He Lifts the Humble

The book of Numbers helps to chronicle the Israelites journey through the wilderness to the promised land of Canaan.  The journey was difficult and the people frequently took their frustration out on their leader Moses.  Fortunately Moses had his own brother and sister on the journey to support him.  But sometimes, it’s those closest to us who can hurt us the most. 

 Numbers chapter 12 tells us that Moses’ sister, Miriam, didn’t like the woman that he had chosen to marry.  So she begins to question is judgment and undermined his leadership behind his back.  After all Moses wasn’t the only one who heard from the Lord.  Hadn’t God spoken to her and Aaron as well?  Perhaps Moses wasn’t the best person for the job anymore.  So, God stepped in to have a “pull the car over” kind of conversation with the three siblings.  You know what I’m talking about.  Those times you were acting up in the back seat and your parents warned you, “don’t make me pull this car over”.  And then the dreaded moment when they had had enough of your behavior that they actually jerked the car to the side of the road.  Yep, it was one of those kind of conversations.  God told the three of them, “meet me in front of my tent”.  And God came down in a pillar of cloud to speak with them and said: 
“Listen to my words: When there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions,
I speak to them in dreams.
But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.
With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid
to speak against my servant Moses?”
The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them. (Numbers 12: 6-9)
Moses had been vindicated!  Now was the chance for him to gloat over them.  Or maybe some good old fashion self-pity was in order.  After all, his most trusted partners, his own family, had talked about him behind his back, attempting to derail his ministry.  Whatever Moses chose to do, he could at least find some comfort in knowing that those who had stabbed him in the back were now being punished by God.  So, what does Moses do?  He falls to his knees and pleads with God not to punish them.  How does he bring himself to this response?  Surely God is just in the punishment He chooses.  Shouldn’t Moses find just a little satisfaction in knowing that they were getting their comeuppance? 
I think this passage tells us how Moses was able to respond this way.  In Numbers 12:3 the author deviates from the story to add this side note: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”  Apparently this bit of information was critical to the narrative.  I believe it explains why Moses reacted as he did.  The bible tells us that God lifts up the humble and shows them favor, but he opposes the proud.  (Psalm 147:6; James 4:6).  One way He “lifts the humble” is to help them rise above their fleshly responses, allowing them to react with spiritual maturity and compassion. 
Humility comes from exalting God in your mind.  Worshipfully meditating on God’s greatness helps to bring our self-image into the correct perspective.  When we humble ourselves before the Lord we are filled with the wonder of His glory and there is no room for offense or self-pity.  But when we are self-absorbed (thinking more about our own emotions, desires and disappointments than we are thinking of Him) our reactions are from the flesh. “Humility is the fear of the Lord; it’s wages are riches and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4).
In Isaiah 66:2 God says: “…these are the ones I look on with favor, those who are humble and contrite in spirit and who trembles at my word”. 
Does your perspective of God bring you such humility that it causes you to tremble when reading his word?
May God’s favor shine on you in your humility,
Pastor Jonathan