16. Christ belongs to the humble minded, not to those who lord themselves over his people. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Sceptre of God’s Majesty didn’t come with pomp and circumstance, but he could have. He came in humility, like the Holy Spirit says concerning him, “Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm? My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.” (NLT) And he said of himself, “I am a worm and not a man, a disgrace to men and disrespected by people. Anyone who saw me, mocked me and cursed me and shook their heads saying, ‘He trusted in the Lord, let the Lord save him, let the Lord help him because he loves him.’” That is the pattern that has been shown to us. If the Lord was so humble, what can we do because we are under his grace through him?
17. Let’s imitate the people who went around in sheepskins and goatskins, exclaiming the birth of Christ. We are talking about the prophets Elijah and Elisha and also Ezekial and everyone who has had these things said about them. Abraham was spoken well of. It was said he was a friend of God and as he looked at the splendor of God he said, “I am dust and ashes.” The scriptures say about Job, “Job was good, admirable, sincere, and God-fearing, who stayed away from all evil.” But he talked about himself like this, “No man is clean even if he lives only one day.” God said that in all his house Moses was the one he trusted and God used him to punish Egypt with plagues. Even though he was highly honored, he didn’t boast about himself but said, “Who am I Lord that you want to send me? I stutter and can’t think of the right words to use.” And he said, “I am nothing but steam from a pot.”
18. Let’s look at David and what was said about him. God said, “I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, and I have anointed him with oil.” But David said to God, “God, be merciful to me because you are loving. Because you are always ready to be merciful, wipe out all my wrongs. Wash away all my guilt and make me clean again. I know about my wrongs, and I can’t forget my sin. You are the only one I have sinned against; I have done what you say is wrong. You are right when you speak and fair when you judge. I was brought into this world in sin. In sin my mother gave birth to me. You want me to be completely truthful, so teach me wisdom. Take away my sin, and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Make me hear sounds of joy and gladness; let the bones you crushed be happy again. Turn your face from my sins and wipe out all my guilt. Create in me a pure heart, God, and make my spirit right again. Do not send me away from you or take your Holy Spirit away from me. Give me back the joy of your salvation. Keep me strong by giving me a willing spirit. Then I will teach your ways to those who do wrong, and sinners will turn back to you. God, save me from the guilt of murder, God of my salvation, and I will sing about your goodness. Lord, let me speak so I may praise you. You are not pleased by sacrifices, or I would give them. You don’t want burnt offerings. The sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit. God, you will not reject a heart that is broken and sorry for sin.” (NCV)
19. The humility and fear of God of such great and worthy men, whom the scriptures praise, has lifted us up as well as generations before us by the example of their obedience, also anyone who receives his holy words in fear and truth. Since we have so many great examples, let’s hurry toward the goal of peace that has been present since the beginning. Let’s look toward the Father and creator of the world and hold to his wonderful and overflowing blessing of peace as we contemplate him with our understanding and look with the eyes of our soul at how patient and understanding he is with his creation.
20. Revolving peacefully by his appointment, the heavens are subject to him. Day and night come and go, never interrupting each other like he created them to. The sun and moon and all the stars move in accordance with where he put them. Plants grow from the earth in their season according to his will without stopping or changing the way he decreed them, and they produce enough for every person and animal and all the other creatures on the earth. We can’t know what goes on in the depths of the sea, nor can we see the inner workings of the world, but they are maintained by the same decrees. The vast oceans are held in place by his original act of collecting the waters. They do what they are supposed to without flooding all the land because he said, “This is as far as you will come and your proud waves will stop.” The oceans are impassable to mankind, and the lands that lie beyond them are still accountable to the same master. Spring and summer, fall and winter give way to each other without a fight. The winds blow and provide their services each in their appointed seasons without interruptions. The springs that are always flowing provide enjoyment and health, always giving their life-sustaining waters. The smallest creatures maintain their lives in peace. The creator and Lord of everything has ordered these things to live in peace and harmony because he is good to all. He is extremely good to us who run to his mercy in Jesus Christ our Lord, who is due all glory and majesty now and forever, Amen.