The response of God’s servant is what sets him apart
Numbers 12:1-3 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. “Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the LORD heard this. (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)
We begin this passage with the criticism of God’s servant. It was Moses very own sister and brother who were grumbling against him. The criticism against Moses starts out with complaining about his wife. It is unfortunate that complaining about a servant of God’s wife seems to be cliche. Although this behavior may be more common today the effect that it has on God’s servant is the same. This broke the heart of Moses. This behavior would have fragmented the attention of his mind, interrupted his ministry and caused great stress upon his heart.
We see the pride of Miriam and Aaron prevailing in this passage. As they continue their attack on Moses they questioned the exclusivity of the call and mission of Moses. They were not critical of the call for Moses to be a leader but were complaining that they should be held in the same regard as Moses. Motivated by pride they were making a plea for equal honor and respect.
The response of God’s servant is what sets him apart. Moses was not confrontational. He did not react in a way that hurt the situation nor in a way that affected his relationship with God or have a negative impact on his relationship with his sister and brother. He simply remained silent.
In tense situations we may not be able to adequately present our position. Silence may be the best path to take. A servant of God is not to be reactionary against criticism. In the face of criticism, the minister is to be meek and humble — totally submissive and dependent upon God.
Meekness is born in the moments that humble us. It takes a great amount of of power and strength to exercise meekness. It is only when we are meek that we will refrain from crying out in the moment, against those who have wronged us, those who have persecuted us, those who have mistreated, abused, neglected, criticized or spoke ill words against us. Simply put, meekness prevents us from repaying evil with evil because it allows us the ability to exercise self-control through denying one’s self.
And in these moments of testing, if we are preoccupied with ourselves, we will not only become hostile towards the one who has mistreated us, but we are already hostile towards humility. It takes a great amount of humility in difficult moments to cry out to God. We should remember that in our time of troubles and persecution, humility before God is exactly what is needed.
A young man came to a Pastor and asked that the Pastor teach him about humility. At the very moment the young man was speaking the clock struck the hour.
The Pastor commented:” From the sound of the clock striking the hour one may receive strong, forceful instruction as to the submission of the heart. Each one of us should ask the question:” Another hour of my life has departed; have I improved my soul within?
The brevity of life reminds us that we must use this time, every hour for some good cause, for some worthwhile purpose. We are to use this time to advance closer to God in holiness and in joy. We are to learn to use time wisely, reverently and above all with humility.
It takes great discipline to to walk away from false pride which will only lead to fractured relationships with each other and with God. We must conquer our envy and arrogance so that we do not look down upon anyone. If we are always kneeling before our Lord in total submission and dependence upon Him, it is virtually impossible to look down upon your neighbor.
Moses chose to use his time wisely by remaining meek and humble in this time of testing because he stay focused on doing what was right in the eyes of the one and true living God. Paul reminds us today as he reminded Timothy that; for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. We are not to fear those who may trouble us but in meekness and humility remain faithful to God by loving our enemies and controlling our behavior so it may bring honor and glory to God. The power that it takes to respond in this manner is a witness to our meekness.
I pray that we are all able to remain meek and humble in our time of testing.
In Jesus’s name I Pray, Amen
(“From the Pulpit” is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)