Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble,
but he keeps his distance from the proud.
Have you ever noticed that famous people tend to hang out with other famous people? If you’re a “somebody,” whether an athlete, a rock star, or a media mogul, chances are you spend your time with other “somebodies,” people of similar social status to yourself. Meanwhile, the rest of us “nobodies” mingle with those who are rather like us.
God gets it backward. He does precisely the opposite. According to Psalm 138:8, “Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud.” For many of us, this is good news. Though we may feel like “nobodies,” in fact, our humble state means that we’re the kind of people who receive God’s special care. By implication, God even likes to hang out with us!
For those of us who tend to think highly of ourselves, whether deserved or not, this psalm offers a word of warning. If we are proud, if think we are really amazing, then God keeps his distance from us. Perhaps this is true because proud folk tend to be self-reliant. They aren’t inclined to need anybody else, including God. Proud people push God away, a
So, if you are a person of little cultural influence, take heart. Not only does God care for you, but also God tends to use people like you for his purposes. If, however, you’re a person of significant social capital, don’t let this go to your head. Receive your success and situation as gifts from God, but remain humble before him and others. Realize just how much you need God and how immeasurably great he is. Let these truths guide your life and God will always be close to you.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How do you respond to Psalm 138:6? How can a person be successful and also humble?
PRAYER: Gracious God, I am both encouraged and challenged by this psalm. I’m encouraged because I realize once again that you care for me, that you are not impressed either by my accomplishments or by the lack of them. Thank you for caring for me and being present in my life.
I am challenged, Lord, to remain humble. I confess that there are times I want to be a somebody in the eyes of the world, perhaps even in my own eyes. I can be proud in a way that closes my soul to you. So, I pray, help me to be humble, to have an accurate sense of myself, to rely on you and be open to your presence in my life.
All praise be to you, O God, because you alone are truly great, yet to care for the humble. Amen.
Here’s how . . . .
This devotional comes from The High Calling: Everyday Conversations about Work, Life, and God (www.thehighcalling.org). You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace. The High Calling is associated with Laity Lodge, where I work.