“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” Isaiah 66:2 (NIV)
When I was in grade eight there was a girl who sat in the desk behind me who drove me to distraction with the things she said and did. About mid way through the year my patience snapped when she started kicking my chair in order to get a rise out of me. Well she got more than she bargained for. Turning around I told her, in words laced with expletives and insults, what a so and so she, and her mother was. There was a stunned look on her face and then, in a hissing whisper she said, “God heard what you said!” I was mortified. Though I wasn’t a Christian at that time, the realisation that God had heard every venomous word that came out of my mouth, made me shudder.
God hears everything. That’s both a scary and a comforting thought. On the comforting side it’s good to know that God hears our voices (cf. Psalm 5:3) and our prayers (cf. Psalm 65:2). But it can be scary knowing that nothing, absolutely nothing escapes His notice. Every phrase, every word, every syllable, as well as our emotion, motive and intent, is heard by Him.
Which makes me wonder: If, as the Scriptures teach, God hears, sees, and knows everything, then why is it so difficult at times to get His attention? Why doesn’t He always answer when we call? Why doesn’t He give us assistance when we ask for it? Why do our prayers sometimes bounce off the ceiling?
The answer to these questions may surprise you. Contrary to popular opinion and false belief, it’s not “those who help themselves” whom God helps; it’s those who humble themselves whom God helps. Humility attracts God’s attention. Humility is the key to attracting God’s grace and mercy. Humility opens the door to strength and assistance from God. Humility paves the way for answered prayer. As the Scripture says, “God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favour to the humble” James 4:6 (NLT).
Yes, God is drawn to humility. Humility acts like a magnet to capture His attention. If we want God to incline His ear to us, our pride must be crucified. There are no short cuts; pride must be booted out and humility welcomed in. Pride and humility cannot coexist. When pride is fostered, humility is defeated. And when humility is defeated a separating wall is erected between us and God. This isn’t my idea. In my weakness I wish there were an easier way. Truthfully, my daily struggles with pride make me unqualified to speak on this subject. But as a pilgrim pursuing humility by the grace of God I look to the Scriptures to guide my steps. And therein God says, “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word” Isaiah 66:2.
There we have it! There is a way to get God’s attention. There is a way to get close to the Lord. There is a way to position ourselves to experience the wonderful pleasures that come from His hand. And there is a way to personally know His grace in our lives. Humility is the way. For as the Scriptures say, “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” 2 Chronicles 16:9 (NLT).