The Humility of God

Correctly understanding these terms leads to a better
understanding of the character of God and the Gospel.

The humility of God is not something most people think of. After all, isn’t He the all-powerful, law-making and absolute sovereign?

Traditional legal Model – The all-powerful Creator of the universe will eventually show Who is boss. When necessary, He deals with His enemies in strict justice. Jesus showed a humble side on earth but will come as a lion at the Second Coming.

Biblical Healing Model – The humility of God, when we come to understand it, is surprising to most people. He is not the thunder and lightning-wielding deity many have portrayed Him to be. I think we will find that He is the humblest being in the universe.

Of course, being sovereign (the boss, the highest authority), in most situations, is not conducive to humility. It would seem natural to think that God could become proud. There is a saying attributed to John Edward Acton, a British Baron and Catholic historian in a letter written to Bishop Mandell in 1887 in which Acton wrote:

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Do we see corruption in the world today among powerful people?

If God is sovereign (there is no one over Him that He must answer to) and besides that He has all power in the physical sense, wouldn’t we, with our experience, expect there to be a risk of corruption?

Fortunately, there are reasons why this would not happen with God:

  • God has the attribute, the primary feature of His character of other-centered love.
  • There is no higher position God could attain to or struggle to reach

Walking  With God in Humility

This verse suggests that we need to be humble:

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8)

There is the suggestion there of walking with God in humbleness in the sense of walking or behaving or living as God does which would imply that God Himself is humble.

How Do We Walk With God in Humility?

We are told to be humble:

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves;” (Phil 2:3; New American Standard Bible)

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;” (Col 3:12)

Micah 6:8 says “… walk humbly with thy God.” The walking is not how you physically walk but it is the way you conduct your life governed by your mind, your character. Isn’t humbleness a quality of the heart, really, the mind? Then we have a problem:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9)

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jer 13:23)

God says “walk humbly” but that is not in our hearts to do (at least not to the degree it needs to be) and we can’t, on our own, change it. So, what is the solution?

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (Eze 36:26)

But how does He do that – “give you an heart of flesh” and make/keep you humble? He won’t just reprogram you. If He starts fiddling very much with the software in your brain, pretty soon, you are no longer you.

The Beholding Principle

God has provided a way – it is called the beholding principle. His part is to show us how and He does that through His Word, primarily through Jesus’ life on earth.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor 3:18)

We need to look at examples of humility in God Himself. When we start looking, it is surprising how many and varied they are.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,” (1 Cor13:4)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” (1 Cor 13:4 New International Version)

There are verses saying He is humble although we want to see the humility of God in action. We are told not just to talk the talk but also to walk the walk. Does God do the same?

It Helps to Know that God is Humble

Was Jesus humble?

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, (“aniy” H6041) and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (Zech 9:9)

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly </ strong>(“tapeinos” G5011) in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt 11:29)

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil 2:5-8)

That is an extreme example of relinquishing sovereignty and stepping down (from the highest to the lowest) to humbly serve rather than be served.

If a person is proud, they will not admit they are wrong, they will think they are the best, they will insist on having things their way (because “I know best”). But love does not do that:

“It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered,” (1 Cor 13:5, New American Standard Bible

“or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;” (1 Cor 13:5 New International Version)

“Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (John 14:9)

God (Love) Does Not Insist on His Own Way

To some, that will be a surprising thought – that God does not insist on getting his own way but that is exactly what the Bible teaches. Are there examples of that in scripture? It turns out there are many.

There is a principle I refer to as Divine Accommodation. Accommodation where God does not insist on getting His own way but accommodates (even gives in) to the wants and desires of others:

“Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.” (Psa 145:16)

Notice, not just the need but “the desire.”

Accommodation (noun)

  1. the act of accommodating; state or process of being accommodated; adaptation.
  2. adjustment of differences; reconciliation.
  3. anything that supplies a need, want, favor, convenience, etc.


Divine Accommodation Examples

 So, we are looking for examples of where God gave Israel things they wanted or desired that were not even God’s will; where He did not insist on His own way but gave in to them. These will be evidence of God’s humility. We will look at a few examples in detail. Several of these are listed on separate pages listed and linked to below.

God, in Humility, Gives Israel a King

Probably the best and clearest example is that of God granting a king for Israel. God, at the request of the people, relinquished His position as their king and gave them an earthly king. For sure read Israel asks for a King as it is a very clear and significant example of God humbling Himself to accommodate the wishes of His people.


 The Choice of a King

God even went so far as to give them the sort of king they wanted. Read The First King of Israel. This was another accommodation to their wishes that did not work out so well.


Moses Turns God Down

God meet Moses at the burning bush and gave him the good news about the plan to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage. It was good news to Moses until Moses learned that he was to be the one to lead them out. God told Moses he was to go to Pharaoh to request that Israel be released from Egyptian slavery. Moses made excuse after excuse, pretty much saying “no.” Read how it worked out when Moses turned God down. It is another good example of God, in humility, accommodating the needs of others.


God Gave Them Quail

Not long after leaving Mt. Sinai, the people started complaining about the manna God was miraculously feeding them and asking for flesh to eat. God provided quail in abundance but it turned out to have a poisonous quality. Read the details and scientific documentation of poisonous quail in that area at:



Israel Chooses Warfare

When the Israelites left Egypt they did not have weapons of war – they were slaves. God was leading them from captivity but He did not intend that they should have to go to war. This account explains how they acquired weapons and what God’s reaction was to their choice to use them. If people would understand that God was only accommodating Israel’s stubbornness on this question, it would help to solve very much confusion over the bible accounts of the wars Israel fought on their way to and in the Promised Land. Israel chooses the sword

“And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:” (Exo 13:17)

He didn’t want them to see war, much less to fight. While they were numerous, Israel was not an army – they had women and children, flocks and herds, they had no military training and no weapons when they left Egypt.

However, it seems that the Israelites, seeing the dead Egyptian soldiers, must have acquired their weapons.

“Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.” (Exo 14:30)

In taking these weapons, Israel made a decision that they would use arms in their own defense rather than waiting on God Who had promised to defend them.

God’s actions in the Old Testament must be consistent with what Jesus taught (as the ultimate revelation of the character of His Father) – “I and my Father are one” etc.

“Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matt 26:52)

Allowing Divorce

God’s original plan for marriage:

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen 2:24)

The New Testament gives a reason for God later allowing divorce:

“And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matt 19:5-8)

 Deuteronomy includes this allowance in the statutes and judgments related by Moses:

 “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.” (Deut 24:1)

A statute that was not good, not meeting God’s original ideal.

 Statutes that Were not Good

“I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; 24 Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers’ idols. 25 Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live;” (Eze 20:23-25)

 “Gave” is translated from the Hebrew word “nathan” (H5414) translated 116 different ways, often in the permissive sense indicating that He allowed them to have those statutes.

 Various other accommodations were given by God that would be included in the statutes.

 Other Examples of Accommodation:

  • Allowing Slavery
  • Allowing Polygamy
  • Allowing Capital Punishment
  • Moses appointed as intermediary for the people at Sinai
  • Even Sacrifices

Is God Really Humble?

 Aren’t there passages that sound kind of prideful on God’s part? Let’s look at some of those.

 The Lion of the Tribe of Judah

This might be associated in a prideful way with God:

“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” (Rev 5:5)

See the complete study about The Lion of the tribe of Judah and you will see that the lion of the tribe of Judah is completely consistent with a humble God.

God Hates Pride

“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” (Pro 8:13)

These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,” (Prov 6:16-17)

Pride, first found in Lucifer (who because Satan), was the first sin.

“Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. … Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.” (Eze 28:17)

Of course, God would not want any part in pride, the sin that injected so much grief into His previously-perfect universe.

See a video of a group study on the humility of God.

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