Thursday, January 04, 2018
Psalm 123:1-4 1 To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! 2Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us. 3Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. 4Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.
Several years ago, God clearly taught me a spiritual lesson in a dream I had. It was a dream about pride. In the dream, I had met a truly humble man who was a leader of men. I worked for him in management. One of the leader’s subservient workers had been asked to make a recommendation concerning a certain project I had been assigned to implement. In my opinion, the recommendation was sub-standard and would not work effectively. But this humble leader did something incredible – he backed the recommendation of his worker. When he saw the doubt plastered all over my face, he simply said, “I believe in building men, not building my business.”
It was at that point that God woke me, and I immediately got up and opened my Bible to see what God was going to teach me about humble leadership. I started reading in today’s Psalm. I was struck immediately with the contrast portrayed between the proud and the humble person. The proud person, who arrogantly protects his own way, does so at the expense of others with ridicule and contempt. The humble person recognizes that his way is completely subject to another Master as a slave or a maidservant.
But it was the cry for mercy that really got my attention. I looked up the word mercy in the Hebrew dictionary, and discovered it means to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior.
I’m not inferior.
That’s our typical first response, isn’t it? But we are inferior when compared to the splendor, majesty, and perfection of God. Yet God stoops to us.
Remember the devotional from a few days ago about God stooping to be involved in our lives. Well, now I see what God wanted me to really learn – I should stoop, too. Now the danger in that is that I will become arrogant about who I am because I am seeing others as inferior. Then I would be the arrogant one who ridicules the flaws in others. I would be guilty of holding others in contempt.
The key to accomplishing mercy – to stoop down without arrogance – is to not confuse a person’s worth with a person’s condition. God didn’t confuse those two things when He stooped to me. He saw a man created in His own image with eternal worth, but caught in a hopeless and inferior condition of sin. He stooped and showed kindness to me. Now I am called to do the same.
Shortly after learning this lesson from a dream, I was scheduled to have lunch with a friend. I had been at the hospital to visit a man who was in the emergency room. When I left for the meeting, God impressed it on my heart that I had just shown mercy. As I got in my car and drove, I passed three different individuals along the way who would be considered inferior by society. They were dressed in clothing that looked like rags, they were dirty, and they appeared to have nowhere to go.
In that moment I was overwhelmed by the mercy of God, and I saw a clear path out of the valley of discouragement that I had been in. The path was lined with people. I had gotten into my valley by focusing on taking care of business. God wants me to take care of people.
For two days, God had been trying to impress that point on me, and the dream I had was another confirmation of His holy purpose on my life. The discovery that God stoops was the beginning. Me learning to stoop is the fulfillment.
Lesson learned. Build people not business. That is God’s holy purpose. It’s your holy purpose too. So many people are crying out for mercy because they are being ridiculed by the proud and the arrogant. We are God’s hands of mercy. Stoop down today and show kindness to someone whose condition is not an indication of their worth.
God did it for us. His love compels us to do it for others.