Humility is a virtue shared by the kind and the strong. Arrogance, anger, and pride are characteristics that make a person unhappy, unfulfilled, and unaware. Worrying and dwelling too much on our achievements or how we appear in front of the world is dangerous. We get nothing but the constant fear of the image we project. Above all, God loves the humble. In fact, He promises abundance for those who live in the spirit of humility (Proverbs 22:4). But, it does not end there. The portrayal of humility in the Bible uncovers beautiful and moral-rich stories that we can apply in our daily lives. As we set humility as the standard, here are the different inspiring stories about humility in the Bible.
The Dream of Nebuchadnezzar
Daniel 4:28-37 (Old Testament)
The Book of Daniel is an eye-opener depicting how humility in the Bible is being taught to people of all kinds. Nebuchadnezzar was the King of Babylon. His leadership was good. However, he was known for being short-tempered and arrogant. Though King Nebuchadnezzar is described as someone who saw himself as the center of everything, he was not a “bad man” as written and acknowledged by Daniel, the author of the book. Daniel was a Jewish scholar and an interpreter of dreams. He was a competent, courageous, and humble man.
As the story goes, one day, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. And it was no ordinary dream. This dream bothered him so much that he was desperate to know what the dream meant; what it was trying to tell him. So, he called Daniel to interpret his dream. With courage, Daniel revealed to Nebuchadnezzar that this was a call for him to be humbled by God. Daniel added that the man who was wrecked in his dreams was none other than Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom will end. On the other hand, God will have His Kingdom forever and no one can take it down. It was a warning and a call for Nebuchadnezzar to change his ways. Again, he wasn’t bad but, he had room for improvement in terms of humility.
Nebuchadnezzar came to realization and enlightenment. He was humbled and freed from his pride. He promised to glorify God, the King forever, and that God can make “those who walk in pride humble”. Just like Nebuchadnezzar, we should remember that God pursues us by correcting us. The great characteristic of Nebuchadnezzar was his openness to being humbled by the Lord. We should not deny growth in our lives, like King Nebuchadnezzar!
The Lesson of Naaman
2 Kings 5: 1-19 (Old Testament)
This story of humility in the Bible expresses the power of admitting that you are willing to receive God’s intervention. It started out with a man named Naaman. He was no ordinary man, for he was an important figure during King Aram’s reign. And overall, he was wealthy and powerful. However, one day, he became a leper. Being a leper was more than just a person having a skin condition at the time. It signified that a person with leprosy was filthy or “untouchable”. So, Naaman wanted to be healed as soon as possible because his condition was taking away everything he had. Power, wealth, and even people.
Desperate for help, a female slave told him to meet Elisha, a well-known Hebrew prophet with a prestigious reputation for healing people. So, he went to meet Elisha, and to his surprise, Elisha snubs him and leaves him his servant. This servant of his told Naaman to bathe in the Jordan River seven times; and just like that, he will be healed. However, Naaman did not believe the servant and felt insulted. To him, he was suffering a severe disease, and to give such a simple and straightforward solution is demeaning.
Still, the servant convinced him to do as told. Finally, Naaman was convinced, so he dipped his body into the Jordan River seven times. After doing so, he was completely healed and vowed to serve the Lord forever. The thing is, it wasn’t the Jordan River that healed him, it was the humility of receiving help from a servant. When Naaman humbled himself, he was able to witness the healing hand of God through the advice of the servant.
The Story of Moses
Numbers 12:3 (Old Testament)
Humility in the Bible is seen through Moses. Now, Moses is a known figure of patience, faith, and leadership. But, his story did not start off that way. When God appeared to Moses and revealed his mission, Moses had doubts about himself and began questioning his abilities. But, God said that He will be with him throughout his mission. After the Ten Plagues, Moses became the leader of the Israelites, God’s chosen people in Exodus. With God’s help, he liberated the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. They crossed the Red Sea, and it was Moses who received from God, the Ten Commandments we know today.
His accomplishment was beyond his imagination. But, here’s the truth to be revealed about Moses. In Numbers 12:3, he was described as a “very meek man”. In fact, it is said that he was meekest out of all faces in the world. Imagine that, Moses was extremely humble and this is proven by how he answered when God called Him. This man was strong even in the beginning, not because he possessed extraordinary strength or oozing charisma. No – it is because he was humble.
The more we humble ourselves, the greater our chance is of becoming God’s instrument. It isn’t because God does not want us anymore when we aren’t humble. Instead, it’s how God cannot work and stay in someone’s heart that is prideful and godless. God repels these negative characteristics. So, how can we expect to work without humility when it is a step needed to be taken for God to enter our lives? It is similar to how a person can’t find a job without applying for it. We can’t be an instrument of God when we serve ourselves. This is the lesson we get from Moses’ story.
Solomon’s Humility In The Bible
2 Chronicles 1:1, 7-12, 6:10-21, 7:1-3, 11-15 (Old Testament)
If there is a model of humility in the Bible we can get inspiration from, it’s a man named Solomon. Now, he was not an ordinary man. Being the king of one of the most powerful nations at the time, he was blessed with splendor, power, and vast riches. Surely, wealth is usually accompanied by pride, boastfulness, and arrogance but, Solomon did not have any of that in his heart. So, one day, God appeared to Solomon in his dreams.
God then asked him what he wanted to have. Solomon, being the humble person that he was, only asked God for wisdom to rule and lead God’s people. God was very pleased upon hearing this and granted him wisdom, along with all the other things he already possessed. Solomon spent his life honoring the Lord’s Name. He built temples where he prayed to God and he remained humble until his death.
This story of humility in the Bible reveals the blessing received by those who are humble. Solomon did not boast about his riches, he was powerful but knew it was only because of God’s blessing. Solomon is known to kneel in front of many people which is a depiction of his humility. And look, God has blessed him with abundance and happiness. The truth is, the world makes us think that we need those blinding possessions and validation. But, Solomon knew that what he needed was the wisdom and a relationship with God. This was the only thing he pursued more than anything. And if we read his story in the Bible, Solomon lived a great life.
The Prophecy Against the King of Tyre
Ezekiel 28:1-8, Proverbs 16:5 (Old Testament)
A story found in the Book of Ezekiel shows a story about the consequences of not having humility. So the story goes, one day, there was a prophecy about a man that served as the ruler of Tyre. He was the opposite of a man of humility. Instead, he was boastful and he saw himself equal to God. He thought that he was as powerful as God and became too confident in the silver and gold he obtained through his knowledge in trading.
His boastfulness angered the Lord. So, God said that He was going to bring foreigners against his kingdom. “Foreigners” mean ruthless opponents that will attack the proud ruler’s nation and draw their swords against him. The prophecy also says that the ruler is going to die in the heart of the seas.
Chapter 16 verse 5 in Proverbs says that the Lord detests everyone with a proud heart and that they will be punished. Pride is very offensive in the Eyes of God. He is our King, Creator, and Savior. With humility, we learn that this is the truth and that we should put ourselves before Him. But, the absence of humility means that we are placing ourselves before God. Not being humble is basically like declaring that we are no longer in need of God’s guidance, and that is offensive to the Lord.
The Story of Manasseh
2 Chronicles 33:1-6, 7-17 (Old Testament)
Manasseh proves the forgiveness of God to those who are humble. Manasseh became the king of Judah when he was only twelve years old and did many things that angered God. He even worshipped foreign gods and built their altars in God’s holy temple. God spoke to Manasseh about his people’s sins but, he didn’t listen. And because Manasseh didn’t listen, God brought the king of Assyria and his army to fight against Manasseh’s kingdom. It was a victory for the Assyrians who then captured the king and took him away.
During his imprisonment, Manasseh was able to see who God really is. So, he humbled himself before God and prayed wholeheartedly. God was able to see his efforts and his genuine intent to repent. Because of this, He helped Manasseh by rescuing him, bringing him back to Jerusalem and restored his kingdom. Despite the many things Manasseh had done against God, the Lord blessed him the moment he decided to live under the influence of humility.
But, God’s grace for Manasseh did not end there; The Lord even gave Manasseh another chance to be king! Manasseh, on his part, honored God with all his heart. He changed his ways, got rid of all the foreign gods and their altars. Then, he built the altar of God in which he gave praise and thanked the Lord. He used his voice to tell people to serve God and only God just as what the Lord wanted him to do. So, if you are feeling down because you know you did deeds and said words that offended God. This story depicting humility in the Bible is a message to teach you that it is never too late to redeem yourself through humility to the Lord!
Jesus Washes The Feet of His Disciples
John 13:1-17 (New Testament)
The story of how the Son of Man washed the feet of His Disciples, including the one who He knows, will betray Him is the perfect example of humility. One disciple, Peter, was confused and told Jesus to not wash his feet for during those times, only servants and slaves did that lowly job, not a master or teacher. Jesus then replied with “unless I wash you, you have no part with me” (John 13:8). Once He finished washing their feet, Jesus then reveals a beautiful lesson explaining what He just did and how this action is important.
Jesus told them that He is their “Teacher” and “Lord”, and as leaders, they must be servants willing to serve in all ways that glorifies God. He then tells them that no servant is greater than his master and no messenger is greater than the one who sent him. In order to be a leader, one must first be a servant. Jesus told them that because they now know how this works, they will be blessed if they do the same.
From this, we can say that Jesus set an example for us in terms of humility. Not only is He the example, but He is also the ultimate standard. Jesus set the bar for being humble. If the Lord Himself openly washed the feet, the dirtiest and most worked part of the body, what excuse do we have? Our aim is to be like Jesus. So, if Jesus set the standard for humility, we should lower our level of pride to attain this. The Grace of God is like a waterfall; the water never flows upward to the skies. Instead, it flows and hits the ground in a downward motion. Therefore, those who are blessed are those who are humble.
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
- Luke 18:9-14 (New Testament)
This parable explains the power of humility as seen in our prayers. Indeed, prayer is powerful but, are we praying out of blind righteousness or genuine humility? In the parable, Jesus talks about two men who went up to the temple and pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. For some background, Pharisees are highly respected and adored in their time. On the other hand, tax collectors had the opposite. They were constantly frowned upon and had terrible reputations. From these two different people, their prayers were different too.
The Pharisee began thanking God for “not being like other people”. He thanked God for not being one of the sinners and even added that he fasts twice a week and gave tenths of everything he receives. Now, the tax collector stood far away. He could not even look to heaven as he beat his breast and asked the Lord to have mercy on him, a sinner. The parable then ends with Jesus saying that those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
This parable teaches us a lot about humility in the Bible in terms of facing God. Sure, we can do all sorts of things that are deemed to be righteous and holy. But, God looks straight into our hearts. We cannot fake our humility and genuine intent in the Eyes of the Lord. What we need is the openness to accept that yes, we are sinners but yes, God will meet and love us because we are longing for Him. Let’s learn to serve God not because we are right but because we need Him.
Training Humility in the Bible
From these stories about humility in the Bible, we see the different angles of this virtue and how it changes the lives of those who choose to accept it. See, humility is like a muscle in our body. The less we use it, the weaker we become. But, the more we train it, the stronger we become. God wants us to be humble because it is a required step in accepting His Love. A person cannot accept God as their Lord without humbling themselves first. It is a given that a follower of God is not a follower of themselves. Let us learn through these stories and unfold the beautiful twist God has for us.