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Moses and Meekness


A regular visitor to this web site asked:

"The question, generated during a recent Bible study on meekness, was 'Just what IS meekness?' Terms like 'humbleness,' 'gentleness,' 'quiet in spirit,' were discussed, but these don't seem to quite cover it. Moses is described as being the meekest of all men. Do you have any insight into the characteristic of meekness?"


The reference to Moses and him being meek appears in Numbers 12 and it relates not to Moses and intercession but the way Moses handled confrontation. Here's that scripture passage:

And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it. (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) 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.

Numbers 12:2 - 4 - KJV


And a further incident of confrontation in Numbers 16:

And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD? (Ye take...: Heb. It is much for you) And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:

Numbers 16:3 - 4 - KJV


Can you see the pattern emerging here? When the congregation, or individual members of the congregation, aggressively confronted Moses with demands or accusations he did not verbally strike back in the force of the authority of his rank. Instead he "fell on his face", which is to say, he took it to the Lord.

Hence, with the incident with Aaron and Miriam, the Lord knew Moses wouldn't speak up for himself to strenuously defend his position so He took them all aside to deal with the situation Himself.

This is the situation which is being spelled out for us us by the declaration in the text, "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth."


Hopefully, you can now see why is vary apt and adequate when meek is defined as, "Gentle, kind, not easily provoked, ready to yield rather than cause trouble."

We are now left with a very special and valuable insight into a precious teaching of Jesus which takes a promise from Psalms and presents it as a divinely appointed future condition that will arise on the Earth. Here it is:

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:5 - NKJV


If we want to be among the "they" of that teaching we need to be among the meek. We need to be among those who respond to aggressive confrontation in the way Moses did, namely, by not being easily provoked, being ready to yield but taking the whole issue to the Lord in prayer that is surrendered to and confident in His holy sovereignty.


The apostle Paul picks this back up in his wonderful passage given to equip God's people for daily life and found his letter to the Philippians. Here is the part that connects to our new understanding of what it is to be meek:

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Philippians 4:5 - NKJV


Or, more relevantly as we find it in Kenneth Wuest's translation,

Let your sweet reasonableness, your forbearance, your being satisfied with less than your due, become known to all men. The Lord is near [in that his coming may occur at any moment.]

Philippians 4:5 - Wuest's translation


You can be among the meek of the Earth!

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