude toward God, but never do our leaders recommend repentance from sin.
How can America prevent a second civil war? There is only one way. This something we must understand if we are to make a change and a turnaround in the way we are living.
The Ultimate Example of Humility
Jesus Christ set the ultimate example for us to follow (1 Peter 2:21). Without Him, we would have no hope, no future and no salvation. Look at His example of humility!
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:3-5). How different was Christ’s mindset!
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (verses 6-7). Christ had existed for eternity as the Word alongside God Himself. He has always been second in command, even before the universe existed. His life is worth more than the sum total of all angels and humans. Yet He willingly lowered Himself to the level of a mortal human being—so He could serve us.
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (verses 8-9). Christ humbled Himself to the point of death. He made the ultimate sacrifice to pay for the sins of all mankind so we aren’t doomed to eternal death (Romans 6:23). He purchased us with His blood to make salvation possible. As a result of this unmatched humility, God the Father glorified and blessed Him. God will do the same for us if we follow Christ’s example of ultimate humility.
Try to think regularly on what Christ went through for you. Even if He had to die for only you personally, He still would have done it! “As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isaiah 52:14). Witnesses of Christ’s scourging and crucifixion were astonished—He was beaten beyond recognition, to the point that He didn’t look human anymore!
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). All mankind is responsible for our Savior’s suffering and death. Too many today try to pin the blame exclusively on the Jews. Christ died not just for the Jews, but for every person who has ever lived and died, is alive today, or will live in the future! We all have sinned.
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (verses 4-7).
Christ’s scourging paid the penalty for our physical sins, which lead to sickness, injury and death. This beating made our healing possible. Christ’s crucifixion paid for our spiritual sins—the breaking of the Ten Commandments, which leads to eternal death. His death made eternal life possible for us.
Verse 8 asks the pivotal question: Who shall declare His generation? Christ humbled Himself to death and now wants us to display the same humility. He expects us to declare the dual blessings of physical healing and spiritual life made available to all mankind by His suffering and death.
God’s Favorite Home
God the Father rules the entire universe and inhabits all of it at once. But there’s one place He likes to live most of all. “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isaiah 66:1-2). There isn’t a physical temple today, but the spiritual temple consists of those few who receive the Holy Spirit and humbly submit to God. God can live in you—if you allow it. His mind can become your mind (Philippians 2:5).
The word contrite in Isaiah 66:2 means “broken” and “smashed.” God loves a humble person who has broken and smashed and conquered vanity. He will look to you if you fear and obey Him. With Him on your side, you can solve any problem among individuals, families, cities, states, nations and even the entire world. The time will come when every knee will bow to Christ (Philippians 2:10). God is giving you, as you read this message, the opportunity to become one of the first to bow to Christ the King—before the rest of humanity does. Remember: He died for you! Is it really too much to ask for you to honor Him by the way you live your life daily?
Isaiah 66:2 is one of the greatest scriptures in the Bible. Do we have the strength of humility to allow God to live in us so we can declare His generation? Christ’s sacrifice is for all mankind. All mankind needs to be taught about it. We have the honor to be their teachers—if we choose to obey God today.
Think again about Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation. He was grateful and humble and repentant like few people ever have been. No wonder he was one of the greatest presidents in American history.
Miraculous Blessings of Humility
Most leaders and elites today are far too arrogant to be taught by God. “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day” (Matthew 11:23). God obliterated the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from heaven because the inhabitants were so evil. Yet Christ said the people in Capernaum, a wealthy resort area, were even worse because they heard the gospel message but refused to heed it—even the Sodomites would have obeyed had they received a similar warning! This is blunt condemnation.
“But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee” (verse 24). Those in Capernaum should have known better. They knew that Christ was a God Being in the flesh, yet they still rebelled against His warning message. We’re all guilty of rebelling against God. It’s not just the Jews; it’s everybody. Our elites and politicians exalt themselves to the God level! They aren’t humble and teachable before God. God promises to bring them down to the dust—to force them to become humble.
God wants you to realize the reward He is offering to the humble today. If we declare His generation, we will sit on David’s throne alongside Christ for all eternity! (Luke 1:30-33; Revelation 3:12).
But this reward is unavailable to the vast majority of mankind. “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Matthew 11:25). God’s truth is revealed to human minds—you can’t discover it on your own. God only makes the truth known to “babes,” or the humble and childlike. The “wise and prudent,” or worldly intellectuals, are more ignorant than a toddler when it comes to spiritual truths. They have no idea who and what God is. Meanwhile, the humble can simply study Chapter 1 of Mystery of the Ages and prove the answer to this most important question in life.
Society today has the wrong perspective on power, and this can easily rub off on God’s people. “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:1-4). Christ’s own disciples were jockeying for the premiere seat of authority in God’s Kingdom. Christ had to enlighten them: The most humble today will be the most powerful tomorrow.
In his autobiography, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote of his hard-yet-rewarding experience with achieving humility:
I was never converted until I was brought to the place where I realized my own nothingness, and God’s all-encompassing greatness—until I felt completely whipped, defeated. When I came to consider myself as a worthless burned-out “hunk of human junk” not even worth throwing on the junk pile of human derelicts, truly remorseful for having imagined I was a “somebody”—completely and totally and bitterly sorry for the direction I had traveled and the things I had done—really and truly repentant—I told God that I was now ready to give my self and my life over to Him. It was worthless, now, to me. If He could use it, I told Him He could have it! I didn’t think, then, it was usable—even in God’s hands!
But let me say to the reader, if God could take that completely defeated, worthless, self-confessed failure to which I had been reduced, and use that life to develop and build what He has done, He can take your life, too, and use it in a manner you simply cannot now dream—if you will turn it over to Him without reservation and leave it in His hands!
Look at how blessed Mr. Armstrong was. The work under him, at its peak, soared past $200 million in annual income. His Plain Truth magazine surpassed 8 million subscribers. The list goes on and on.
If you strive to develop the ultimate humility, you will receive blessings like you can’t even dream of!