Golden Pillar Class Study, teacher Edith Tolbert.
God designed trials as a benefit to help us. None of us like trials but you see God’s people throughout the Bible had to go through hard places. God gave trials to the Israelites to humble them, to know what was in their hearts, if they’d serve him.
Deuteronomy 8:2-3 And thou shalt remember all the way…God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And 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.
Why does God give us trials? To humble us, to know what’s in our heart and see if we’re going to serve him with all our heart. The Israelites didn’t like their trials and you probably don’t like yours. Joseph probably didn’t like his trials but God had a purpose in the end. Trials are how God sees what’s in our heart and exposes what’s there. God wants our heart to be humble, pliable, and relying strictly on his word – not our own opinion, feelings, or thinking. One of the most important godly attributes is humility. You may think you’re humble but let a trial come and what’s inside will come out. If it isn’t the attributes of humility, you have some work to do. Humility is being consciousness of one’s own defects, short comings; being lowly and unpretentious; being broken and contrite in heart. God wants us to have that kind of attitude. Humility is not self-deprecation, putting yourself down, low self-esteem, or treating yourself bad with self-pity, self-hatred, or poorly dressed. Humility is being broken in your heart, contrite, and willing to do what God wants. It took humility for Joseph to not talk back, and to keep a good attitude when his brothers sold him to be a slave and he was lied about by Potiphar’s wife. There are a lot of things we’re asked to do that in a fleshly way we don’t want to do. As Sister Edith was growing up, she was sometimes asked to milk 2 cows before school. She had to get up early and if the cow went to the bathroom while she milked it, she had to shovel out the manure. She didn’t really want to do it, but she did it anyway.
We need to be humble and submissive to the pastor without making exceptions. We need to be submissive to each other too. One of our previous pastors told about a man on the board of trustees who vehemently disagreed about doing improvements to their church parking area. The rest of the board voted to do the improvements. The man that disagreed was the first one at church with his gloves, shovel, and wheelbarrow on the day of the work. Someone said they thought he disagreed. He said he was part of the body so if the body was going that way, he was going with it. He didn’t throw a fit or get all upset. It takes humility to do something you disagree about so you can be doing what God wants. Wives are to be submissive to their husbands and husbands to be submissive to their wives. If there’s a lot of arguing because of disagreements, humility is not working. God wants humility to work when you have a difference of opinion. Being subject to or submissive to one another means there’s a lot of give and take.
I Peter 5:5-7 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
Elders that rule well are to be given double honor. It is only by pride that there’s contention or that people rise up against the pastor. We need to be willing to follow what the pastor says. It takes humility. You may have your opinion but if it’s contrary to how the pastor is leading, keep your opinion to yourself and pray about it.
I Timothy 5:17-19 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
Let humility work so there isn’t division because God hates division. We need to hate pride and sowing discord among brethren. We’ll hate division if we’re humble. If we sympathize with sowing discord among brethren, pride is working in us, not humility. We need to be like a servant for humility to work.
Proverbs 6:16-19 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, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
We will esteem others better than ourselves, not lifting up ourselves or finding fault, if humility is working. Jesus put on a servant’s mind to endure what he did. Humility enables you to take being criticized, accused, or slandered without yelling, screaming, or fighting back. Jesus answered not a word when he was accused, slapped, and spit on. He was a servant for what God wanted and didn’t retaliate. Are you able to take criticism without retaliating or fighting back? If you retaliate or fight back, you’re not humble enough. God doesn’t want us fight back or open our mouths to criticize if we’re criticized.
Philippians 2:3-5 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
It takes humility to keep our mouths closed. When we get saved and still have a temper, we have to work on it. We have to pray for God’s help to keep our mouth shut when we feel temper rising in us. Sister Edith would go pray in the bathroom until she knew she had her temper under control and could face the problem. We have to keep working and let God know we want victory over the habit we had all our life. God is faithful to give victory over every situation if we mean it.
I Peter 2:21-23 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
If you’re finding fault and picking on someone God hears, even if they don’t. Aaron and Miriam were finding fault with Moses because he married an Ethiopian woman after his first wife died. Neither of them had married but Moses was free to marry again if he wanted. Moses was very meek and had a completely different attitude than them. We’re to do all things without murmuring (Philippians 2:14). God hears if we murmur and complain in our heart. He doesn’t want us to complain about others and cause division but to esteem others better than ourselves. God’s anger was kindled against them.
Numbers 12:1-3 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses…for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it. (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
Numbers 12:6-9 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth…and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them; and he departed.
Moses didn’t carry an attitude but prayed for Miriam to be healed of leprosy. It was like a type of sin God pronounced on them for speaking against Moses. It will be sin for us to complain and criticize another so we need to repent of it. If someone criticizes us, don’t retaliate but pray for them because they’re in danger. God disciplines his people when they get out of order so they can please God. Miriam had to be out of the camp for 7 days for speaking against Moses.
Numbers 12:10-14 And…behold, Miriam became leprous…Aaron said unto Moses…I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly…have sinned. Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed…Moses cried…saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. And the Lord said…If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again.
Be kind and tender hearted if you have disagreements or you’ll get hard.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away…with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Humility gives us a teachable attitude. Pride will cause you to think more highly of yourself and your opinions. Humility will help you be kind and to take criticism without blowing up or arguing.
James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.