GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM

Part 2. “A Child”

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 18:4

What are the characteristics of CHILDLIKENESS?

1. Firstly Jesus said that they are humble. We have a wrong notion of what this means. It is not to be equated with weakness. Jesus was humble yet He was never weak. Humility is knowing oneself as one truly is - neither more nor less. It is walking in TRUTH - not lies, either + or - .

(The most humble statement in the Bible was uttered by God to Moses - “I am that I am”.) A child may play games of pretense, but when the games are over, he will reveal again that he is but a child. It is grown-ups that continue to play games long after others have seen through their charade. 

Who am I? What is the truth? I am a sinner but one saved by His grace. Paul with all his education, etc, would only claim to be the chief of sinners. 

2. They cannot deceive! They will try but are not very successful. They are transparent. There is no politicking in them. Of Jesus, it was said, “There was no guile found in His mouth.” 

3. They cannot bear malice for a time. They do not easily hold on to an offense.

John Wesley wrote to George Whitfield when they were reconciled.

“How sad it is we must confess, our love was greater when our light was less!”

4. They are totally dependant on their parents.

They are born in weakness and need their parents more than any other animal. 

A good Biblical example of a child is SAMUEL - we know more of his childhood than any other Biblical character. Hannah and Elkanah were his parents. His name means ‘asked of God’ (1 Sam 1:20). His mother Hannah gave him back to God to serve in the temple. God had become his ‘alpha & omega’.

What can we learn from him ?

His situation was not very good - he was surrounded by bad examples and temptations to exploit his office. But we read about him that ‘he ministered unto the Lord’. He was faithful to his master - a man under authority! (Ch.2: vv11, 18 -BUT (KJV)) When Scripture reports on the evil lifestyle of the priests, sons of Eli, it goes on to add, in contrast, that Samuel continued to grow in favour with the Lord and with man. (v26). This is the characteristic of a child - his ‘dad’ is everything to him!

When a prophet comes to Eli to speak God’s word to him concerning his sins and those of his sons, the prophet makes a judgment statement, (v30). "They that honour Me I will honour”. Even in the midst of a house of sin, Samuel is honouring God, though a young child, and God is committing Himself to honour Samuel. 

I am reminded of that verse recorded in James 4:10, “humble thyself in the eyes of the Lord and He will lift you up”

Again in 1 Sam 3:1 we see that the child ministered. v5 - he was quick to obey what he perceived as the voice of Eli. 

Here are the childlike characteristics of faithful trust, innocence, humility.

Further we see that the ears of his heart are not yet dulled by hearing the loud clamour of the voices of the world.

In 1 Sam 3:4 Samuel heard God’s voice. When was the last time I heard the voice of the Lord? Maybe I’m too busy talking to hear His voice!

The Lord spoke to Samuel concerning judgment upon the house of Eli. Samuel would rather keep this bad news to himself, but when asked by Eli he told him every whit - no half truth, deceit. (v18)

v19 He knew divine favour

v21 “saw” the Lord.

“Blessed are the pure in Heart for they shall see God” Matt. 5:8.

Next reference is 20 years later.

[ Continue to Part 3 ]
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