Lessons in Humility from the Life of David
Article taken from Fatherly Talk
Lessons in Humility from the Life of David
Humility is not an option but an essential if one is to progress in this life and also in the next life. Besides learning definitions of humility, we must also learn lessons of humility in this life that will stand us well while on earth and in the next life in heaven. All the principles of spiritual progress in this life and in the next life are derived from the same Scriptural principles. Part of the lessons in humility involved knowing how to relate properly to authority (and authority figures), relating to our own God-given abilities and gifting without using it to lord it over others, and learning to respect both those who are above us and those who are under us (in position, power and fame) equally. True humility learns to relate to people for who they are and not just what they have or where they are. Some of the lessons in humility we can learn from the life of David are:
1. Humility is to keep the right respectful attitude to authorities and authority figures even though we may be more popular, more talented and more gifted than them.
After David became the most popular man in Israel after he defeated Goliath, all the women and songs composed were about his greatness even above King Saul (1 Samuel 18:7). Definitely this was not the only song that was composed but a sample of songs being sang for all Israel loved David (1 Samuel 18:16). King Saul was very insecure and reacted wrongly to David attempting to kill him (1 Samuel 18:9-10). David in spite of all the adulation and popularity remained humble and considered that he was not worthy to be the king’s son in law (1 Samuel 18:18). It would have been easy for David to become proud and big headed possibly even plotting Saul’s dethronement but such thoughts never occurred to David. He was satisfied to remain where he was until the Lord’s fullness of time. Let us also not forget the fact that David was actually anointed to be king by Samuel (1 Samuel 16:1, 13). There were so many reasons and opportunities for David to fall into pride but he did not. Before promotion comes a test of humility.
Many people lesser than David have failed at such opportunities because they became proud and take things into their own hands. The test is an opportunity to become proud through one’s ability and achievement. Success has a way of preventing further success if one became proud through the preceding one. Only continued humility can assure one of continued success. Many people begin very humble in their lives but when success comes immediately become proud and thus they become a hindrance to their own further success. For this reason many do not rise to be the top rank of number one (head and not the tail) despite their earlier success, which would have been a test for them, for it did not produce an attitude of humility. Many remain with mediocre success for they failed the first test of humility. Everyone will be given an opportunity to be proud and only those who choose to remain humble continue in their meteoric rise to be the head and not the tail. Besides that, those who finally achieve the fulfilment of the Scriptural promise to be the head and not the tail sometimes do not get to keep their position because they became proud the moment they became the head (Deuteronomy 28:13). The power to remain the head also is conditioned upon exercising humility when at the very top and pinnacle of success.
2. Humility is to keep the right respectful attitude to authorities and authority figures even though we might not agree with them.
King Saul out of his insecurity began to pursue and destroy David such that David was driven from the palace to the cave (1 Samuel 19:8-18; 22:1). There were many attempts of Saul to kill David both directly and indirectly: spears being thrown at him (1 Samuel 18:10-11; 19:10), creating difficult and dangerous situations hoping that David will be killed (1 Samuel 19:25), sending assassins to kill David (1 Samuel 19:1, 11). Saul made David his enemy even though David had only done Saul good (1 Samuel 18:29). Insecure people made even good people their enemies. Most of the time their enemy is only in their head for the darkness of their own insecurities make them think that people are out to get them or wanting to dethrone them from their position. Feelings of jealousy, insecurity and anger are deeply rooted in insecurity. The darkness in people who have such dark thoughts caused them to see darkness in others when it is not there.
The right way to respond to people who have only done good to you is to love them and be grateful but those that are deeply insecure cause even those who love them and desire good for them to be their enemies. How sad that such people will end up without any friends for they seek to destroy even the very friends who do good to them. One would have thought that with so much in Saul against David that David would have hated Saul and seek to destroy him in return. This was a different test of humility for David. The first test was a test of sweet success as to whether he will become proud from his achievements. This second test is a test of whether he will return evil with evil. If he did so, he would have himself become bad and evil. Instead, David returned good for evil. He spared Saul’s life twice against the wishes of his own mighty men (1 Samuel 24:5-7; 26:8-11). He also refrain others from destroying Saul (1 Samuel 24:7; 26:9). Some people will not destroy others themselves but get others to do the dirty job for them. This was not David’s attitude for he commanded his men not to harm Saul, who had positioned himself to destroy David. By being a bigger man than Saul, David had passed the test of greatness. He passed the second test of humility and set himself on the road to greatness in God.
3. Humility is learning to both do what God says to do and NOT do what God says not to do even when we have the ability to do it.
King David had a good desire to build God a temple after he was firmly established in his throne and kingdom (2 Samuel 7:1-3). David was rich, popular, and powerful and had the natural ability to build God’s temple. He even had received the plans by the revelation of God as to the details of the temple (1 Chronicles 28:12). David had very detail revelations of the dimensions of the temple, the running and divisions of the priests for the temple and even the materials for building the temple (1 Chronicles 28:1-21). The test, now that he was firmly established as king was whether he will do what God says; for in his position as king over all the land, only God was his restraining factor for no one else had the authority and power over him – he could practically do anything he wanted to do. When God said to David NOT to build the temple, David was humbled and obeyed God. God reminded him that he was nothing before he became a king and in God’s sight would still be nothing without God (2 Samuel 7:5-16). God did bless and reward him for his right desires and love for Him but God did not allow him to build the temple, a job given to David’s son.
There is a God watching every single human being on the earth: both the successful ones who are at the pinnacle of power and those struggling at the bottom of society. All are called to account before Almighty God. Anyone who disobeys God and steps outside the jurisdiction appointed and given to each will be dealt with severely just as Nebuchadnezzar was dealt with (Daniel 4:17). All men must humble themselves before God even the head of tribes, businesses, fields of studies, senior pastors of mega churches, heads of nations, yes, even the head of the whole entire human race and planet. It is a test of humility and perpetual greatness if one submits to God and only seeks to perform and do His Will as a servant even though one might be the mightiest and most popular and powerful man or woman on planet earth. David passed this test and became the standard by which every other king in Israel and Judah was measured.
David was not a perfect man but he was a humble man. Pride did rear its ugly head and David did fail some tests of humility. He failed the third test of humility given to those who have absolute power without any other human above them when he sinned with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:1-11). He did fail the test of pride when he numbered the Israelites (1 Chronicles 21:1-2). On the average, many men and women do pass the first test. Fewer pass the second test of humility and they end up in the deserts and wastelands of bitterness and strife. Their lives have become wasted time as they blame everybody but themselves for their lack of success. Each day and month and year is only more of the same as they either remain in a plateau or at the bottom of the barrel. They will only arise and experience more success in life when like the prodigal son, they stop blaming others and humble themselves and return to where they left the right path of progress both spiritually and naturally. Fewer still are those who make it through the second test and are tested at the third level of humility. For only very few men and women reach the top of their community or tribe or nation to have power and authority over others below them. Of those at the very top, very few are like Daniel or Joseph who preserved themselves from the sins of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. More of them are like David who have made mistakes in these areas. Those who have not passed the second or third test should never judged the failures of those who fail for if you have not been in same level to be tested, you would not know whether you yourself would have passed or failed the test. For those who have failed in such areas and experience loss and shame like David, the key to redemption is as clear as it was in David’s time. The key is repentance and humility. Since the test is actually a test of humility, it bears well to start at the throne of God by humbling oneself before Him. For God loves the humble exalting them and resisting the proud.
The good thing about God is that He allows us as many chances as we need to pass the test. It does not matter how many times one fails. It only matters that we keep close to God and keep humbling ourselves before Him. The lessons of humility from David who passed most tests but fail in some is that whenever you fail, humble yourself like David did and seek the mercies of God. In humbling himself in his failure with Bathsheba, God gave David a beloved son who would build the temple of his vision. In humbling himself in his failure for numbering the Israelites, God showed David the exact place to build the temple. The plans and the purposes of God move forward even through the meanderings of human failures. The river of God’s perfect Will still gets done as long as humility comes forth easily and quickly.
Be aware that our humility is being tested at all times by Almighty God. Walk humble before God and before man and you will always experience exaltation by God into places of His delight and joy.
In Christ Jesus
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