To Walk Humbly
One of my favorite memories as a child entailed loading up our camper and heading to Prince Gallitzin for a week or two in the woods. My young spirit would find release as we biked through the woods, fished at the lake, and made mountain pies around the fire. The child in me especially loved the big trek to the candy shop where we would stock up on treats we would never be allowed within the confines of our own home. Somehow camping made sugar cereal, candy, and smores an alright menu for little ones.
One of my fondest memories of those days is of going to the ampitheater one evening to learn all about nature, sing hymns, and explore wildlife. I believe this was my first encounter with a song that made a strong imprint on my pre-adolescent heart. I don’t remember who lead the singing, but I do remember sitting out under the stars and singing,
“He has shown thee, (echo: He has shown thee), Oh man, (echo; Oh man); What is good and what the Lord requires of thee. But to live justly (echo: but to live justly), and to love mercy (echo: and to love mercy), and to walk humbly with thy God.”
Growing up this song became a childhood favorite. And later in life, the passage in Micah 6:8 penetrated soul and spirit, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
I’ve been thinking about this verse a lot lately. What does it mean to walk humbly with your God?
One of the things that drew me to my husband was his humility. A servant to all, he demonstrates daily what humility looks like in human form. Recently we were faced with a decision that offered the opportunity for prestige if he took it. Instead, I saw him humbly seek God, asking Him to make much of His Name, and Tim walked the narrow road instead.
I love that my man has a proper sense of proportion. He knows where He is (a mortal) in relation to the Creator of man. When the applause rings out, He burrows deeper into the audience of One. His example reminds me that all that glitters is not gold, the narrow road is less traveled, and pride can cripple the strongest of men.
I recently read in Ordering Your Private World how William Wilberforce used the Sabbath to balance the demands of his busy life and regain a proper perspective of who he was. “Blessed be to God for the day of rest and religious occupation wherein earthly things assume their true size. Ambition is stunted.”
If we are ever to walk humbly with our God, earthly things must assume their true size. We are a mist, a vapor, here today, gone tomorrow. Yet we have this treasure in jars of clay that roots us in the eternal. The things of earth will fade; money can’t buy our souls. We need a proper perspective of what truly matters, what lasts. “Where your treasure is, there you will find your heart.”
When earthly things assume their true size, ambition to make our own name great is stunted. We surrender so that the crippling of our hearts and minds ceases. It is replaced with a clear purpose: what is good. To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.
This is not false humility, a degrading of who we are in Christ. Nor is it a justification to emphasize how sinful we are, or even to celebrate how broken we are. Hugh Hopkins, a biographer of Charles Simeon, who was a celebrated vicar of the Church of England, once wrote of Simeon’s life:
“Self-humiliation for Charles Simeon consisted not of belittling the gifts that God had given him or pretending that he was a man of no account, or exaggerating the sins of which he was very conscious. He went about it by consciously bringing himself into the presence of God, dwelling thoughtfully on his majesty and glory, magnifying the mercy of his forgiveness and the wonder of his love. These were the things that humbled him--not so much his own sinfulness but God’s incredible love.”
And I find this the secret to walking humbly...bringing myself into the presence of God. When I dwell on Him, there’s not much left to focus on me. Walking involves communion, companionship, contemplation. It is not that I am so horrible. Rather, it is that He is so glorious.
The wonder is that we get to walk humbly with Him. He has shown thee, Oh man, what is good...