Psalm 138:6 (NIV): Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly,
but the proud he knows from afar.
It seems like a contradiction to many that God, though the God of the universe, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, the God who is highly exalted and lifted up, shuns those who exalt themselves, and associates most closely with those who are meek and lowly. And this is not out of pity, but because those lowly ones most clearly show God’s own character – they are most like Him.
The fact is, though He is God, though He is sovereign and all-powerful, He is also lowly in heart. This might seem strange to many to think of Him in that way, but think about it for a minute. From the very beginning, since the creation of the universe, God lowered Himself to make it all real. He got His own hands dirty dealing with material things, quite literally when He formed man from the dust of the ground. He did not delegate this task of dealing with material things to lower beings, like angels; He did it Himself. And then He did not stand far off from His creation, but stooped down constantly to interact with these creatures that He made, walking with them, talking with them, and revealing Himself to them so that He could have a relationship with them.
Of course, the deepest lowering He ever did was the incarnation of Jesus – the God of the universe confining Himself to a physical body! Even then, Jesus could have shown Himself as a demigod, or an avatar, powerful and unconquerable, compelling people to worship Him. But He came as a lowly child, who grew into a real human man. Even though His hands had created all things, He came to his creation, not “to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
Even after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, God still stoops to be with His creation in powerful relationship, incarnating Himself anew in each believer as the whole Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, comes to dwell in our hearts through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Once again, God lives in houses of clay instead of in grand palaces! He works through those who are lowly enough to surrender their whole lives to Him – to admit from the start that they are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.” (Revelation 3:17) And through those lowly ones, those who are willing to stoop down to those lost and in need, those most like God Himself, He works to recreate the world.
Father, I must admit that I am stunned by this revelation. It totally changes the way I see everything! Thank You for being lowly enough, loving enough, to humble Yourself for me, for all of us! Thank You for revealing Yourself in ways that we can understand. Thank You for all of it! Amen.
In God’s kingdom, it is…helpful to picture a huge saucer into which is thrown all the people of God in all their giftedness, from the least to the greatest. Those most strongly gifted for ministry will not rise to the top, but sink to the bottom, where they may undergird and provoke (in the original sense of “challenge” or “call forth”) the rest of the people of God. (Columbanus: Letter to a Young Disciple)