The Pathway to Humility
“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” Deuteronomy 8:3 (NIV)
A friend of mine who is a young leader at a growing organization recently confessed to me some discouragement he’d been wrestling through. Basically, he’d been working so hard, seen great success, but was given no recognition or encouragement by his leaders. And hardest of all, due to some transitions in the company, he’d been demoted to a lower position.
I asked him a seemingly strange question on the heels of him pouring out his heart to me: “Do you know what the opposite of pride is?”
He tilted his head and asked his own question, “Do you think I’m struggling with pride?”
I wasn’t trying to imply my young friend was prideful. I was setting the stage to help him see his circumstances through a different lens.
So I simply stated, “I believe the opposite of pride is trust in God. Pride begs us to believe it all depends on us. Trusting God requires us to place our dependence on Him. And the pathway that leads us away from pride and into a place of truly trusting God is paved with humility. Humility is never bought at a cheap price. It will always cost us something but will be worth the price we pay.
“Might God be using these humbling circumstances to get you to a place of deep and unshakable trust in Him? If God sees big things ahead for you, and I believe He does, then He must remove all hints of pride. Even if pride is but a tiny thorn in your heart now, when you are given a bigger position with more recognition, that pride will grow from a thorn to a dagger with the potential to kill your calling.”
In the Old Testament, we see God revealing this same kind of pride-stripping process by feeding the children of Israel manna in the desert for the purpose of humbling them. It was crucial that God prepare them to trust Him as they stepped from the desert into their destined Promised Land.
Deuteronomy 8:2 says, “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”
And then our key verse Deuteronomy 8:3 goes on to reveal, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”
So why exactly was having to eat manna so humbling? And what can we glean from Deuteronomy 8:3 for our own lives today?
Here are three things I think we can take away from today’s key verse:
1. God is our Provider.
The children of Israel were used to looking down at the ground in Egypt and working the land to provide for themselves. They trusted their own hard work for their provision. Now, they would need to look up and trust God for His provision.
2. God’s provision is what we need but not always what we want.
This manna God provided was not like the normal food the Israelites were used to providing for themselves. But God knew it was the perfect nourishment for those in the desert. He knows our needs better than we do. God is more concerned about our ultimate good than our temporary pleasure.
3. God’s provision protects our heart. Our desires have the potential of corrupting our heart.
Man-made bread is not what gives the fullness of life God desires for us. Man-made success, riches and popularity are the same way. They will not fulfill us like we think they will. Only the Word of God can seep into the hungry places of our souls and make the dead and discouraged places within come fully alive and deeply satisfied. We must want Him most of all. And then He will see our hearts are prepared and trustworthy to handle other things.
At the end of our discussion, my young friend thanked me for helping him see that in each hard step of his journey as a leader, he’s either walking the pathway of pride, by trusting himself, OR the pathway of humility, which is trusting God. And the same is true for each of us.
May we all choose to trust Him and let that be the lens through which we process our circumstances. May we see how God isn’t trying to break our hearts but rather make us ready for what He sees just ahead.
Lord, thank You for always having my best in mind. Search my heart for any shred of pride. And help me live a life of humble and complete surrender to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 4:6, “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Have you recently walked through a situation that was tremendously humbling? How could God actually be using that to do a good work in your heart?