March 17, 2018


Exodus 4:10-16; Luke 18:13-14

He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

—  Luke 18:13

Our world is hostile to humility; it sees the humble person as a doormat—someone who stands by quietly while others step all over them. The world would rather have us think more of ourselves.

But we are naturally so selfish that increasing our love of self will leave little room for God, not to mention our neighbor. A life built on self-esteem is lonely. What’s more, because humility is often confused with weakness, the lover of self tends not to forgive others.

True humility places all the power of “self” in the service of God and neighbor. Thus God takes hold of Moses’ weak tongue and strengthens him to speak boldly and plainly to Pharaoh. And the humble tax collector throws himself on God’s grace when he says, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Most important, the eternal Son of God takes on the form of a humble servant and dies in our place (see Philippians 2:5-11).

Directed by God’s love, people who are humble in spirit invest themselves in what the world thinks is weakness. Christ’s power strengthens us to love God above all and our neighbors as ourselves. Sharing the good news of God’s love and helping others in need, we have “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15-16).

The world scorns humility. But Jesus Christ’s humility has overcome the world, to the glory of God the Father.

Lord Jesus, may your mind live in us daily so that your love and power will guide us in all we do and say. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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