Humbled By God?

By: David Wilkerson

To humiliate means “to reduce one’s dignity and pride,” to humble. I intend to show you in this message that God humiliates those He loves! In fact, unless you have experienced this divine humiliation, you are not ready to be fully used by God; you are not prepared to receive of His fullness.

God humiliates His people only to prepare them for greater usefulness — a principle we see in operation throughout Scripture. God’s humiliation is best illustrated by the experiences of the children of Israel. God delivered His people by great miracles — then led them into a barren wilderness and totally humiliated them!

After 430 years of slavery, the Israelites had given up hope of ever knowing freedom or possessing their own homeland. Then a prophet named Moses appeared among them preaching hope. He went from one brick furnace to another, from field to field and house to house, telling them:

“The Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:7-8, KJV). “Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. . .because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers” (Deuteronomy 7:6,8).

There they were, sweating, tired, barely existing — while Moses preached to them a glowing message of hope! They saw God’s mighty power as He delivered them by one great miracle after another, displaying to the world how He protects and delivers His own.

At the time, Israel lived in Goshen — an Egyptian slave state. But God said to Egypt, “I will put a division between my people and thy people” (Exodus 8:23). And through the course of ten awesome plagues God’s people were untouched!

First, Moses lifted his rod and smote the waters of Egypt and they turned to blood. Even the water collected in wood or stone containers was contaminated. The fish died and the rivers stank! The water was undrinkable for several days — But in Goshen, God’s people drank cool, pure water.

Then Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters, and wave after wave of frogs came up and covered the land. In every house, kitchen, bedroom, palace court, store and temple, there was no place to sit or lie down because of the invasion of frogs! But in Goshen the frogs stayed in the waters, and all the Israelites heard was their croaking. What a sight for Israel to behold as the Egyptians gathered dead frogs in great heaps, “and the land stank!” But not in Goshen!

As Pharaoh hardened his heart against God, again the rod was used — this time to smite the dust. The dust turned to lice, which attacked all the people and every animal. Some interpret this as a plague of gnats or mosquitoes: “These tiny mosquitoes molested animals and people, flying into their eyes and nostrils, driving them to fury. Animals were sometimes tortured to death by this invasion.” But in Goshen — no lice, no gnats, no plague of mosquitoes!

Then came the invasion of flies — swarms of flies like black clouds, “grievous swarms.” Some say this plague included beetles, cattle flies, dog flies and all kinds of winged flies. “The land was corrupted” (Exodus 8:24). But, in “the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell. . .no swarms of flies shall be there” (Exodus 8:22).

After that came the plague upon the cattle of Egypt. The horses, camels, oxen, sheep, donkeys and cows fell dead all across Egypt. “But of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one” (Exodus 9:6).

Next was a plague of boils. These were not like the ones we know; rather, they were called “the botch of Egypt,” black leprosy, elephantiasis — all causing disfigurement.

Then came the rain of “grievous hail,” with lightning and thunder and “fire (that) ran along upon the ground” and “mingled with the hail.” It was so heavy that “there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.” It “brake every tree of the field” (Exodus 9:23-25). In Goshen? Not a hailstone
anywhere!

Next came the invasion of locusts which “covered the face of the whole earth” (Exodus 10:15). They darkened the sky and “there remained not any green thing” (verse 15). Yet in Goshen there were no locusts, and the sun shone brightly.

The locusts were followed by a plague of darkness so great it could “be felt” (Exodus 10:21). This darkness lasted for three days and was so thick the Egyptians could not see each other. But “all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings” (verse 23).

The tenth and final plague was the visit of a death angel who destroyed all the firstborn: “And Pharaoh rose up in the night. . .and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead” (Exodus 12:30). Egypt was decimated — completely demoralized. But not one died in Goshen!

“Even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:41). The Israelites left Egypt with glorious promises ringing
in their ears: Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation” (Exodus 15:13). “Fear and dread shall fall upon them [your enemies]; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as stone” (Exodus 15:16). “He will.
. .bless thee, and multiply thee. . .the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. . . . Thou shalt be blessed above all people. . . . The Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt. . .upon thee” (Deuteronomy 7:13-15). “The Lord thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible. . .there shall no man be able to stand before thee” (Deuteronomy 7:21, 24).

Then the miracle of all miracles took place: They saw God part a mighty sea, pile up its waters and Open an escape on dry ground! They sang and danced and worshiped God is the waters caved in on Pharaoh and his army. They saw an entire army swept away by the finger of God!

The Israelites then went out into the wilderness called Sin (Exodus 17:1). How prosperous and blessed and special they felt — for every prayer lad been marvelously answered ! They knew they were protected and guided by a kind, wise Shepherd as they went forth singing of His promises.

But the very next day they woke up with hunger pains! All the leavened bread had been eaten, and there was no food in the camp at all. “They were thrust out of Egypt… neither had they prepared for themselves any victual (food supplies)” Exodus 12:39). Thirty days after leaving Egypt, two million people were at
the very end of their resources! The few cattle they had were weak and thin and could feed but a few, and even then would have left them with no breeding stock in their new land.

 

God Brought Israel To a Place of Total Humiliation.

The children of Israel were absolutely helpless: fathers, mothers, princes, leaders — all with no place to turn. There were no pack-camels loaded with supplies. No dried fruits, no dried fish, no bread, no figs, no dates, raisins or nuts. No doubt they had seen Pharaoh’s supply train swept away — huge canvases loaded with food, floating along on the Red Sea! their logic must have been: “God knew the very day and hour we
would leave Egypt. Moses talks with God — so why didn’t he tell us to bring a six month supply of food? Even the gods of Egypt treat their soldiers better. Why were we told to borrow all this gold, silver and jewelry? We can’t eat this stuff — it’s worthless out here!”

There was not even a blade of grass in sight — no animals to hunt — no fruit trees — no foreigners to trade
with. They couldn’t have gone back to Egypt even if they’d wanted to — he Red Sea was blocking their retreat! And even if they could have gotten around the sea, the Egyptians would have blocked their
return with every stick and stone in Egypt, having had their fill of plagues.

So now there was nothing but a howling, foreboding desert ahead. The children were crying and wives were wringing their hands. Every father and husband was helpless and humiliated. They all gathered around Moses and complained: “Ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (Exodus 16:3).

This was a humiliation for Israel — and it is a lesson for us today. “These things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. . . . They are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (I Corinthians 10:6, 11).

 

Israel Was Not Ready to Handle All the Blessings God Had in Store for Them.

“He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna. . .that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

The first lesson in this verse is found in the words “he. . .suffered thee to hunger.” It was 40 years later and
Moses did not want Israel to forget this lesson of humiliation. “Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord the, God led thee these forty years” (Deuteronomy 8:2).

Remember, it was God Who let them go hungry — God Who led them out unprepared and brought that crisis upon them — and God Who put their backs to the wall and Who made the heavens as brass. It was God Who brought them to such humiliating circumstances! Satan had nothing to with their dire condition. It was all a test to reveal what was in their hearts, “to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in
thine heart” (Deuteronomy 8:2).

He knows what is in us, but He wants us to know as well! The Israelites’ test was not about courage enough to face powerful enemies or giants or iron chariots, because God had already pledged to fight their battles for them. It was about the blessings for which they were unprepared — the incredible increase: good houses, vats full of wine, rivers of milk, an abundance of honey, wheat and cattle — not to mention all kinds of spiritual blessings.

“For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills… a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it…. Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God…lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses…and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied…then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage…and thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:7-17).

The Lord is speaking here not only to Israel — but to us today. The purpose of their humiliation was never in doubt: It was “that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end” (Deuteronomy 8:16). He had to teach Israel how to handle all the goodness He was about to pour
out upon them. And God has to humiliate us the same way He did them.

You see, although the children of Israel were blood-secured and delivered, supernaturally guided and the object of God’s love and miracle-working power, they lacked one thing: They were not dependent upon God!

The Blood can cover your sins, but it doesn’t make you dependent on Him. Miracles can deliver you from Satan’s power, but they can’t make you dependent. You can be led by God supernaturally and still not lean wholly upon the Lord.

God has to strip us of all self-assurance and destroy all that remains of self-righteousness, spiritual pride and boasting. He must (and He does) humiliate all who are destined to inherit His great spiritual blessings.

He will take a Saul of Tarsus — self-assured, self-righteous, consumed with a knowledge of the Scriptures, full of God’s zeal, ready to die or Jehovah — and strike him blind! Saul had to be humiliated before the world, being led around like a child and waiting helplessly for days until God moved. He was humiliated
to a point of total dependence!

I am under God’s humiliating hand right now! I, for one, have not arrived. If you think that you have it all together and all figured out, that you hear so clearly from God, that you’re never wrong, that all your prayers are answered — then watch out! You’re headed for hunger, because God brings us all to a place of hunger and helplessness.

Times Square Church must be tumbled — and so it is even now! we’ve had six months of intense prayer against a particular abortion chamber, yet it still operates. The pornographers still rage — and Satan boldly mounts a demonic play in the very theater God has promised to us s a place of worship. Why? God is
testing and proving us, stripping us of all confidence in man and the flesh, bringing us to a place of total dependence on Him in order to prepare us for the great outpouring of Himself.

God can bring you to a place where everything seems to be going wrong: sickness, death, conflicting voices, prayers seemingly unanswered, promises of God appearing to mock your petitions and tears. It is your tour of humiliation — your ordained time of testing.

 

“Man Does Not Live by Bread-Only, But by Every Word That Proceedeth Out Of The Mouth of the Lord.”

This text from Deuteronomy 8:3 is so powerful that Jesus Himself used it against the devil during His great temptation in the wilderness (see Matthew 4:1-4). Like the children of Israel, Jesus was also hungry. What greater humiliation could there be than to be he Son of God and be brought to a place of total dependence?

As a man, Jesus learned obedience and dependence by the things He suffered, such as this crises of hunger. What Jesus actually was saying is this: “I am not here to please myself or to pamper my flesh. I am here to do the perfect will of My Father.” Jesus relinquished every single human care into His Father’s hand. In
other words He said, “I will spend all my life and all my time obeying My Father, doing His perfect will — and He will take care of me His way.”

Jesus knew that God only had to speak a creative word: “Hunger — be gone!” But He also knew that the Father could give Him meat that no man knows about — so He gave no thought to food or drink or clothes or houses. Rather, He would seek God’s will first and let Him take care of the needs.

Jesus was saying something very profound, to the effect of: “I have not come to ask the Father to keep His Word to me; I have come that I may keep all His words!” Jesus didn’t need a miracle to prove to Himself the Father’s love for Him. He rested in the Father’s words. His cry was not, “God, keep your Word to me!” but, instead, “Let me do Thy Word in all things.”

 

Multitudes of Christians today are what I call “bread” believers — they live on bread alone, always asking God to prove His faithfulness. They have a hunger inside and they think they know what will satisfy it.

For most of my early years in ministry I was a “bread” Christian. I lad a deep hunger, driven by unexplainable need. When I thought I needed a new church, I got it! When believed I needed a TV program, I got it! When I needed turn-away crowds, I got them! These were all good things in themselves; but I spent years praying, “God, prove Your power! Send me money, I’m in debt! Bless me Lord! Bless my ministry! Answer my prayers! Let me prove to he world You have all power. Heal he sick to prove You’re still the same today!”

So seldom does God find a Christian whose only goal in life is to know and to do God’s will — as Jesus did — and who never says, “God, where are You?” but instead prays, “God, where am I in this matter of obedience and dependence?”

When we stand before the judgement seat we will not be judged by how many healings we’ve performed, or how many demons we’ve cast out, or how many prayers we’ve seen answered, or how many great works we’ve accomplished. We will be judged on our dependence on and obedience to His Word and His will.

In our day and age, we’ve become very good at “commanding” God. We command the devil and demons; we command strongholds to fall. That is all good — but when do we cry out, “Oh God! Command me! Tell me what to do — show me how to do Your will, how to obey every word out of Your mouth.”

Through everything, God is saying to us, “I want to be your only supply, your only hope. I want to be your only object of trust.” My cry is, “Oh God, You take care of the money — just give me Your mind. You take care of my health, my family, my needs — just give me Your Word.”

Jesus Is Every Word That Proceeds From God!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father)” (John 1:1,14).

How much of the Word became flesh? All of it! “For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). So how do we live by word that proceeds out of His mouth? Do we get
pad and pencil, mark down every commandment of Jesus, then discipline ourselves to tackle each one until we master them? Beloved, even after all these years of preaching, I still don’t know all the Lord’s many precious commandments!

As I see it, there is only one way to please the Lord: Present your body to Him — get self out of the way — and let Jesus live His life in you. Paul said, “Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20). This was not a mystical spirit-life, lived within the confines of the mind. No!
Paul continues in the same verse, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.” The New American Standard Version says, “faith in the son of God.” In reality it means the faith that is in the Son of God. We are to “yield (our) members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13).

Here is where God is leading us, to that great, good land full of milk, honey, oil and wine — the spiritual
blessings in Christ for which God has been preparing us. When we have a body so dead, crucified, humiliated and dependent, Christ possesses it and lives His life in and through us. God does not
work through flesh — not even “good” flesh! He works only through His Son Jesus !

Paul was a “good” man — holy, spotless, keeping God’s commandments. But that “good” Paul had to die daily so Christ could do His work and live His life in Paul. There is a song that goes: “Oh, to be His hand
extended, reaching out to the oppressed. . . .” It’s so true! As we lay hands on the sick, nothing will happen unless we are truly His hands extended, with self aside and Jesus doing the works of His Father through us. For Paul the key was: “Yet not I, but Christ” — a daily putting off of Paul and putting on of Christ.
Yet so many of us don’t want to live Jesus, we only want to wear Him when it’s convenient — to put Him off and on like a suit of clothes!

Living Christ is not complicated. First, you must want His life — with all that is within you. Then you must get out of the way and turn everything over to Him, trusting Him to possess you completely. Finally, you must believe that as much of yourself as you will empty, He will fill — with Himself!

(The above article appeared in the January 1989 issue of the Time Square Church Newsletter in Manhattan, New York.)

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