Friday, February 27, 2009

Lent '09 - Day 3: Humility in Luke's opening chapters

I recently wrote about humulity, and thus it has been more on my mind. In reading Luke, I've been surprised by how so much of God's interactions occur in a humble context. Examples:
  • Zechariah and Elizabeth sounded like the type of good nieghbors you'd love to have next door. They were "upright in the isght of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." The come from a repuatble family line, and Zechariah gets the honor of serving as priest in the temple. But they have a large cultural black mark: they have no children, as Elizabeth has been barren and they are now well along in years. Undoubtedly there was a lot of pain, but it's to this couple that God gives John the Baptist.
  • It's to Mary, a young teenager of little means, that the Holy Spirit conceives a child. When praising God, she even says, "he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant."
  • It's the shepherds working the nightshift with their livestock who receive the first announcement of Jesus birth. Shephersds were by no means the Jewish barrons, but they're the ones who get in the inside peek at God's redemtive plan.
  • The whole fact that Jesus is being born out of the limelight to a no-name family.
A proverb that gets under my skin a bit is: "He mocks proud mockers, but gives grace to the humble" (Proverbs 3:34). I get scared of the thought of God being against me. I'd hate to be on the receiving end of his mockings. But the solution is straightforward: humility. The beginning of Luke definitely confirms that he shows grace to the humble.

Peter also applies this proverb when he writes in 1 Peter 5:5-6:
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
These characters in Luke had been in humble contexts for quite some time, but God did eventually lift them up. A hope for myself and others is that when God is in a position to do some raising, he at least finds us as candidates.

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