I’m one of the fortunate ones.
I didn’t grow up in a home where I heard, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Maybe my parents learned from Moses and Aaron. This morning I am certainly challenged by the example these two guys set.
Returning from scoping out the Promised Land, the 40 spies come back defeated before the take over could even begin. Allowing fear and ungratefulness to overflow to everyone they come in contact with, the spies spill out every thought in their mind: “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size…We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Numbers 13:32b-33 (NIV 84)
Burning lava spilling from an explosive volcano, the spies’ flippant words vibrate deep in the quivering hearts of the Israelites. All their fears, frustration and fussing begin flowing, burning up their community. Soon, the entire camp is in a rebellious uproar directed straight at their leaders: Moses and Aaron.
As I read this passage today, I didn’t feel contempt for the Israelites. I’ve been the complaining consumer of God’s goodness before. What I felt was awe, seeing the response of Moses and Aaron:
“Then Moses and Aaron fell face down
in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there.” Numbers 14:5 (NIV 84)
Friends, can I just tell you this is not my normal response when someone comes at me! Oh no! I may not be explosive with my words and actions, but my mind immediately begins to build a defense strong enough to head into a court room. I want the person who I feel is attacking me (key word – feel) to know just how wrong they are! All my energy goes to self-preservation.
That is not what I see in Moses and Aaron. I see humility. God responds to these men who do not take up defending themselves and their actions, but instead turn to their God. “…Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites. The Lord said to Moses, …” (Numbers 14:10b-11a)
The result of Moses and Aaron’s posture of humility was the presence of the King.
They could have chosen the natural human route: build a case – put the camp in it’s place.
They chose humility and God chose to defend their leadership.
Today, tomorrow or in the very near future, you and I will be in the pathway of a spill whether through madness, misunderstanding or a mistake of another person. As those words come close to burning us, like Moses and Aaron, we’ll have a choice. We can rise up in anger and self-defense. Let them have what they deserve! We can also choose to humble ourselves and allow God to come to our defense.
One has the immediate benefit of an emotional release; short term we feel better getting our feelings off our chest. Long term, like the Israelites, there will be consequences to pay.
Should we choose humility, we pay the price of self-control up front, but open the way for our God to come to our defense and reap His benefits instead.
Lord, we’re not leading a million people through a desert, but we are leading. In our home, our workplace, our neighborhood and in our churches, we are leading. Holy Spirit, empower us to lead from a place of humility, where You are in control and not our emotions. Open our eyes to see when we, like Moses and Aaron, need to fall face down and get Your heart before we spill out our’s on others. Amen