Why should we humble ourselves?

Rehoboam is an example of the proverb. Even when warned by Shemaiah the prophet:

“Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and to the princes of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the LORD, ‘You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.'”

2 Chronicles 12:5

Rehoboam did not abandon his pride. It wasn’t until Shishak, the ruler of Egypt, began to decimate his kingdom that he turned and humbled himself before the Lord.

How did God respond when Rehoboam repented?

Then the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The LORD is righteous.” When the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah: “They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”

2 Chronicles 12:6-8

The Lord relented His wrath on Rehoboam and Judah so as to provide them some relief. They were sacked and beaten down but they were not destroyed. God is merciful, but He is also just. Even though God’s heart is bent towards mercy, His character requires Him to act justly (Exodus 34:6-7).

The Psalm that accompanies our reading of 2 Chronicles 12, in our read through Scripture program, reveals how we should think of our relationship with the Lord:

“For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.”

Psalm 73:27-28

We shouldn’t believe ourselves better than the Lord. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to stray from His wisdom and will for our lives. Instead, we should continue to trust in and seek Him. He is our refuge. It is because of Him that we find success.

Rehoboam learned this lesson the hard way, you can argue he never fully learned it because he continued to do evil all his days. Let us not learn the hard way. Let us humble ourselves before the mighty hand of our God all the days of our lives.

All things come from the Lord

In a time of prosperity and materialism, we must not forget that all things come from the hand of the Lord. 

David did not forget. As he was commissioning his son, Solomon, as the next king and setting Solomon up as the one who would build the future Temple, he says in 1 Chronicles 29:14,

Instead of thinking, we are giving what we have earned to the Lord, know we are giving back what He first gave us.

All our tithes and offerings, God has given us first. 

Where is the Lord?

Where is the Lord? Has He forsaken us? Why isn’t He acting? I know these are questions each of you have asked at one point or another because they are questions I have asked too. You might even be asking these questions now, especially given the difficult days in which we find ourselves.

At the core of these questions is the idea that God is distant because He has not immediately delivered you from the difficulty you are experiencing at the moment. But does a lack of immediate deliverance mean God is not there? That He is distant and doesn’t care?

The Exodus

The Exodus serves as the primary motif of deliverance in God’s Word. The Exodus is a powerful deliverance motif because God delivers His people out of the hands of the powerful Egyptians, releasing them from bondage and slavery so that they might serve and worship Him as His own people.

What, however, is remarkable about the Exodus is that God did not act instantaneously nor did He act unilaterally. Look at the text with me:

Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.

(Exodus 3:7–12)

Notice, God tells Moses He has seen the affliction of the people in Egypt. He has heard their cries for help (vs 7). Seeing and hearing God has come down to deliver His people and to bring them to a favorable land (vs 8). But notice in verse 10 how He is going to deliver the Israelites:

Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

(Exodus 3:10)

I will send “you”

Who is the “you”? It is Moses. God is going to send Moses to Egypt to deliver “my people”. Certainly, God is not sending Moses alone. Instead, God promises in verse 12 that He will be with him as he seeks to deliver Israel. What follows in the narrative is exactly that — God rescues the Israelites from Egyptian bondage through the work of Moses.

God could have act miraculously and unilaterally, rescuing the Israelites in a matter of seconds from the Egyptians. He could have transported them to the wilderness to worship Him. He could have killed all the Egyptians right then and there allowing the Israelites to walk out of Egypt at a leisurely pace. He could have intervened in a number of ways to rescue Israel, but He chose to send Moses to rescue His people.

To be sure, Moses did not deliver Israel by his hand alone. If you have read the Exodus story in full, you know Moses was not alone. God was there and He worked in miraculous ways. But God worked through Moses’ interactions with Pharaoh and the people.

God’s primary means of rescue

At times, God does perform miracles and He does instantaneously rescue those who are suffering, but what we see in the Exodus event and in other events throughout redemptive history is that God primarily works over a period of time and through those He has commissioned on His behalf.

Our God is a commissioning God

He commissioned Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David, etc to work and speak on His behalf. He has even commissioned us, Christians, in the Great Commission (Matt. 28). We are to tell others the good news in order to rescue mankind from slavery and bondage.

Our God is a commissioning God who primarily works through His people to rescue, discipline, encourage, bless, mend, uphold, etc.

The next time you are tempted to ask: Where is God in all this? Why is He silent? Why isn’t He working? Look around at the people God has recently brought into your life. Think about the conversations you have had with others.

God is present, He is not silent, and He is at work. Even though it might feel like it at times, God has not abandoned you. He is just not working in the way in which you think He should. Instead of working miraculously and unilaterally, God primarily works through the community of people with whom you are associated.