Summary: Humility is key to bringing about or being part of spiritual change.
***Open with modern day Noah movie clip***
Listen to that last line again. “The creator, from Adam to Noah to now, is still scouring the earth looking for one man or one woman that can actually see past their own nose, to see a world that is in desperate need and do something about it!”
From the beginning of time this is how God has chosen to do his work and make a difference in the world. He has chosen to work through people and use their lives to change the people around them. He did it with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Mary and Joseph, and even the disciples and Paul. Most of the time, God used the people everyone least expected; the weak, the small, the fishermen, the tax collectors, the murderers, the poor, the young. The one thing though that all of these men and women had in common was the fact that they were humble. They could, as the video clip expressed, see past their own noses and see a world in desperate need and then did something about it.
This humility is so important to bring about spiritual change. Nehemiah and the men and women of Jerusalem became very aware of that after they had completed the walls of the city. Before the city policies were written, before the walls of Jerusalem were dedicated to God, and before the city was established the people needed to be humbled. That is what we find in chapter 9 of Nehemiah. Let’s open our Bibles to Nehemiah 9:1-5.
***Read Nehemiah 9:1-5a***
Notice what two things are here in these five verses. In verse 1, we start off with a sense of awe and respect for God. The people fasted, dressed in burlap or sackcloth which was uncomfortable goat’s skin, and sprinkled dust on their heads. These were all signs of public sorrow and repentance and showed a respect and awe for God. Then in verse 3 we have the reading of Scripture, again for three hours, where the people read it, heard it and had in explained to them, and then put it into practice.
After those two things, starting in verse 5 and going to the end of chapter 9, there is a time of humbling and confession that takes form through the prayer of the Levites. Instead of reopening your Bibles and following along, I would like to ask you all to stand as the Israelites did, and just listen to this prayer.
***Read Nehemiah 9:5b-37***
This prayer is one of the longest recorded prayers in the Old Testament but can be broken into three different parts that specifically help humble the people of Jerusalem. These same three things play a role in our lives and whether or not we too can live humbly.
The first part of the prayer is the smallest part, taking only two verses, but yet very important. It starts at the end of verse 5 and it goes through verse 6. Yet again, the people are reminded of the power, greatness and awe of God. They focus on God as the creator of everything and that all of creation worships Him, even the angels.
I am not going to talk much more on this since we did a whole night on this issue a few weeks ago. Just be reminded again that God is bigger, better, and more amazing than anything else we could ever imagine. He created everything that is around us and he could remove it from existence just as easily! Humility starts by putting our lives in perspective to the eternal, all powerful Creator.