“Walk in modesty with your God!”—MIC. 6:8.
SONG 31 Oh, Walk With God!
1. What did David say about Jehovah’s humility?
CAN we really say that Jehovah is humble? Yes, we can. David once said: “You give me your shield of salvation, and your humility makes me great.” (2 Sam. 22:36; Ps. 18:35) Perhaps David was thinking of the day when the prophet Samuel came to the house of David’s father to anoint the future king of Israel. David was the youngest of eight boys; yet, he was the one whom Jehovah chose to replace King Saul.—1 Sam. 16:1, 10-13.
2. What will we consider in this article?
2 David would certainly agree with the sentiments expressed by a psalmist who said of Jehovah: “He stoops down to look on heaven and earth, raising the lowly from the dust. He lifts up the poor . . . to make him sit with nobles.” (Ps. 113:6-8) In this article, we will first consider some important lessons about humility by reviewing instances when Jehovah showed this quality. Then we will examine what we can learn from King Saul, the prophet Daniel, and Jesus about the quality of modesty.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM JEHOVAH’S EXAMPLE?
3. How does Jehovah deal with us, and what does this prove?
3 Jehovah proves that he is humble by how he deals with imperfect human worshippers. Not only does he accept our worship but he also views us as his friends. (Ps. 25:14) In order to make friendship with him possible, Jehovah took the initiative by providing his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. What mercy—what compassion—he has shown us!
4. What has Jehovah given us, and why?
4 Consider another expression of Jehovah’s humility. As the Creator, Jehovah could have made us without the ability to choose the course of our lives. But he did not do that. He made us in his image and gave us free will. He wants us lowly humans to serve him from our heart because we love him and we recognize the benefits of obeying him. (Deut. 10:12; Isa. 48:17, 18) How grateful we should be for this expression of Jehovah’s humility!
5. How does Jehovah teach us to be humble? (See cover picture.)
5 Jehovah teaches us to be humble by the way he deals with us. Jehovah is the wisest Person in the universe. Even so, he is willing to accept suggestions from others. For example, Jehovah allowed his Son to assist him in creating all things. (Prov. 8:27-30; Col. 1:15, 16) And even though Jehovah is almighty, he delegates authority to others. For instance, he appointed Jesus to be King of the Kingdom, and He will give a measure of authority to the 144,000 humans who become corulers with Jesus. (Luke 12:32) Of course, Jehovah trained Jesus to be King and High Priest. (Heb. 5:8, 9) He also trains Jesus’ corulers, but he does not give them this assignment and then step in to manage every detail of the work. Instead, he trusts that they will do his will.—Rev. 5:10.
6-7. What can we learn from our heavenly Father about delegating authority to others?
6 If our heavenly Father—who does not need help from anyone—delegates authority to others, how much more so should we do the same! For instance, are you a family head or an elder in the congregation? Follow Jehovah’s example by delegating tasks to others and then resisting the urge to micromanage them. When you imitate Jehovah, not only will you get the work done but you will also train others and boost their confidence. (Isa. 41:10) What else can those with a measure of authority learn from Jehovah?
7 The Bible indicates that Jehovah is interested in the opinions of his angelic sons. (1 Ki. 22:19-22) Parents, how can you imitate Jehovah’s example? When appropriate, ask your children for their opinions on how a task should be done. And when fitting, follow their suggestions.
8. How did Jehovah deal patiently with Abraham and Sarah?
8 Jehovah’s humility is also expressed by his patience. For example, Jehovah is patient when those who serve him question his decisions respectfully. He listened as Abraham stated his concerns about the decision to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. (Gen. 18:22-33) And remember how Jehovah dealt with Abraham’s wife, Sarah. He did not become offended or angry when she laughed at his promise that she would become pregnant in her old age. (Gen. 18:10-14) Instead, he treated Sarah with dignity.
9. What can parents and elders learn from Jehovah’s example?
9 Parents and elders, what can you learn from Jehovah’s example? Consider how you respond when those under your authority question your decisions. Is your initial reaction to correct them? Or do you try to understand their point of view? Families and congregations surely benefit when those in authority imitate Jehovah. So far, we have discussed what we can learn about humility from Jehovah’s example. Now let us see what we can learn about modesty from examples recorded in God’s Word.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE EXAMPLE OF OTHERS?
10. How does Jehovah use the example of others to teach us?
10 As our “Grand Instructor,” Jehovah provides examples in his Word in order to teach us. (Isa. 30:20, 21) We learn as we meditate on Bible accounts about those who showed godly qualities, including modesty. We also learn as we examine what happened to those who failed to show such fine qualities.—Ps. 37:37; 1 Cor. 10:11.
11. What can we learn from Saul’s bad example?
11 Reflect on what happened to King Saul. He started out as a modest young man. He was aware of his limitations and even hesitated to take on more responsibility. (1 Sam. 9:21; 10:20-22) Yet, in time Saul became presumptuous. He revealed this bad trait soon after he became king. On one occasion, he lost patience while waiting for the prophet Samuel. Instead of modestly trusting in Jehovah to act in behalf of the people, Saul offered up a burnt sacrifice even though he was not authorized to do so. As a result, Saul lost Jehovah’s favor and eventually the kingship. (1 Sam. 13:8-14) We are wise if we learn from this warning example and avoid acting presumptuously.
12. How did Daniel show modesty?
12 In contrast with Saul’s bad example, consider the good example of the prophet Daniel. Throughout his life, Daniel remained a humble and modest servant of God who always looked to Jehovah for guidance. For instance, when he was used by Jehovah to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Daniel did not take credit for the interpretation. Rather, he modestly gave all the glory and credit to Jehovah. (Dan. 2:26-28) What is the lesson for us? If brothers enjoy listening to our talks or if we have a measure of success in the ministry, we want to remember to give all the glory to Jehovah. We should modestly acknowledge that we could not do these things without Jehovah’s help. (Phil. 4:13) When we have this attitude, we are also imitating Jesus’ fine example. How so?
13 Although he was the perfect Son of God, Jesus depended on Jehovah. (Read John 5:19, 30.) He never tried to grab authority from his heavenly Father. Philippians 2:6 tells us that Jesus “gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God.” As a submissive Son, Jesus understood his limitations and respected his Father’s authority.
14. When asked to do something that was beyond his authority, how did Jesus respond?
14 Consider how Jesus responded when the disciples James and John along with their mother approached him and asked for a privilege that was beyond Jesus’ authority to give. Without hesitating, Jesus stated that only his heavenly Father could decide who would sit at Jesus’ right hand and at his left in the Kingdom. (Matt. 20:20-23) Jesus showed that he respected his limitations. He was modest. He never went beyond what Jehovah commanded him to do. (John 12:49) How can we imitate Jesus’ fine example?
15-16. How can we apply the Bible’s counsel found at 1 Corinthians 4:6?
15 We imitate Jesus’ example of modesty by applying the Bible’s counsel found at 1 Corinthians 4:6. There we are told: “Do not go beyond the things that are written.” So when asked for advice, we never want to promote our own opinion or simply say the first thing that comes to our mind. Rather, we should direct attention to the counsel found in the Bible and in our Bible-based publications. In this way, we acknowledge our limitations. With modesty, we give credit to the “righteous decrees” of the Almighty.—Rev. 15:3, 4.
16 Along with honoring Jehovah, we have other good reasons for displaying modesty. We will now look at how humility and modesty can bring us joy and help us get along with others.
HOW WE BENEFIT FROM BEING HUMBLE AND MODEST
17. Why are humble and modest people joyful?
17 When we are humble and modest, we are more likely to be joyful. Why so? When we are aware of our limitations, we will be grateful and happy for any help that we receive from others. For example, think of the occasion when Jesus healed ten lepers. Only one of them returned to thank Jesus for curing him of his dreadful disease—something the man could never have done on his own. This humble and modest man was thankful for the help he received, and he glorified God for it.—Luke 17:11-19.
18. How do humility and modesty help us to get along with others? (Romans 12:10)
18 Humble, modest people tend to get along well with others and are more likely to have close friends. Why? They willingly acknowledge that other people have fine qualities and show confidence in them. Humble and modest ones are happy when others succeed in whatever assignment they receive and are quick to commend them and honor them.—Read Romans 12:10.
19. What are some reasons why we should avoid pride?
19 In contrast, proud people find it difficult to commend others, preferring that they themselves receive praise. They are more likely to compare themselves with others and to promote a spirit of competition. Rather than training others and giving them authority, they are likely to say, “If you want something done right”—the way that pleases them—“you have to do it yourself.” A proud person is often ambitious and jealous. (Gal. 5:26) Such people seldom have lasting friendships. If we detect that we have a problem with pride, we should earnestly pray for Jehovah’s help to ‘make our mind over’ so that this bad trait does not become deeply rooted within us.—Rom. 12:2.
20. Why should we be humble and modest?
20 How thankful we are for Jehovah’s example! We see his humility in how he deals with his servants, and we want to imitate him. In addition, we want to imitate the fine examples found in the Bible of modest people who had the privilege of walking with God. May we always give Jehovah the honor and the glory that he deserves. (Rev. 4:11) Then we too will qualify to walk with our heavenly Father, who loves humble and modest people.
SONG 123 Loyally Submitting to Theocratic Order
A humble person is merciful and compassionate. Therefore, we can rightly say that Jehovah is humble. As this article will show, we can learn humility from Jehovah’s example. We will also examine what we can learn from King Saul, the prophet Daniel, and Jesus about the quality of modesty.
PICTURE DESCRIPTION: An elder takes time to train a younger brother to handle the congregation territories. Later, the elder does not micromanage the younger brother but allows him to carry out the assignment on his own.
PICTURE DESCRIPTION: A sister asks an elder if it would be appropriate to accept an invitation to attend a wedding that will be held in a church. The elder does not give his own opinion but reviews some Bible principles with her.