“The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself; so you will find favor with God…For great is the might of the Lord; he is glorified by the humble.” (Sirach 3:18,20, RSVCE)
This Lent, I’ve decided to read one of the Deuterocanonical books of the Bible, those books that I am unfamiliar with, as they do not appear in Protestant Bibles. Sirach is an Old Testament “Wisdom book”, written in Hebrew in the second century B.C. Like Proverbs, it is full of wise, pithy sayings and advice.
The verses above really stood out to me as I was reading the chapters for today, and I thought quite a bit about what the author, Ben Sira, is expressing:
When we’re truly humble, we acknowledge that “without [Him] we can do nothing” (John 15:5), as we also say, “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). The humble give all glory to God, for they are well aware that their entire position in life is: “What do we have that we have not received?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). We are wholly contingent beings, beings whose very existence is received. Our very breath, every heartbeat, our minds, our bodies, our souls all come as gift from God. Even the strength to work hard, or learn, or persevere is all due to His grace – we can take credit for none of it; only what we choose to do with those gifts as stewards of them.
When we truly understand and live out of that space, we end up pointing to Him – His generosity, His ever-faithful goodness, His mercy. We praise Him and acknowledge our total dependence on His gifts always. He is lifted up, praised and glorified as we see ourselves realistically: as beloved recipients of this life, sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Not self-creators, not self-sustainers of our lives, but recipients of life from Him who is Life itself. He loves us, has given us life; He sustains our life and even graciously shares His own Life with us, that we might be redeemed, made whole, and enabled to live with Him in Heaven, eternally happy and fulfilled. And there, the humble will see Him face to face, enthroned in all His glory, and will, with all the angels and saints, praise Him forever.