13 And they did humble themselves even to the dust, subjecting themselves to the yoke of bondage, submitting themselves to be smitten, and to be driven to and fro, and burdened, according to the desires of their enemies.
14 And they did humble themselves even in the depths of humility; and they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions. (Mosiah 21:13-14)
When I was reading this recently it stuck out to me all of a sudden the different ways humility is described in these verses.
I notice that when they humble themselves “to the dust,” it is to men, and when they humble themselves “in the depths of humility,” it is to God. This suggests that humility to God is deeper than humility to men.
Verse 3 has some interesting words associated with humbling oneself (even if it is to men)—“subjecting themselves” and “submitting themselves.” This shows us that self control goes along with humility. Force is not required; the decision to obey is made without force. In the case of King Limhi’s people, they didn’t humble themselves until they had been beaten three times in battle, but if they hadn’t finally humbled themselves, they would have been completely forced into it.
It could be argued that because the people of Limhi “cried mightily…all the day long…unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions” (v14) that they weren’t totally subjected by the Lamanites. They still wanted to be free and hoped God could free them, rather than being content to be slaves. This shows it is possible to have an outward humility while still wanting out.
When they humbled themselves to God, we see that this humility consisted of mighty prayer for deliverance, which they most wanted. However, it didn’t yet extent to repentance and forsaking their sins. “And now the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities…” (Mosiah 21:15) It seems repentance was the final ingredient needed for total humility.
It is possible that their bondage to the Lamanites was a learning experience and training and chastisement that would help them learn to submit and subject themselves to the Lord. It would help them appreciate the lighter demands the Lord makes.
These verses make me think hard about what I do to indicate my humility to the Lord. Does my humility involve:
- Subjecting myself?
- Submitting myself?
- Crying mightily to God all the day long?
I think I have incorporated a few of those factors, but I don’t think I have implemented them all. How about you?