What Does It Take to Be Humble?

One of the great things about working at a missions camp is you get fed really well. And I don’t mean food, though that has been good. I mean spiritually through explorations into the Word of God. A couple of nights ago, our speaker shared with us a curious verse I must have read many times before but never really noticed before.

(Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.) – Numbers 12:3, NASB

The NASB puts it in parentheses. That made sense, according to the speaker, because if one was truly humble, this wouldn’t be the sort of thing one would write about oneself. And that’s true. If I brag that I’m the most humble person on the face of the earth, that can’t possibly be true. If I was truly humble, I wouldn’t be saying any such thing. So it is believed that through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit someone added that line, just as the Holy Spirit would have had to inspire another to write the end of Deuteronomy when Moses dies. So let’s stop and consider this verse. This verse is saying Moses was the most humble man on the earth at that time. Based on what he went through after his 80th birthday, I would have to say that yes he was. Only through complete submission to God could he have done the things he did. But how did he get there? How did he get to be the most humble man on the earth?

Consider the fact that he was raised as a son of Pharaoh. Such environments tend not to produce humble people. Actually, in Moses’ case it probably didn’t. That’s why he took the action he did when he murdered an Egyptian “in defense” of his Israelite brother. It could be argued that perhaps he knew God’s call for his life and he decided to get a jump on things. But this is certainly not the way God wanted it. So what did God do? He effectively banished Moses to the desert for 40 years (I wonder if that was good preparation for another 40 years of wandering) where he gave up all trappings of royalty and became a simple shepherd. There’s not a lot of glory in that job. So in one fell swoop Moses went from the luxurious riches of Pharaoh’s house to the poverty of a desert dweller. Yes, that will humble you. But is that what it takes for us, too? Do we have to be stripped down like this?

My response may seem a bit harsh, “Who cares?” Really, if God is our focus and the deepest, most entire desire of our heart, does anything else matter? Who cares that we lose status? We shouldn’t. Who cares if we lose fortune? We can’t take it with us. Who cares if we have to give up the familiar? It’s nice, but it’s not necessary. Now salvation, that’s necessary. Redemption, now that’s a must. So if those are things we want, we’ve got to do it God’s way. And if God’s way strips us of everything or allows us to keep some or all of it, it just doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we are becoming the people He would have us be.

I know the Bible tells us to know what we’re getting into, something about counting the cost…And we should. Humility, and God’s way, leads to an eternal and immeasurable reward. Anything else leads to damnation and destruction. I know that’s not a popular thing to say, but it’s true. We’ve got to do it God’s way. There is no other way. There is no other way but Jesus. And He wants us humble. If we aren’t humble, we’re going to fight as he molds us. We are going to challenge when He corrects us. We’re going to do a lot of things which keep Him from working in our lives. So we need to face up and realize we need to be more humble.

That’s what I want. I want to be humble before God. After all, what do I have to offer Him that is worth anything? What may I give God back in return for the outrageous gift of His own Son’s life for me? I don’t have anything that is sufficient. That’s humbling. And that’s where it starts. We need to be a more humble people before God. Humility means He can work with us and within us. Isn’t that what we want? So whatever price humility costs us, it’s worth it.

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