A study on humility from the life of David.
Most people have a hard time handling spiritual success. When God blesses them, if they are not careful, they will begin to attribute to themselves what God and others have accomplished in their lives. It is a great temptation to read your own press clippings.
But not David. In the moment of spiritual success, and when God had made a great promise to David that his son would rise up behind him and be used of God to build a temple, here is his first response:
“Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far?” (2 Samuel 7:18 NASB).
The Definition of Humility
Humility is knowing who God is and knowing who you are and understanding the difference. No one would have criticized David for taking a little credit … or even for just being silent. But David was proactive in his praise and constant in his humility.
Why? Because this was coming from deep within. David didn’t force these words from his mouth; they erupted, instantly and sincerely. David was amazed at God’s goodness and humbled by His exaltation of himself as king. He knew his own heart and was astounded that God would and could use him.
And this is precisely why God could use him. God knew David would not steal His glory. David continued:
Again what more can David say to You? For You know Your servant, O Lord GOD! For the sake of Your word, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness to let Your servant know. For this reason You are great, O Lord GOD; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears (vv. 20-22).
Notice that ten times in those verses, David speaks of “You” and “Your.” It’s not “me” and “mine.”
Does this erupt from me? When God blesses and uses me, do my thoughts quickly turn to what others are thinking about me? How I am leading, what I have done? Who has noticed, and what are they saying about me?
Or is there a purity of heart and motivation that instantly and continually says, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far?”
In days of revival and spiritual awakening, God does extraordinary things, and He uses men and women in the process. But we must remember that God will not entrust His glory to those who do not recognize it or will steal it in pride.
There are many who will be surprised that they are NOT used in such times, while other simple men, like a young college student named Evan Roberts in the Welsh revival, are shocked that God uses them at all. These men have cultivated, as Tim Keller says, the “freedom of self-forgetfulness.” They enjoy the humility that leads to usefulness.