Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. Numbers 12:3
This verse is so convicting! How so? Well, for starters, I’m not that meek. I don’t think that I’m much like Moses at all. The Hebrew word (‘anaw) that the ESV translates as “meek” means, “humble.” See! Now you know why I’m not like Moses- I’m not very humble! But enough about me; let’s talk about Moses. Numbers 12:3 states that he was very humble, more than anyone alive at this time. The NET Bible suggests that the idea behind the Hebrew word ‘anaw is “more tolerant” or “longsuffering.” That helps us to better understand Moses. He was tolerant and patient with other people.
For instance, in Exodus 10:17 (after the 8th plague) Pharaoh pleaded with Moses to pray for him that Yahweh would forgive his sin and remove the plague of locusts. And Moses did it! He prayed for his enemy. Fast-forward to Exodus 32 where the nation of Israel breaks covenant with the Lord and worships the golden calf. How does Moses respond when Yahweh says that He is going to wipe them out? Moses intercedes! Moses also prayed for Miriam’s leprosy to be healed after she berated his leadership (Numbers 12:10-13) and for the Israelites after they grumbled about missing the food in Egypt (Numbers 14).
This is why Moses was humble. He was brought low by his own sinfulness that when he saw other sinners sinning, he was empathetic (remember, he killed a guy! See Exodus 2:11-15). And how did Moses respond to all of these people that let him down? He prayed for them. How convicting! I don’t know about you, but if I am ever passionate to pray for my “enemies” or those who let me down, I’m more inclined to pray an imprecatory prayer like Psalm 3:7. Well, maybe I wouldn’t pray that God would strike their cheek and knock their teeth out, but I might secretly desire it. Not so with Moses. He was so humbled by his own sin that he could extend grace and mercy to other sinners.
How about you? How do you respond when people doubt your leadership? How do you respond when people offend and hurt you? How do you respond when people let you down? How do you respond to your enemies? I often respond by rehearsing the pain and the wrongs. I often respond by having “conversations” in my head about what I will say to them, what harsh words I will speak to them to hurt them for hurting me. See! I told you I wasn’t like Moses! And I’m certainly not like Jesus. But He loves me and that’s why I’m trying to obey His command-
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.” Luke 6:27-29
Let’s become a church that spends less time rehearsing wrongs and more time rehearsing the Gospel. Let’s spend more time turning the other cheek and less time wishing that God would strike our enemies’ cheeks. Let’s be humbled by our own sin so that we will actually love our enemies, do good to them, and bless them. Only constant Gospel rehearsal will humble us to pray like Moses.