The Meekest Man in All the Earth

Text: Numbers 12:3

“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3, KJV). This lesson will examine this trait of meekness – how it was manifested in Moses’ life and why we must display it in ours.

What Is Meekness?

  • Hebrew word (anav) – depressed, humble, lowly (Strong’s); “afflicted…with the added notion of a lowly, pious, and modest mind, which prefers to bear injuries rather than return them” (Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon); from a word (anah) which means “to humble oneself, bow down” (Brown-Driver-Briggs)
  • Meekness is about choosing to humbly endure whatever circumstances are presented to us – in the Bible, this is particularly about the circumstances that come as a result of serving God
  • Misconceptions about meekness – it is not weakness, timidity, passiveness, or fear of the “spotlight”

Moses Was Meek

  • But not weak (Deuteronomy 34:7) – physically strong (Psalm 90:10); spiritually strong (Hebrews 11:24-26)
  • But not timid – killed the Egyptian (Exodus 2:11-12); left/forsook Egypt (Hebrews 11:27); showed courage before crossing the Red Sea (Exodus 14:10-14)
  • But not afraid to lead (Acts 7:35-36) – initially he was (Exodus 4:13); but he led the Israelites out of Egypt despite Pharaoh’s opposition (Exodus 5:1-2; 10:28); later took on too great of a role in leadership (Exodus 18:13-22)
  • But not afraid of conflict – defending God (Exodus 32:21, 25-28); confronting Korah and taking a public stand against the rebels (Numbers 16:1-7, 25-33)
  • But not afraid to be an example (Numbers 12:3) – Moses wrote this; not characteristic of one who is truly humble, unless God told him to write it (which He did and Moses humbly complied)
  • But not sinless – like everyone, he was not perfect (Romans 3:23); failed to circumcise his son before returning to Egypt (Exodus 4:24-26); failed to obey God when getting water from the rock (Numbers 20:8-12)
  • He displayed meekness by humbly obeying the Lord no matter what that meant – forsook Egypt (Hebrews 11:27); opposed Pharaoh (Hebrews 11:24-27); led the people out of Egypt (Hebrews 11:29); continued to lead Israel for forty years (Deuteronomy 29:5), despite their disobedience/murmuring

Why We Should Be Meek

  • God’s approval is for those who are meek – hears and strengthens them (Psalm 10:17); gives them the land (Psalm 37:11); saves them (Psalm 76:9)
  • The gospel is for those who are meek (Isaiah 61:1) – prophecy fulfilled by Jesus (Luke 4:16-21)
  • The reward of heaven is for those who are meek (Matthew 5:5; cf. Psalm 37:11) – the inheritance is not the physical land of Israel, but heaven (Hebrews 4:8-9; 1 Peter 1:4)

Conclusion

  • Moses was a faithful servant of God whose example we should emulate – particularly his meekness
  • He was not weak, timid, or passive – he humbly obeyed the Lord, no matter the consequences

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