“Your right hand upholds me and Your humility exalts me.” Psalm 18:35b HCSB
I find myself going back to particular verses in Psalm 18 quite a bit. It’s one of my favorites mainly because the words in it sustained me at one of the darkest, most confusing, most faith building chapters of my life.
I read the above verse again the other morning and the part which always amazes me is how His “humility exalts us.” Back when I was first drawn to the words in this Psalm, the translation I had was slightly different and read “You have stooped to make me great.” I was instantly drawn to the image of someone stooping. It reminded me of a parent stooping to help a small child with a task they were still learning to master. It’s a gentle, patient, compassionate posture. It seems natural to use this type of approach on children who are still in learning mode… but for some reason we seem to use this posture less and less as we grow up. This idea is completely at odds to what the world shouts at us on a daily basis in regards to strength.
Yet Christ doesn’t lift us, hold us, carry us with the kind of strength we are accustomed to. Instead, we are raised high because He stoops low.
It’s a strength clothed in weakness.
It’s a strength that doesn’t look only at its own interests but takes intentional interest in others.
It’s a strength that “makes itself nothing”, that gives up divine and royal privilege/position to be a slave and sacrifice for all. (Philippians 2)
It’s a strength that goes as low as it can possibly go in order to assure that nothing and no one could snatch us from His hand (John 10:28) or separate us from His love. (Romans 8:31-39)
It’s a strength where an innocent man is willing to step in between a firing squad and a guilty man and insist… punish Me instead.
It’s a strength that cries out in its final hour “Forgive them!”…not words of condemnation or finger pointing but words full of love, reconciliation and healing.
Strength that stoops for you and me…it’s a strength humbling to think about.
“My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:14-21 Message