Humbling and ExaltingBlog, Essays, Meditations — By JamesWilliams on April 29, 2012 at 9:13 am
Off came the shoes. First the left, then the right. This prince-turned-shepherd had never seen a burning bush before, and when the Voice inside the bush said to remove his shoes, he didn’t argue. But his don’t-argue-with-the-Voice policy didn’t last long. As soon as the Voice began dictating the plan to the shepherd, Moses began his litany of protests.
The plan, it turned out, involved Moses approaching Pharaoh and demanding the release of God’s people from slavery. Moses told God: “No thanks. I’m not qualified.”
God’s answer: “I am qualified, and I’ll be with you.”
Again and again, Moses argued with God: “I’m no good at talking.” “What if they don’t believe me?” And again and again, God countered Moses’ protests by saying “I will…”.
Each time God commanded Moses to go free the slaves, he claimed to be inadequate for the job. The epitome of humility, right? Err … no. Just the opposite. Humility isn’t thinking less of ourselves. It’s thinking of ourselves less. Moses may have thought his self-degradation would look humble in the eyes of God, but God became angry (Exodus 4:14), because Moses was making it all about himself.
In “The Cloud and the Line,” Paul Gibbs points out that Moses learned humility by being exalted, then humbled, then exalted again—Prince of Egypt to lowly shepherd to leader of the Israelites. As the Burning Bush story shows us, Moses had learned a few things about true humility, but he hadn’t arrived where he needed to be yet. God had to humble him before He could exalt him and ultimately use him.
Moses needed to understand this simple truth:
Humility isn’t about how you think of yourself. Humility is about who you’re focusing on. We can anger God when we choose to stop looking at what He can do and begin looking at where we fall short. Oswald Chambers said: “The way we continually talk about our own inabilities is an insult to our Creator. To complain over our incompetence is to accuse God falsely of having overlooked us.”
True humility leads us away from looking at ourselves and what we cannot do and toward looking to Him and what He can do through you as He has designed you (Ephesians 2:10). If you currently don’t see how God can work through you, change your focus and allow him to work through you in surprising ways. Moses went from a man who doubted himself at the Burning Bush to a man pinned against the Red Sea, approaching it with confidence that the God who said He’d deliver them would do exactly that. My prayer is that all of us will look to Him, and all that He can do, all the time. That’s true humility.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13