The Life of Moses – Meekness

Lesson 1

Today we start a new series on the life of Moses.  Moses is one of the all-time heroes of the faith.  Moses had great faith.  The faith of Moses gets 6 verses in Hebrews Chapter 11.

Heb 11:24  By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;

Heb 11:25  Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

Heb 11:26  Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

Heb 11:27  By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Heb 11:28  Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

Heb 11:29  By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

More time is spent in the hall of faith chapter on Moses than on Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Samson ect.   Moses truly was a great servant of God.  And to the Jewish people Moses for centuries has held a special place.  Even to this day Moses is one of their most important figures.

Moses did many great things.  He stood up to Pharaoh, instituted the first Passover, Led the people out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea, talked to God face to face the Bible says

Exo_33:11  And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.

Moses was the only man to see the back parts of God, the only man to come down from the mount with his face shining.  So much so that it scared people.  Moses was used to give the law, and write 5 books of the Word of God. He was used to get water out of a rock, and on and on the list goes.  A lot of exciting things happened in the life of Moses.

There is no way to look at everything that happened in the Life of Moses.  If you do a search with your Bible software on the name Moses, you will find 848 matches in 784 verses.  To look at everything we would have to study, Exodus, Lev, Numbers, Deut. But even more than that.

Moses is referred to and more details are given about him in, Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Micah, Malachi, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, 2 Timothy, Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation.

By now you should be seeing two things.  First, Moses is a central figure in the Word of God and therefore he is worth taking a close look at.

And second.  There is no way to take a look at everything the Bible has to say about the life of Moses in a dozen or so messages.

So what we are going to do is concentrate on the character of Moses.  Some of the Spiritual and Biblical principles that we see in his life.  Principals that also apply to us today.  Principals that if we understand and apply will have an impact upon our lives.

And we are going to be taking a look at the spiritual growth of the Man.  Moses did not start out as a spiritual rock.  He grew, and as you will see it did not happen overnight.  It took time.  It is a process.  All Christians should be going thru a growth process.

When you first get saved it is alright to be a babe in Christ.  It is not only alright, it is normal.  However, something is just not right if 5 years later you are still a babe in Christ.

2Pe_3:18  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Eph_4:15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

God’s word tells us that we are to grow as Christians.

Php 3:12  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Php 3:13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

God’s word also tells us that the growth process should not stop.  Paul was one of the greatest missionaries that has ever lived and he said, I count not myself to have apprehended.  He knew that he had not arrived.

We are to have the same attitude and keep growing.  As we go thru the study of Moses we should be encouraged as we watch a man who learned to have great faith in his Great God.

When we see God have patience and continue to work with Moses, and just continue to bring him along.  When we see God not give up on him, and continue to do a work in his life, then it should encourage us that God will not give up on us.  He will continue to do a work in our lives if we are yielded to Him.

And great growth is available to each and every one of us.  This series should be a help and encouragement to us to keep growing.

Characteristics of Moses

If you think about Spiritual characteristics of Moses, many may come to mind.  We already read a few verses about his Faith.

Another one that comes to mind would be that Moses was called the servant of God.

2Ch_24:9  And they made a proclamation through Judah and Jerusalem, to bring in to the LORD the collection that Moses the servant of God laid upon Israel in the wilderness.

Moses grew into a great servant of God.

We are going to start this study by looking at one characteristic that is said of Moses in a way that it is not said of anyone else in the Bible.  Be sure that others have also had this characteristic.  In fact we will learn that we are all to pursue it.  We should all want it.  It is just that it was manifested in the life of Moses in a very visible powerful way.

It became a big part of who he was.  And if we are going to understand the life of Moses we need to understand this characteristic.

Meekness.  The Bible teaches that Moses was the meekest man in the earth

Num 12:3  (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)

Moses had more meekness than all the men which were upon the face of the earth.

What Meekness is

Meekness is one of Moses’ defining characteristics.  So we need to have a good understanding of what meekness is.

Meekness is defined as Softness of temper; forbearance under injuries and provocations.  Humility; resignation and submission to the divine will, without murmuring.  It is also opposed to pride.

Meekness has a lot to do with how you react under attack.  How do you handle being attacked? What do you do when provoked?  Notice how the definition talks about softness of temper.  Forbearance under injuries and provocation.  That can mean actually physical injury, but it also can mean words.  Words do cut.

Psa_64:3  Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:

The Bible likens words to a sword and arrows.  They can wound and cut.  And our nature is to fight back.  To lash out.  To take matters into our own hands.  Deal out justice so to speak.  But notice the definition also includes resignation and submission to the divine will.

Meekness also has to do with trust in God.  Trust that He sees all, knows all, and that He is concerned about you and that He does care.  He cares about it all.  And that God knows best.  Meekness has a lot to do with letting God handle the injuries and provocations that come our way.

Meekness is defined as Softness of temper; forbearance under injuries and provocations.  Humility; resignation and submission to the divine will, without murmuring.  It is also opposed to pride.

That definition comes from the 1828 Webster dictionary.  The only English dictionary that has its definitions based on the King James Bible.  Along with the definition many times you will find chapter and verse references.  It’s one of the good places to go when looking for a definition.

So let’s go to the first mention of Meekness in the Bible and see how our definition stacks up.

The first mention of Meekness is about Moses and is in Numbers chapter 12.

Moses demonstrates meekness with Miriam

This Attack was from a close source.

Num 12:1  And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.

This is an attack.  Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses.  This was not just some little comment made without thinking.  You can tell that because of how God reacts to it.  This was serious.  They talked about it enough to get on the same page about it, and both of them turned against Moses.

Now think about who it is that is doing this.  Miriam.  What did Miriam not owe to Moses?   Without Moses she most likely would have been an unknown slave girl, married to another slave who worked in Pharaoh’s brickfields.  And if she did not get married she still would have been a slave.  Living under brutal conditions with little or no hope of things ever changing.

At one time it was Miriam who tended and loved Moses.  She was the one who was there to suggest to Pharaoh’s daughter a Hebrew woman to nurse the child.  Miriam was with Moses thru the entire exodus.  Miriam was there for the victory song after the Red Sea had closed over the Egyptian army.

She was not only family, but she was close family.  Can you imagine it?  How this must have hurt Moses.  Like a knife in the back.

And her partner in crime was Aaron.  Aaron was his own brother. Exo_6:20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father’s sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses.

Not only was Aaron his flesh and blood, but Aaron was sent by Almighty God to be his assistant. And from that time you often see them mentioned together doing the work of the Lord.

Exo 5:20  And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh:

If anyone should support you it is your right hand man.  Your partner in the work.  We can take it easier from strangers, or even someone in the congregation that you are not all that close to.  But this attack was from close family.

The point I am trying to make is that this was not a run of the mill daily type of attack that you might expect.  This was close to the heart.  This hurt.  Taking a moment to put yourself into Moses’ shoes helps us see the spiritual depth of the reaction of Moses to it.

What they attacked.

They attacked quite a few things.  They attacked Moses’ family.  It was an attack on his wife.  We don’t know much about her.  We don’t know if she was rough around the edges or not.  She might have been a perfect lady.  All we know is that Miriam decided that she did not like her.  And this attack on his wife is really wicked.

It is cultural and racial.  The Bible says this attack was because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.

The attack was not because she broke some law of God.  It was simply because of her culture and race.  That is just wicked.  There is no room in Christianity at all for prejudice of any kind.  We are all equal in the eyes of God.  His love is poured out to us all.  Jesus died for us all.

The second thing they attacked was Moses choice.  For he married.  He chose wrong in their eyes.  This is an attack on his judgment.

But they don’t stop there.  They go on and attack his authority.

Num 12:2  And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it.

I mean this had to hurt. I dare say that most people even most Christians will mount some kind of defense at this point.  That is the normal reaction of the flesh.  Moses’ reaction is going to be different.  And to highlight that and his reaction we have a parenthetical statement in verse 3.

Num 12:3  (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)

Notice this is the first mention of the word meek.  And that it is in parentheses.  A comment in the middle of the narrative.  And it is right after Moses is verbally attacked.  And his authority challenged.

God is highlighting meekness with Moses and in connection to this event.

In Verse 4 thru 9 God defends Moses.

Num 12:4  And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out.

Num 12:5  And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.

Num 12:6  And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.

Num 12:7  My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.

Num 12:8  With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

Num 12:9  And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed.

We do not see Moses defending himself.  No lashing out.  We do not see him getting angry or losing his temper.  Or letting the tongue slip.  Meekness has to do with forbearance under injuries and provocations.  And we see that here.

Meekness has to do with trusting the Lord.  Being resigned to and submission to His will.  The attitude is if God defends me good and if He chooses to wait a while, it is still good.  He knows best.  Moses understood the New Testament truth.

Jas 1:19  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

Jas 1:20  For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Rom_12:19  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

And in this case God chose to take care of it right away.

Num 12:10  And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.

Moses does not say, see what you get.  Or you had it coming.  Moses is humble,

Moses does not say out of pride, you should not have challenged my position and authority.  No.  Meekness is opposed to pride.

Num 12:11  And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.

Num 12:12  Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother’s womb.

Aaron asks for forgiveness for them.  Moses did not make them beg.  He did not say I will think about it.  Or let her wait a while.

Num 12:13  And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee.

Moses prayed for her and asked, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. He begged God to heal her right away.  The very person who attacked him and stirred Aaron up to also attack him. Moses was attacked but he was not going to attack back.  He was still going to show love to them, and want what was best for them.  He was still going to intercede on their behalf.

Meekness is defined as Softness of temper; forbearance under injuries and provocations.  Humility; resignation and submission to the divine will, without murmuring.  It is also opposed to pride.

That’s meekness.

And it is in no way weakness.  What you see here is incredible power.  Power over what you ask?

Power over pride, power over hatred and anger, selfishness and pettiness.

The power over and control over the flesh that is demonstrated here is astounding.  And the power to put full trust in God.  Trust that if God allowed it, then there is a reason, and He will either take care of it or He will walk with me thru it.

This was not an isolated incident with Moses

Moses showed meekness in Num. 11:27-28 when Eldad and Medad prophesied in the camp

Num 11:26  But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.

Num 11:27  And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.

Num 11:28  And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.

Num 11:29  And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!

Some men would see what Eldad and Medad was doing as taking away from the attention due them.  Others would see it as an attack on their authority or position.  Joshua asked Moses to forbid them.  It bothered him so bad that he ran to Moses to ask him to make them stop.

But Moses was meek.  He totally trusted God.  And Moses was not after prestige or the lifting himself up in pride.

Moses showed meekness when the people attacked him.

Exo 14:12  Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.

Exo 14:13  And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

Exo 14:14  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Time and again Moses show forbearance under attack.  And even when attacked he continued to do what was right for those who attacked him.  He just continued to love them and serve.

He showed meekness over and over when the Children of Israel complained and actually accused him of attempting to kill them in the wilderness.

Num 21:5  And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

Num 21:6  And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

Num 21:7  Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

No talking back.  No statements of defense.  No I will think about it.  No I will pray after I give you a piece of my mind.  No I told you so first.

The pattern was they attacked and Moses prayed.  They complained and accused and Moses had faith and trusted God.

They struck out at Moses in anger, and Moses responded in love.  Doing what was in their best interest.

The Bible says.

Num 12:3  (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)

And we see it over and over again.

But let us be warned.  Just because a man shows meekness over and over again.  It does not mean that he always will.

Moses was the best at it of anyone except Jesus, and Moses had his failure.

One time Moses lashed out and said, “Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?”

We never see Moses mess up again in this area.  He returns to dealing with the people in meekness.

What we learn from this is meekness is not something that you acquire once and always have.  Every day, all the time.

It is something that you receive on a day by day basis.  Next time that we look at Moses we are going to look at how are we to think about meekness, how you get meekness, what does God think about it, what can it do in your life?

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