Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – April 9, 2017
Theme: The Sovereign Hand of God
Topic: God’s Might in Humility
Text: Luke 19:28-40; Philippians 2:5-11
Key Verse: 1 Peter 5:5-6: “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (NIV)
Last Sunday, we explored “God’s Creative Hand” – His prerogative in creation and in ordering how it should function. We noted that He continues to intervene in His creation when necessary, calling into existence things that did not exist. Our key learning from that study include the following:
- Just as He created the universe out of nothing and “calls things that do not exist as though they did”, he is able and does create whatever is needed to accomplish His purpose. There is no limit to His ability to intervene in man’s affairs.
- An appreciation of God’s ability and readiness to create what does not currently exist should strengthen our faith when we look up to Him for a miracle that seems impossible. Our expectation from Him should not be limited by our imagination.
- Everything God created was good, but since sin entered the world, man has continued to defile God’s creation. The evils and sufferings we see in the world today are largely a consequence of man’s defilement of God’s order in His creation. Just as problems arise when we do not operate a piece of equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions, our world also risks unpleasant consequences when we go against The Creator’s design.
This Sunday we will explore another aspect of God’s sovereignty: “God’s Might in Humility”. It almost sounds contradictory to use the two words “might” and “humility” to describe the same person. But that is our God. Lessons from the study should include the following:
- The truly powerful do not exercise their power just for show or for personal benefit; they exercise it in humility and with a sense of purpose, the way Jesus Christ demonstrated His power over all creation.
- Although God has all power, he does not always exercise that power to stop evil, as many would expect. We should not take this to mean that He is incapable of doing so. His seeming delays in dealing with evil-doers is in part due to His mercy.
- Christians in positions of power and authority should constantly seek God’s guidance in exercising the prerogatives of their position, in awareness that all power belongs to God.
Often, celebrities and dignitaries deliberately stoop down to do things that identify them with lowly people. We have read headlines of presidents of powerful countries eating snacks with blue-collar workers by the roadside. When one of the wealthiest celebrities in the United States checked into a cheap bed-and-breakfast inn while on a cross-country drive, it made news headlines. A Nigerian state governor joins peasant women to fetch water with a bucket from a well, and it is instant news. Quite often, such stooping down by celebrities to identify with the lowly is done more for publicity than out of genuine humility to identify with the lowly. The true manifestation of humility is best seen in a power or authority that is deliberately not exercised for the holder’s benefit. This was exactly what Jesus demonstrated. Not only did He leave the Father’s throne to come to earth and identify with sinful man, He consistently held back from exercising His power and authority to exalt Himself or even deliver Himself from death.
1. Give instances, with Scripture references where, contrary to natural human instincts, Jesus held back from exercising His power for His personal benefit
In many societies, when people either run into trouble with the law or face oppression by some authority, they think of influential or powerful people they can call to help them out. The intent is that the higher powers would force the lower authorities to take an action favourable to the caller. However, when Jesus was arrested and His disciples thought they had to fight, he rebuked them saying: “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Mat 26:53-54). This is the nature of humility. Jesus understood His Father and knew that His Father’s will would be better served if His authority was not brought to bear to deliver Him from the situation. This may give us an insight into why sometimes God does not intervene to deliver us from dire situations. He could, in His humility, hold back from intervening even when the non-intervention could give an oppressor a short-term sense of triumph.
2. Give practical examples of where God did not intervene to stop evil, thereby giving an impression to evil doers that He is incapable of doing anything about it.
Apostle Paul calls us to a life of humility when he said: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage …”. (Philippians 2:5-6) In a society that believes in “connections”, not making full use of our network to promote our personal interests could seem foolish. However, that is the admonition. This should however not be taken to mean that we should never exercise authority or use our networks. The point is to recognise that our powers and authorities are God-given – just like any other assets we hold, and should be exercised as stewards, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
3. Give some practical principles to guide the Christian in exercising his power and authority.
Father, thank You for showing us, by the example of Your Son Jesus Christ, how to exercise power and authority in humility. Give us the grace to do likewise, In Jesus’ name, Amen.