Numbers 12:3 (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)
This is a very interesting comment, almost certainly inserted into the text by a later editor rather than by Moses himself, who wrote the book. Someone of whom this was true would certainly not have said it of himself! It was inserted by that later editor not because Moses was mealy-mouthed or a doormat; quite the opposite. Rather, Moses was someone on a first name basis with Yahweh, who had done incredible things by the power of God, and yet he didn’t presume on any of that but considered himself a normal human being – which of course he was. The comment is germane to the story here because Aaron and Miriam were accusing Moses of taking more authority than they thought he should have. The Lord straightened that misconception out pretty thoroughly! Rather than being overreaching, circumstances bore out that Moses was being very humble, and the editor made note of that. True humility does not mean never putting yourself forward, and it certainly doesn’t mean not doing things. Rather, true humility is an honest assessment of yourself before God, and feeling and acting accordingly. My mother told a story with some amusement of a time when she and my father and my grandmother Garrott were in a car together, my father driving, and my father talking about his struggles with conceit. My grandmother responded, “But Max, there is a difference between conceit and simply recognizing the truth.” My mother thought that was hilarious, but there is actually a lot of truth to it, my grandmother’s motherly pride notwithstanding. My father received his PhD degree at age 23, with Bachelor and Master degrees already under his belt, and he founded a university at age 37. He was enormously gifted, and he didn’t hold back from exercising that gifting for the sake of God’s kingdom.
I wish I had anything approaching my father’s track record! In contrast, though gifted, I have done very little with my gifts, and God will hold me accountable. I have struggled not only with conceit – feeling I was better than others – but with putting in the hard work necessary for my gifts to benefit myself and others. Because academics came to me so easily, I failed to do the “grunt work,” and failed Freshman Math as well as 1st Year German in college, and had to repeat them. You would think that would have taught me my lesson, but my track record says otherwise. It took a long time for me to get it through my head that anything good in me was by the grace of God, and I was accountable to Him for what I did with it. At this point I have outlived my father by a couple of years already, but certainly can’t claim his track record of faithfulness. However long the Lord keeps me here, I am to be diligent in applying what He has put in me, doing what He says how He says to do it, not drawing back from hard work of any sort but knowing that He will enable me to do anything that He calls me to do. That is humility.
Father, I keep getting all sorts of hints that You’ve got quite a year planned. Help me not draw back from any of it, but be Your willing agent at all times in every area, so that Your will may be done on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!