Study from Numbers 12 – 14; Passage for Reflection: Numbers 12: 3 … NIV Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.
My Journal for Today: In the chapters we read today, the statement from Num. 12: 3 just jumps out from the pages of scripture. It’s like a neon sign, lauding Moses’ character trait of humility; … and God’s word becomes outright superlative about it, declaring Moses to be the most humble man on earth.
And we see some comparisons in these chapters as well, … the most obvious being Moses’ brother, Aaron, and his sister, Miriam, both of whom had become prophets among God’s peoples, with the people looking to them for support of Moses. And early in Numbers 12 we read of Miriam, followed by Aaron [what a “wuss” is Aaron ;>), disputing Moses’ choice of a Cushite wife (we don’t know what has happened to Zipporah, his Midianite wife). But God became so displeased at Miriam’s grumbling against God’s chosen #1 Prophet that she was given a case of leprosy for a week as a lesson in humility.
Then we read – ONCE AGAIN – of the Israelites becoming prideful and selfishly grumbling against God, with their lack of faith on display when the 12 spies came back from Canaan with their fearful report (well, at least 10 of 12). And the people grumbled – AGAIN – that they should rather have stayed back as slaves in Egypt. And we know what happened there; … off they were sent by God for 40 years in the wilderness to learn their lesson in humility.
Humility is obviously a quality God honors very, very, very highly. If you do a biblical study in humility, you find that in both the Old and New Testaments that God honors the humble (with His grace) but simply refuses to honor the prideful (go back and read Prov. 3: 34, 1st Peter 5: 5-6, and James 4: 6 … as well as how Paul had to learn to be humble via Satan’s thorn when he learned to receive God’s empowering grace – in 2nd Cor. 12: 7-10). And here we have Moses, God’s shining example of humility.
Have you ever wondered, as F. LaGard Smith discussed today, why Moses was so humble? Here he had been in the very presence of God, really the only man to that date who had had face-to-face encounters with God. God generally spoke to His Prophets indirectly – through dreams or visions; but not Moses. With this humble man, it was mano-a-mano interaction; and you’d think that such encounters would cause a man like Moses to fall trap to the very human default of pride.
In fact, religious leaders are particularly vulnerable to slipping into pridefulness, … aren’t they? Think of examples in Scripture like Jonah or even the Apostle Peter. In today’s church environment, Pastors, especially high profile televangelists, often get acute cases of pridefulness when so many people put them up on pedestals as their preaching becomes very well known. It’s hard for any public leader to remain humble; – think of our Presidents and political leaders in the past decades who’ve fallen prey to pride, finding it very difficult to humbly cope with the power which comes with their office.
So, back to the question of how Moses was able to remain so humble; and though you might say that it had something to do with Moses remembering his roots or being convicted by his past sin (remember he’d been spared by God even though he murdered an Egyptian). Or maybe you might speculate that it was because he’d been given a 40 year lesson in humility out there in the Negev deserts as a shepherd. And maybe some of that is true; but I agree with Dr. Smith in thinking that Moses was such a humble man because he had developed such a deep, deep and abiding relationship with the living Lord. Moses had an audience with God everyday; and when you’ve gone that deep with the Creator of the Universe, it’d pretty hard to become prideful about anything.
And I think therein we have a key to leading us toward God’s highly desired quality of humility and away from man’s default character weakness of pride. Some of the most humble people I know, now in my life, are those who have the deepest and most disciplined devotional relationships with God. They are the ones who never miss a day being with God and digging deep into His word, which is the repository of God’s treasure of grace in this world. Oh, how I pray that I can develop the kind of humility which God honored in Moses and He desires for all of His children. And I will continue to seek out that humility by learning more about my God in my daily encounters with Him … just as I’m doing as I write this … on this very morning.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, show me all of Yourself and help me to see less of myself as I see more of You. Amen