Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“The ground is cursed because of you. By hard labor shall you eat, all the days of your life, for it will bring forth thorns and thistles. And you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face shall you eat food until you return to the ground.”
The Creator, in Genesis 3:17b–19a
Being humble before God includes humbling ourselves to work because that was part of God’s original curse for man’s sin. A lazy man is more than just a lazy man; he is a rebel, resisting the righteous judgment of God. Jesus calls only those who labor (Mt. 11:28); and in the end, he will not receive a lazy soul into eternal life. Laziness is rebellion against God; it is a rejection of the judgment of God.
Being humble before God also includes humbling ourselves to natural disasters and smaller inconveniences, such as briers and thorns, as well as to disappointments, physical weaknesses, and blemishes, (cp. 2Cor. 12:9–10). Those unpleasant things are also part of God’s righteous judgment for our sin. Knowing that, we can overcome the bitterness of life’s difficulties and frustrations, which can be many. Jesus pointed out the incontrovertible fact that the rain falls and the sun sets on both the just and the unjust (Mt. 5:45); he could just as well have said that hurricanes and earthquakes do the same thing. All of the disastrous events of nature are only a part of God’s wrathful judgment on sin, and all of them can teach us if we will humble ourselves to listen and learn from the Spirit.
Mankind is in its present lowly state because of sin, his sin, not the Devil’s, and yet God has not dealt with us as severely as our sins deserve (Ps. 103:10). Therefore, we both fear God and love Him. We fear Him because we are sinful by nature, and He is unbending in justice. Without His justice, without the harsh conditions of labor and troubles imposed on the earth, men would already have destroyed themselves with selfish lusts. And we love Him because He is merciful beyond description; had it not been so, the Creator would long ago have destroyed us Himself.