I recently stumbled across this verse. Numbers 12:3 “Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.” Have you ever read that verse? It took me by surprise.
Are you also surprised to find out that Moses, the man who murdered an Egyptian, parted the Red Sea, and led thousands of people out of Egypt was the meekest man on earth? Moses? The man who smashed the Ten Commandment Tablets and then ground the golden calf into a powder (and made his fellow countrymen drink it!) was meek? I was surprised, so I wanted to find out more.
Here’s what I already knew about the word meek. I already knew that God encourages us to be meek. These two verses make that very clear.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
And in Psalm 37:11, David says, “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.”
I thought that to be meek meant to be quiet, pliable, and possibly even weak. I assumed some “lucky” people were naturally born meek (quiet, nice, humble) and the rest of us should be working toward the goal of acting more like them. But when I thought about Moses, he definitely wasn’t weak. Maybe I have been wrong in assuming that I know what the word meek means.
I started to dig some more. I googled the word “meek” and found that the definition is this:
gentle, submissive, easily imposed on.
Next I read an Elisabeth Elliot article on meekness entitle, “The Key to Supernatural Power.” (I encourage you to search for it and read it; its life-changing!) She so articulately wrote, “Meekness is teachability. It is the readiness to be shown, which includes the readiness to lay down my fixed notions, my objections. It is the child’s glad ‘Show me! Is this the way? Please help me.'”
As a mother of five, I understand Mrs. Elliot’s definition. How many times do my kids ask me to show them the right way to do something? And of course I am happy to do so. I am learning that this is what God wants from me. He wants to be my loving father, and he wants me to be meek enough to ask him to show me the way. He wants me to be willing to learn from because he knows what’s best for me.
I am also learning this: meekness is not just a feeling or a mindset or a character trait that a person is blessed with. To be meek is to take action. To seek the Lord. To ask him for his help. To cry out to him to show me the way. My spirit says, “Yes, Lord!” because I know that this submissive learning from Him is a key to right living and joy.
Perhaps this is why Moses is described as meek, because he certainly did this. He was in dialogue with the Lord. He spoke to him face to face, and the Lord used him to do wondrous, powerful things.
Exodus 34:29 says, “(Moses) was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoke with the Lord.”
We live in a culture that preaches self-sufficiency, independence, and strength. But Jesus is telling me to do just the opposite, to be meek like Moses. In Matthew 11:29, Jesus, said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”