Moses

18 August 2010 15:25:33

If we can truly understand the Bible definition of a humble person and seek to fulfil it ourselves, then perhaps we, like Moses, can be a powerful instrument in God’s hands in our own land and time.

There are so many aspects to the life of Moses that it is impossible to sum them up in one short feature.


Readers will each have their favourite story about his life and character, but the Bible itself makes an astonishing claim when it refers to Moses as 'a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth' (Num 12:3).

In other words the one characteristic that made him stand out from the crowd was not his bravery, determination, wisdom or leadership, but his humility.

This is a surprising claim about someone who personally ordered and led a mass execution, killing 3,000 of his own people (Exod 32:25–28).

Moses also oversaw the destruction of Egypt, commanded the nation of Israel, directed its armies, judged the people, ordered the construction of the Tabernacle and ruthlessly put down insurrection; yet 'he was more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth'.

A dictionary definition of humility would include words such as unassuming, meek, subservient, obscure. A humble person would always be in the background rather than be the forceful leader of a powerful nation.

The Bible therefore must define a 'humble' person in very different terms.

The Hebrew word for 'humble' is anayv. It is often used to describe the poor and those with a subservient attitude, particularly in comparison to those who are rich and arrogant.

'Humble' people see themselves as 'second in line' and at the mercy of the decisions of those who rule over them.

In Exodus 10:3, God says to Pharaoh, 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?'

Although Pharaoh was a great and powerful ruler, all his wealth and authority was nothing compared to God; yet in his arrogance he refused to acknowledge that God was greater and more powerful.

Pharaoh could still have ruled Egypt by being humble enough to recognise that God was greater and obeying His command to 'let God's people go.

Moses was a humble man because he acknowledged and obeyed God in all his ways.

Moses did not always agree with God, but he saw himself 'second in line' and subservient to God's greater authority and wisdom.

It was that attitude, and his desire to be obedient, that made Moses the most humble person on the face of the earth.

There was no one else, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, who so sought to obey and follow God all the days of his life.

As a result Moses was given the accolade by God of 'my servant' (Num 12:1–8).

The contrast with Miriam and Aaron is interesting because in Numbers 12 they sought after position and authority from a sense of jealousy and personal selfish ambition to promote themselves, but they were not 'humble' before God.

Moses was humble before God, and God gave him the position of authority.

In the New Testament, Jesus repeated this concept during His Sermon on the Mount when He said, 'Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth' (Matt 5:5).

The meek here are not weak, frightened, submissive people but those who instead submit themselves to God's reign over their lives.

They are people who hunger and thirst for his righteousness and obey His command to go into all the world preaching the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

If we can truly understand the Bible definition of a humble person and seek to fulfil it ourselves, then perhaps we, like Moses, can be a powerful instrument in God's hands in our own land and time.


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