Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Meekness of Moses

Moses considered himself "meek" (Numbers 12:3) and in the same context God called him "faithful" (Numbers 12:7). What does "meek" and "faithful" look like from the account of Miriam and Aaron's detraction against Moses in Numbers 12?

This was the same Moses who had become content to keep sheep in the land of Midian but had been called by God to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt to Canaan and to give them the law. This was the same Moses who came down out of the mountain, tablets in hand, only to find the Israelite worshiping a golden calf; and he ground the calf to bits and made the Israelites drink it; and he had three thousand of the Hebrews killed for it. Does this sound like a meek man?

In Numbers 11 Moses had just petitioned God to have some of the people help him bear their burdens and God had granted his request as one that was reasonable. After this, Moses' older siblings, Miriam and Aaron, apparently find fault with Moses for marrying a woman of a different people. However, their complaint ends up being an attack on Moses for having a power over the people that they don't have. Their real issue was their own desire for power. Consider that Aaron was already chief over all the priests and had stood with Moses before Pharaoh through the plagues. Aaron was no insignificant man. Yet his sinful flesh desired more for himself.

When Miriam and Aaron came out against Moses, we read nowhere that Moses spoke one word in his defense. Except that Moses had this account written, he doesn't stick up for himself. Instead, God calls Miriam and Aaron to task and defends his calling of Moses. He punishes them, Miriam in particular with leprosy. But Aaron repents and Moses pleas for her healing.

So Moses is faithful to defend God even by the edge of the sword. But he is meek in that he does not defend himself. Christ did this also who defended his disciples against the false teachings of the Pharisees but did not defend himself against the charges brought against him. If he did anything he fled as though on the lam until the appointed time to be delivered into their hands. Paul was also faithful to defend the young churches under his discipleship against false teachers but did not defend himself when attacked. The only time Paul sought a defense was through an appeal to Caesar to defend him as a citizen of Rome by birth. But he did not defend himself. He made the occasional reference to his calling as one of the apostles, not to defend his calling however but to establish his teaching about God.

So we must have a heart of boldness in faithfully ministering God's truth, especially in the gospel, but a heart of meekness in relying on God for defense against detractors.

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