This post is written by our curriculum editor Nannette Elkins, wife of Douglas Elkins, our North America Regional Coordinator. Nannette also spent a year in Latvia helping launch Revival by Design. You can get acquainted with her writings at her blog Hope in the Healing and also at Internet Cafe Devotions where she is a monthly contributor.
“Humility is the almost impossible task of being more concerned with my own sins than the sins of others.”
~ Missionary William Turner
While we were visiting in Latvia, we were privileged to hear the teaching of Missionary William Turner, missionary to Russia and the Ukraine. He taught a beautiful lesson on meekness before the conference and I tried to take notes on my phone as quickly as I could. I want to share some of his thoughts mixed in with my own, on the subject of his great title, “Meekness is Not Weakness”. He is a wonderful Bible teacher, full of wisdom and experience from many years on the mission field in South Korea and the former Soviet Union.
“Meekness is forsaking our responsibility to make things right.”
In Numbers the 12th chapter, Moses was called meek at a time in his life when he was being unjustly criticized by Miriam and Aaron because he had married an Ethiopian woman.
They thought the Lord could speak to them just as well as He could through Moses and were brave enough to say so!
“And the Lord heard it.” Numbers 12:2. NKJV.
(“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) Numbers 12:3.
So it looks like Moses is meek and humble…he isn’t going to say anything to his own sister and brother. He isn’t going to call them out in front of the congregation and make them be quiet or tell them they are out of line. It just is not his way.
He doesn’t have to…
Immediately the Lord calls to Moses, Aaron and Miriam and tells them to go to the Tabernacle. The Lord then descends in the pillar of a cloud and stands at the entrance of the Tabernacle!
“Aaron and Miriam!…Now listen to what I say: If there were prophets among you, I, the Lord, would reveal myself in visions. I would speak to them in dreams. But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust. I speak to him face to face….He sees the Lord as he is. So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant Moses?” Numbers 12:5-8 NLT.
The Bible says the Lord was very angry with them and as soon as He departed, there stood Miriam…her skin as white as snow from leprosy!
Aaron cries out to Moses for mercy and Moses then cries out to the Lord asking Him to heal Miriam. God doesn’t instantly heal her but follows the Law and has her shut out of the camp for seven days.
Meek people seek no private revenge even though they were wronged. Moses’ sister and brother wanted the limelight and didn’t seem to care that it was Moses, the one who had led them out of slavery, that they were finding fault against.
But Moses kept quiet, and because He did, the Lord fought for him! When God fights for you, when Almighty God stands in the gap for you, not only will you win friend, you win big!
Meekness is NOT Weakness!
And those that are against you…even if you love them… can lose big.
God let Miriam and Aaron know that Moses was the one that He had chosen to speak to…face to face. They had better think twice before they criticized the man of God again!
Was it because of the meekness of Moses that “…he sees the Lord as he is”? Do you not think that our attitudes have so much to do with whether or not we can enter into the Holy of Holies?
God spoke to Moses face to face because of his humility.
Psalm 37:11 “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
Missionary Turner said that “Meekness yields to what we perceive to be our rights. We do it to obtain a greater spiritual good.”
If you truly possess a spirit of meekness and humility, you won’t keep insisting on your own rights.
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth…” 2 Timothy 2:24-25.