Trusting the mercy in God’s NO
It’s fast becoming a lost character trait. Our society encourages self-promotion and getting ahead at all costs…and humility is trampled under ambition.
However, it’s a character trait not lost on God. Jesus was the epitome of humility, laying aside his glory for humanity. And the title for the most humble man on earth was bestowed by God to Moses. He was a flawed leader, as we all are, but covering over his bouts of anger and halting tongue was his humility.
In Numbers 27, God calls Moses up to a mountain range to see the promised land He was giving to the Israelites. Finally…after 40 years, they’re crossing over. And then, God shares these haunting words with Moses: “because you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy” (when you struck the rock in anger to get water instead of speaking to it). God lets Moses know that this is as much of the Promised Land he will ever see.
My response would honestly be to throw some kind of tantrum on that mountain top.
“What? Are you kidding me? I’ve led these stubborn, complaining people for 40 stinking years and I’m not going in????”
But not Moses.
He asks God to appoint a new leader who will bring them in “so the Lord’s people will not be like a sheep without a shepherd.”
Humility. Focus on others. Heart for God’s people. Submission to God.
And after God chooses Joshua to succeed one of the greatest leaders of all time, we read these 7 words: “Moses did as the Lord commanded him.”
No arguing. No negotiating. No bargaining. No rebelling. Just humility.
Things don’t always work out like we want. I’m sure. I’m. SURE. Moses was disappointed. Or was he?
Did God know the next chapter would drain him? Bruise him? Frustrate him? Was it mercy that called Moses home? Was it mercy that kept him from the Promised Land?We may not know this side of eternity, but we DO know that humility prompts God’s mercy.
I’m currently serving as music director and accompanist for a local theater’s production of “Charlotte’s Web.” In this beloved tale, Charlotte the spider and Wilbur the pig become unlikely friends. Charlotte spins words in her web to save Wilbur. In her last word, which costs her her life, she graciously spins this one: H – U – M – B – L – E.
“Humble,” Charlotte says. “It has two meanings: not proud and low to the ground. That’s Wilbur all over!”
Not proud. Low to the ground. Moses, the greatest leader of all time – of ALL TIME – stepped aside so a new leader could step up.
In the days and weeks ahead, when ambition seeks to trample humility, let’s take a page out of Moses’ life and opt instead to see the mercy in God’s discipline; the mercy in His “no.” Instead of throwing a fit, let’s humble ourselves and submit.
Look for the mercy disguised as God’s no this week. Even His discipline is always bathed in mercy.
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