God has a way of using the meek and mild to accomplish his purposes. This is a theme that exists throughout the scriptures and many of the most important moments in God’s unfolding story of man are accomplished by those who are meek in spirit.
John the Baptist was a sort of messenger who came on the scene to “prepare the way” for Christ. He preached to crowds that they should “Repent! The kingdom of heaven is at hand!” He started to gather a following and probably had every reason to be somewhat puffed up. After all, he was the leader of this somewhat organic movement. Before “Occupy Wall Street” there was “Occupy the Holy Land” and John was it’s leader for a time. Whatever following that continued to pick up steam behind Jesus certainly got its start with John. So great was his influence that Herod had him killed. Yet, John wore this banner lightly, and when Jesus fame was brought to him he simply stated that “he must become greater and greater and I must become less and less. In fact, his message to the people was this…
After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. – Mark 1:7
There was no doubt in John’s mind who the real star was, and when that light began to shine, he quietly faded to allow its full brilliance be on display. John was certainly the epitome of humility and God used him mightily.
During a time when the Jews were in great danger, Esther and her cousin Mordecai were given placement in the Persian king’s palace. They had influence and certainly had the king’s ear. When the king’s right-hand man Haman showed a genuine dislike for Mordecai, he devised a plan to get rid of all the Jews and basically tricked the king into signing it into law. You would think they would have immediately gone to the king to put a stop to it. However, we assume that through God’s providence they bit their tongues until just the right time. When they did approach the king, it was with respect and not demanding. As a result, not only was Haman hanged and the Jews saved, but Mordecai was given the highest office in the land next to the king, and at the height of the Persian empire, which was in control of the land where the Jews lived, God had placed two of his most humble people right beside the king so as to ensure the survival of the Jewish nation.
Joseph also, was one who had a quiet manner about him. He was slow to speak and quick to listen. He was betrayed by his brothers, framed by a woman and spent time imprisoned. Yet he never turned his back on God and God raised him up to do a mighty work. Like Mordecai, he rose from that humility to a position as the king’s right-hand man and led the Jewish nation before it was a nation.
Interestingly enough, Mordecai was from the tribe of Benjamin. Benjamin, of course, was Joseph’s younger brother. He was known for his humility as well, being the youngest of 12 brothers. In fact, both Joseph and Benjamin learned humility from their mother. Their mother, was Rachel, the chosen wife of Jacob.
Rachel was not the eldest daughter. We see her first come on the scene as a shepherdess. Why was a woman tending to Laban’s flock? Laban had sons, but perhaps they were not old enough yet. Leah was the eldest, but she couldn’t do it on account of her vision problems. Rachel took it upon herself as her duty. In many ways she stepped up when Leah could not.
However, when Jacob falls in love with her and asks for her hand, her father tricks Jacob into first marrying Leah. No doubt Rachel would have known about the deception as it’s hard to keep those kinds of marriage celebrations secret in such a small town. Yet, she does not object. She accepts her place as the younger sister, even though she’s been taking on the responsibilities of the firstborn. Rachel’s humility seems almost foolish doesn’t it? We read that story and practically beg her to stand up for herself. However, her humility is used mightily by God as well.
I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan. At it’s heart, the story is about how even the most insignificant person can change the world. Delving deeper, we find that sometimes the people who make the biggest difference have no idea at the time. They are simply living their lives guided by their moral values. In the case of Bilbo Baggins, when ultimately faced with the chance to kill Gollum, the creature who tried to kill him earlier, he looked on Gollum with pity, and that pity stayed his hand. That’s important when considering the providential undertones in the book. If Gollum hadn’t lived, then the final scene in the book would not have happened and the enemy wouldn’t have been defeated. This is why Gandalf is prompted to say…
“The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.” – Gandalf the Grey
The bottom line is this: if things didn’t happen the way that they did, then perhaps Joseph wouldn’t have had 10 older brothers. There would then be no one to be jealous of his favor in Jacob’s eye. There would be no selling of him as a slave and no coming to Egypt. These are necessary events, not just for the life of Joseph but for the entire nation. After all, it is Joseph who makes the wise plans to prepare for the years of famine that were to come. Had it not been for him, the nation would have starved to death, and this includes Jacob himself. It was largely Rachel’s humility that set these things in motion, and once again God’s providence is on display in all its glory. He takes the mistakes of some to bring about the events necessary for his chosen people to accomplish his purposes here on earth.
Solomon was given the opportunity to ask for anything he desired and he chose wisdom. It made sense as he was the leader of the nation. For me, at this time, I choose humility. I pray that I can have the kind of humility that God has used for thousands of years to do his greatest work, so that through me he might be glorified.