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Moses: a Man of Humility

A number of years ago, country singer Mac Davis was at the top of his craft, playing at one of the most prestigious hotels on the music circuit. Waking up in his "star" suite and looking in the mirror, he realized the irony of his life. He had everything he ever wanted, but he still felt miserable.

In order to cheer himself up, he penned a satirical song that began: "Oh, Lord, it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way; I can't wait to look in the mirror 'cuz I get better looking each day … "

In this era of the pop star, sports icon and movie mogul, the theme of Davis' song lives on. Many people find it hard to be humble when everything around them seems to be going so well. But the Bible tells us that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. "This is the one I esteem," says the Lord. "He who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word" (see Isaiah 66:2).

Moses was the man chosen by God to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, where they had been oppressed for over 400 years. Although he was a Hebrew by birth, Moses was adopted and raised in the royal palace as the son of an Egyptian princess. He was given the education, training and lifestyle befitting a prince. However, his privileged life ended abruptly when he murdered an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave. Moses was forced to flee for his life and spent the next 40 years as a shepherd in Midian.

One day, God appeared and told Moses to return to Egypt. God wanted to use Moses to help free the Israelite people. Moses felt ill-equipped for the task. But God told Moses that He would provide everything that was required (see Exodus 4:10-13).

What follows is an incredible story of a nation's glorious journey from slavery to the Promised Land. It is also the story of Moses' powerful leadership in response to God's call. Through Moses, God gave the nation of Israel the Ten Commandments—the law code that still forms the basis for our civil society today.

*****Although he was a powerful leader, Moses never forgot that God was the source of his strength.*****

Although he was a powerful leader, Moses never forgot that God was the source of his strength. Instead of lording it over the Israelites, Moses saw himself as God's instrument. Of course, Moses still made mistakes, and at times he was downright disobedient. In the end, however, it was God's honour and reputation that he sought to uphold, not his own. Moses knew that whatever he accomplished as Israel's leader was not due to his own efforts, but only to God's grace.

After years of wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites stood on the brink of a land "flowing with milk and honey." It was the land God had promised to them when He delivered them from Egypt. Moses reminded the people that their past, present and future success depended on God. It was God who had led them out of slavery, given them a new home and caused them to flourish. Their success was a gift from the Lord, not their own doing.

Have you tasted success? To whom do you give the credit? It's easy to believe that we are responsible for the good things that happen to us, that we've somehow earned them because of our incredible gifts and creative planning. In our arrogance, however, we forget that every good gift comes from God. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Questions for further reflection:

Read the story of Moses in the Book of Exodus.

  • When faced with difficult decisions, what was Moses' response?
  • What is your response to success and accomplishment?
  • Where does humility rank on your scale of personal characteristics?
  • In what life situations can you demonstrate the humility of Moses?

Faith and Friends, August 2001,




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