God is perfectly humble

The writer first attended Radio Church of God services at the Passover in 1956. He lives in Big Sandy with his wife, Pat. The Stewarts have two children: Liz Russell of Arcadia, Calif., and Jim Stewart of Springfield, Ill.

By Ellis W. Stewart

BIG SANDY, Texas--The Christian community holds to many concepts of the Creator and Ruler. Many in Christendom envision a lofty, harsh Supreme Being upon whom they blame the world's ills. Yet we can trace many of their perceptions of God to their own ideas rather than reality.

In replying to nominal Christianity's perceptions of God, we need to keep in mind that God has a perfect mind. His perfect intellect laid a perfect and majestic plan for His greatest creation, human beings, whom He made in His image. The loving and compassionate mind of the Creator shows perfect godly concern for His heritage.

Satan and his world have tried to hide the reality of the mind of God from God's creation. Satan, from the beginning, has attempted to cover up the truth of the nature of God's character.

Remember Genesis 1, the account of God creating man? Satan was right there to interfere and told lies to Adam and Eve to deceive them about who God really is.

Thinking takes time

A few years ago, thanks to handed-down Greek philosophy, many of us in the Church of God encountered a different concept of God: an impersonal God who exists apart from time and space and does not have "parts."

In that conception God can have no thoughts, because thinking literally takes time. Such a God cannot express His feelings to His children, sentiments such as "Now I know you, Abraham," and "You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," because expressing takes time.

To accommodate the concept of such a God, one must explain away many expressions in the Bible.

Many of us refused to do that.

Let's perceive the biblically revealed mind of God by briefly looking at some of the relationships His people have historically had with Him.

Abraham, the father of the faithful, learned to trust God, and God learned to trust him. God and Abraham, we could say, had a meeting of the minds.

We've heard of the patience of Job. Job changed God's mind. God, according to Scripture, learned much about Job from the way he reacted to his adversities.

The humility of God

God not only reveals Himself as the Creator and Ruler of the limitless universe, including areas man will never discover, but as our loving Father He reveals to us His meekness, gentleness and humility.

Are meekness, gentleness and humility especially important, defining aspects of God's mind?

David, in his "songs of praise" in the Psalms, waxes eloquent on the qualities of God's mind.

Notice in Psalm 113 he emphasizes the lofty, majestic aspects of God. In verse 3 he declares that "the Lord's name is to be praised." In verse 4 he notes how "high above all nations" is God; His glory is "above the heavens."

But then David asks: "Who is like the Lord our God, who dwells on high, who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth? He raises the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy out of the ash heap, that He may seat him with princes--with the princes of His people. He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children" (verses 5-9).

David provides us in 2 Samuel 22:36 with more details of what we could call the humble aspects of God's mind. God, through His gentleness, can glorify His servants, as He did David: "You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your gentleness has made me great."

Willing to bend down

God has all power and glory and authority, yet a revealing aspect of His mind and personality is His humility, His willingness to bend down to His creation and deal with mere human beings.

The patriarch Moses reflected the humble aspects of God's mind. Numbers 12:3 shows Moses as "very meek above all men." Moses was anything but weak and cowardly, but God did not call Moses because of his natural strength; He called and used him because of his meekness, because he was willing to humble himself before God and the Israelites.

When God was ready to destroy rebellious Israel, Moses argued the point with God and changed God's mind.

In our day meekness is associated with weakness. But the meekness of men of the Bible is misunderstood.

A dictionary defines meek as "too submissive; spineless; spiritless." That definition is what many people think of when they think of someone who is meek.

Yet the same dictionary, in the same paragraph, also defines meek as "patient and mild, not inclined to anger or resentment." This is the definition of meek as the Bible uses it.

Meekness and humility go hand in hand, as acknowledged by Bible commentaries. The Bible prophesies Jesus as the Messiah to be meek and lowly. Someone who is meek in the Bible is someone who has self-control. Meekness is a condition of the mind and heart. (The closely related characteristic of "gentleness" refers to actions.)

Jesus at the Passover

Before Jesus' crucifixion we read about His taking of the Passover meal with His disciples, who did not understand what was about to happen to Him.

Some of them had just asked Him for high positions in the coming Kingdom. They, as did many Jews of the day, believed He was about to seize political control of the land from the Romans and set up a physical Kingdom of God.

When Christ came as a servant, as a meek and humble man, they were befuddled; they did not know what to think.

Yet they should have known how Christ was, because He perfectly reflected the character of God, which they could read about in Scripture and which Jesus had told them about many times.

In John 13 we see Jesus' meek and humble example at His last Passover supper. In verse 4 He rose from supper, laid aside His garments, took a towel, girded Himself and began washing His disciples' feet.

Peter, for one, was flabbergasted. "You shall never wash my feet!" He shouted at Jesus.

Jesus, the humble servant, informed Peter that if he didn't learn the way of humility, as Jesus was so graphically demonstrating, then he could have no part with Him.

Peter must have received the message, because he responded: "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!" (verse 9).

Then Christ explained to the assembled 12: "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you" (verses 14-16).

Paul, summarizing Christ's example for the benefit of the Philippian church, encouraged the Philippians to think as Jesus Christ acted at that last Passover.

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:5-7).

Jesus, said Paul, "humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (verse 8).

Because Jesus had the humility of God, God was able to "exalt Him," said Paul, and has "given Him the name which is above every name" (verse 9).

Paul understood that we must take on the same mind--and the same humility--Christ has. From whence came Jesus' mind and humility? He got them from the same source available to us: the God of all creation.

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