The video starts with a puppy at the top of the stairs afraid to go down. Despite much encouragement from people cheering at the bottom, Daisy can’t figure it out. She wants so badly to join them, but fear keeps her pacing the landing. Then a bigger dog comes to help. Simon runs up the steps and then back down, showing Daisy how easy it is. Daisy is not convinced. Simon tries again. This time more slowly. Then he watches Daisy try again. But Daisy still is too scared. Once again Simon goes to the top and demonstrates the technique. Finally Daisy dares to let her back legs follow the front ones. Simon stays beside her. She makes it. Everyone celebrates!
What a beautiful picture of discipleship. We spend much of our time trying to teach others to climb up, but the more important, and more difficult, thing to learn is how to “go down.” Throughout Scripture we read that God desires humility of us. Because the people of Judah humbled themselves, the Lord said, “Therefore I will not destroy them” (2 Chron. 12:7).
On numerous occasions, God demonstrated humility by coming down (Ex. 3:7-8; 19:10-12; Micah 1:3). Finally God sent Jesus, who spent His life teaching the technique we are to follow (Phil. 2:5-11).
More like the Master I would ever be, More of His meekness, more humility; More zeal to labor, more courage to be true, More consecration for work He bids me do. —Gabriel
No one will learn anything at all unless he first learns humility.
The Scriptures reveal how God responds to the humble heart. When King Rehoboam humbled himself, God responded by providing deliverance (v.7). In 2 Chronicles 1, King Solomon was given an invitation to ask God for anything he desired but requested only wisdom to rule his people. Because of his humble request, God chose to give him the additional blessings of wealth and honor (vv.6-12).
Managing a saltwater aquarium, I discovered, is no easy task. I had to run a portable chemical laboratory to monitor nitrate levels and ammonia content. I pumped in vitamins and antibiotics and sulfa drugs and enzymes. I filtered the water through glass fibers and charcoal.
You would think my fish would be grateful. Not so. When my shadow loomed above the tank to feed them, they dove for cover into the nearest shell. I was too large for them; my actions incomprehensible. They did not know that my acts were merciful. To change their perceptions would require a form of incarnation. I would have to become a fish and “speak” to them in a language they could understand, which was impossible for me to do.
According to the Scriptures, God, the Creator of the universe, did something that seems impossible. He came to earth in human form as a baby. “The world was made through Him,” says John, “and the world did not know Him” (John 1:10). So God, who created matter, took shape within it, as a playwright might become a character within his own play. God wrote a story, using real characters, on the pages of real history. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (v.14).
All praise to Thee, eternal Lord, Clothed in a garb of flesh and blood; Choosing a manger for a throne, While worlds on worlds are Thine alone. —Luther
God entered human history to offer us the gift of eternal life.
As the “messenger” (Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1; Mark 1:2-3), John the Baptist’s ministry was to introduce Jesus to the world and “to bear witness of the Light” (John 1:7). John presented Jesus as the Logos, the self-existent, preexistent, omnipotent, eternal, Creator God who spoke everything into existence, giving light and life to His creation (vv.4-5). He also presented Jesus as God incarnate (vv.9-14). Jesus added humanity to His deity, becoming one Person with two natures—perfectly human and yet perfectly divine (Phil. 2:6-8). He came to give “light to every man” so that we don’t need to live in sin’s darkness (John 1:9) and to give new life to those who believe so that we can live as God’s children (vv.12-13).
When I was a child, one of my favorite pastimes was playing on the teeter-totter in the nearby park. A kid would sit on each end of the board and bounce each other up and down. Sometimes the one who was down would stay there and leave his playmate stuck up in the air yelling to be let down. But the cruelest of all tricks was getting off the teeter-totter and running away when your friend was up in the air—he would come crashing down to the ground with a painful bump.
Sometimes we may feel that Jesus does that to us. We trust Him to be there with us through the ups and downs of life. However, when life takes a turn and leaves us with bumps and bruises, it may feel as if He has walked away leaving our lives to come painfully crashing down.
But Lamentations 3 reminds us that “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end” (v.22 esv) and that God is faithful to the end even when everything seems to be falling apart. This means that in the midst of our pain, even though we may be lonely, we are not alone. And though we may not feel His presence, He is there as our trusted companion who will never walk away and let us down!
Thank You, Lord, that we can trust in Your faithful presence even when we feel alone. Help us to wait patiently for You to manifest Your steadfast loving presence.
When everyone else fails, Jesus is your most trusted friend.
In Lamentations 3 we see the tribulations of God’s people. They are described in terms of physical suffering, painful injury, and imprisonment. Judah’s journey is portrayed in harrowing terms of terrible obstacles, wild animals, a wound to the heart, and bitter food. And the spiritual devastation can be seen in these words: “You have moved my soul far from peace” (v.17). Yet despite the despair of the moment, the promise of restoration and renewal are given: “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning” (vv.22-23).