Humility Misunderstood

Tsadhe [close up]Humility has gotten a bad reputation. Many people think of a humble person as someone who never speaks up for himself, someone that can be taken advantage of, someone who becomes a doormat for everyone else. But the picture of a humble person in the Bible couldn’t be more different!

We all have to bow to someone or something. A godly humble person has chosen to bow to God and to follow God’s righteous standards.

One name for God is Jehovah Tsidkenu which means God is Righteous (see Psalm 119:137). The Hebrew word tsadhe is a part of God’s Righteous title, and it’s how we are called to live. Tsadhe means the humble, faithful servant.

In the section of Psalm 119 called tsadhe, the psalmist points out:

  • Your laws are right … they are fully trustworthy (vv. 137, 138).
  • Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and Your servant loves them (v. 140).
  • Your commands are my delight (v. 143).
  • The way You tell me to live is always right (v. 144).

Jesus lists a whole series of rewards for those who are humbly, faithfully dependent on God for help in Matthew 5:3-12. But I especially love how tsadhe looks when we zoom in on it—the Hebrew scribes wrote it with the faithful, humble, kneeling servant depicted with a crown! Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven (Matthew 5:12).

Far from being pushed down, the humble person is the one God delights to exalt! God set the standard for righteousness, and then Jesus became our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 1 Corinthians 1:30), so that we could receive the rewards of humble obedience to the Heavenly Father.

What a way to live!

(If you are near Cedar Springs this Sunday, please join me as we continue our series on the 119th Psalm.)

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