Sermon on the Mount | Meekness: Part 2

As it so happens, we took a good hard look at humility back in the fall as a way of setting up our “Gentle and Lowly” series. So, rather than take that same deep dive, let’s look quickly at a wonderful Old Testament example, then wrap things up with the promise of an earthly inheritance.

Turn backwards in your Bible to Numbers 12:1-4. It reads as follows.

1 Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses because of the Cushite woman he married (for he had married a Cushite woman). 2 They said, “Does the LORD speak only through Moses? Does he not also speak through us?” And the LORD heard it. 3 Moses was a very humble man, more so than anyone on the face of the earth. 

4 Suddenly the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “You three come out to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them went out.

Now, if you read on, you see that the Lord rebukes Miriam and Aaron and vindicates Moses in this situation. But what is relevant and fascinating is that the author injects commentary regarding Moses’ character into this story. In between describing a situation where there is bitter and hostile opposition and God working to vindicate the accused, there is this description of Moses as “meek” or “humble.” And in so doing, we understand what humility looks like in real life.  

At that point where others see him and speak into him about something they feel he has done wrong, Moses responds in humility. Just where you would expect the Bible to tell us what Moses said to justify himself against Miriam and Aaron’s charges, the text says he was the most humble man on the earth. Moses never says a WORD. He doesn’t tuck tail and cower; nor is he defensive and revengeful. He doesn’t fret; he waits and trusts that God will come to his defense.

How? 

How did Moses come to have this remarkable trait? 

In her book Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor writes, “To know oneself is, above all, to know what one lacks. It is to measure oneself against Truth, and not the other way around. The first product of self-knowledge is humility.”

So, Christians don’t arrive at humility by thinking less of ourselves. Nor do we arrive at true humility by thinking of ourselves less. 

We arrive at true humility by thinking of ourselves rightly in relation to Jesus, the one through whom and for whom all things were created (Colossians 1:16), and the one “who did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:7-8)

 

Rob Tims

Rob is Teaching Pastor at Blackman Baptist Church.