When humility is a problem

Image Source: www.pixabay.
Image Source: www.pixabay.

And [Moses] said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses" (Exodus 4:13-14).

God had appointed Moses as the man to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, but Moses was begging off. There appears to be something laudable about Moses' reticence, especially in the light of all those glory hounds which liberally sprinkle the landscape of the modern church who would have jumped at the opportunity just to go down in history as a famous person. Moses, on the other hand, would have preferred to stay in the shadows.

The reason was that Moses was so unsure of himself. He was a humble guy: "And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue" (Ex. 4:10). But this is a case where Moses' apparent humility had become a problem; for instead of praising him, the Lord became angry with him. Why?

Well, if you think about it, there was a razor thin edge between Moses' humility and Moses' pride and I think he had stepped over it. For true humility would have led him to trust in the Lord to do what he himself could not do. Instead, Moses is essentially insisting on relying upon the arm of flesh - his thinking appeared to be that if he couldn't do it himself through his eloquence or whatever, then it couldn't be done. That's really pride. He was elevating confidence in himself above confidence in God. And that was his mistake.

Do we not do the same thing? We can think we're being humble by complaining to the Lord how little we are able to meet up to his expectations for us. But the fact of the matter is that we are really, like Moses, relying not on the Lord but on the arm of the flesh. We are telling the Lord that if we can't do it on our own, then it can't be done.

But that is not what the Lord calls us to do. Rather, he is calling upon us to obey him in the strength of his grace, to work out our own salvation because he is the one who works in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Phil. 2:12-13). Even in our weakness we can be strong, not because we can somehow hammer it through on our own, but because God will give ample grace to those who trust in him (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

By: Jeremiah Bass