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THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT SERIES [MEEKNESS]
Text: Numbers 12; 1-16, Galatians 5; 22-23
Galatians 5; 22-23
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Nine Fruit of the Spirit [Fruit Triangles]
- Love, Joy and Peace
- Longsuffering, gentleness and goodness
- Faith, Meekness and Temperance
What is Meekness?
Canadian Oxford Dictionary:
Humble and submissive; piously gentle in nature
Humility, submissiveness and gentleness. These are the traits of character of someone who is meek. This is the dictionary definition.
Spiritual meaning of Meekness
God’s word says “I will satisfy the meek with salvation.
Meekness has the same root word as Gentleness in Greek [original text of the new testament] in v 22
Gr. Chrestotes and it means a disposition to be gentle, soft spoken, kind, even tempered, cultured and refined in character and conduct.
Meekness and gentleness are used interchangeably in most bible translations.
Most People cannot perceive meekness as a godly character in the life of a Christian, rather they read it as gentleness. Meekness has much deeper meaning. You need to have gone through God’s special schooling to have the spirit of meekness. After that God baptizes you with the spirit of humility, submissiveness and gentleness and you have the combined honors degree of the spirit of meekness.
The Meek Heart
Meekness is being submissive to the Spirit of God to form godliness inside the heart. Meekness is a manifestation of a totally broken heart that wants the will of God to be done in every situation.
This sermon focuses on meekness in the lives of Moses and Daniel and the instructions of Jesus. Today’s sermon will focus on Moses.
Character of Moses
Our Scripture reading says in
(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
This is a very big compliment to Moses for working on his character and allowing God to take control of his spiritual weaknesses. In fact, the only person who is more meek in the bible on earth was Jesus as we will see later.
1. Moses was hot tempered: As a young man in the Pharoah’s Palace, Moses was a hot-tempered person before his commission to lead the children of Isreal out of Egypt; he killed an Egyptian for self-imposed justice.
11And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.
12And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.
13And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?
14And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.
Moses means drawn out. He was drawn out of the river and became an adopted son by Pharaoh’s daughter. He rightly rejected prince hood to become Egyptian, but he allowed anger to eat into his character as a young man. Because of this and to tamper down his anger, so he will not make many mistakes, and God having foreknowledge that he would commit the mission of leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, made him to stammer. Moses stammered and stuttered, struggled with words.
Exodus 4: 10-17
10And 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.
11And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?
12Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.
13And he said, O my LORD, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.
14And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.
15And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.
16And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.
17And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.
So when the bible compliments him as the meekest man on the earth he had gone through a lot of processing in the school of God. Non-meek people are full of excuses like Moses was before he surrendered to God. God gives them a small assignment, they refuse and are stubborn and run-away and say not me LORD, send another person.
So we see that finally God had to rebuke him, reserves his anger for another time and supports him, because God will not want his will to fail in the life of someone. He gives you all the support you need to succeed. He makes perfect his will in your weaknesses. His story is similar to that of Paul. Jesus commissioning Paul to take the gospel to the Gentiles, also had to strengthen Paul in the inside.
2 Corinthians 12:9
9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2. Moses was Obedient, but must have been cautious on the inside:
Moses obeyed and took courage to go on the assignment, with one important weapon on his hand: The rod of God. Ex 4:20.
Having been a hot-tempered person , a lot of things will be going through his head. For example he may have been thinking, someone with such character would “this rod is very important I should not joke with it”. “I do not want my bad temperament to make this rod that turned into a serpent before my very eyes and turned back to rod because God said it should turn back to a rod to become a serpent when I say so or act won it with a good spirit and I cannot control If I become ill-tempered for any reason”.
3. Moses struggled with his temper many times in the early part journey in leading the children of Israel. God began to work on his temper right after the children of Israel crossed the red sea. They wandered in the wilderness for 3 days and found no water (Exodus 15:22), and the people began to murmur. Can you imagine 600,000 men besides women and children murmuring in your ears that there is no water for them to drink. Each child would cry to the mother, the mother would cry to the husband and then the man would confront Moses with the
question: “What shall we drink” [Exodus 15: 24].
Moses could not run away. Where would he. The people would stone him and match back to Egypt and he would have failed in the assignment God gave him. He only had one choice . Instead of being hot-tempered, he went back to God. He cried to God for solution.
25And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
There the Lord proved them before Moses and made Moses realize that he had a tough task ahead of him. When a spiritual task seems tough in your personal walk with God, how do you respond? Go back to God. Cry to him for a solution. That is the lesson here.
4. Moses provoked to the point of giving in to his old nature. After staying on Mount Sinai with God for 40 days and 40 nights, God gave him the commandments in tablets of stones, written with the fingers of God [Ex 31:18]. On descent from the mountain, he sees the idolatrousness’ of the people and became so enraged that he dropped the stones and they became broken. One may ask, why did God not protect the tablets of stones from being broken?
Two reasons come to my mind.
- Moses was being hypocritical. One moment he was pleading with God in prayer reminding God with covenants “oh do not be angry destroy these people, remember the covenant you had with our fathers……. [Ex 32:11-14]. The other moment, after controlling his anger in the presence of God, when he had descended the mountain and saw the extent of idolatry that the people had succumbed to in 40 days, he allowed the old nature to arise in him and broke the stones in pieces. These two wrongs in the sight of God cannot make a right. Moses should have known better. He was in violation of sacred document. He was being sacrilegious in character.
Ex 32:19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
b. The other reason which is more spiritual, but do not excuse Moses is that God prefers to write the law in the heart of man, not tablets of stones. There are many bible references to this. [Isaiah 51:7, Jeremiah 31:33, Romans 2:15, Heb 8:10]
Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
God is merciful; He wrote the law on new tables of stones until the dispensation of the law is done away with the dispensation of grace in Christ.
5. The Meek Moses sins and why the Man Christ is the Meekest Man: Moses after leading the people for nearly forty years, 38 years to be precise, led the stubborn hearted people in the wilderness back to square one, where they had started the journey. The character of Moses who was forty when he started to lead the people was now to be tested when he was 78 years old. The meekest man complemented in Numbers 12:3 before the death of his sister Miriam was now to be tested whether indeed he would retain the title of the meekest man that had ever lived.
1Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there.
2And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.
3And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!
4And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?
5And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.
Now they were not only complaining of water, but other luxuries which God had told them they would get when they walked with him and entered the promise land. They wanted those goodies to appear now. Right now. They told Moses, “provide them now or we disown you as our prophet. Keep our cattles alive, and provide figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates and water”.
How would you perform on a job that you have been doing for 38 years? You would expect to use experience to solve a problem. Not necessarily so in spiritual battles particularly with besetting sins. The besetting sin of Moses was anger. He had to prove to God that he had mastered his anger to submission to the will of God. The people tested Moses with exactly the same problem as at the first: the lack of water. V3 says the people chode with Moses. They started to jab at him like a boxer throws punches.
In Number 20:6 Moses had learnt some lessons. He was no longer hypocritical in reminding God of covenants, he only fell upon his face in reverence to God to worship him and to wait for God’s solution. The bible says the glory of the Lord appeared to Moses and Aaron.
God told Moses, take the rod, that same rod that I have used to do wonders through you in front of the people. That same rod by that turned into a serpent before Pharaoh and swallowed the serpents of pharaoh’s magicians, that rod that controlled the ten plagues I brought on the Egyptians when my people were in bondage, that same rod that parted the red sea. Simply use the rod and speak to the rock to produce water for the people to live. Instead Moses lifted the rod and struck the rock twice. That was the height of sacrilege. God had had enough with his anger. God was not only now contending with the people but was now debating within himself why my servant had done this.
Numbers 20: 7 – 13
7And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
8Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
9And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him.
10And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
11And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
12And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
13This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.
God was angry with Moses because he struck the rock that followed them in the wilderness. God said, speak; instead Moses struck. Not once but twice.
The bible says that rock was Christ. Christ was not to die twice. He died once and for all for the sins of all men. The only way Christ can appear to die twice is if you put him to an open shame by living a sinful life. Moses put God to an open shame by striking the rock twice ( v12).
God was angry with Moses and for punishment did not allow him to see the Promised Land. In fact, he died, no one knowing where he died. The archangel Michael had to contest for Moses body with Satan in the Name of the LORD before Lucifer released the body of Moses.
Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
This is what anger can do to the character of a man who wants to be meek. Anger and meekness are opposite ways spiritually. If you are prone to anger ask the Lord to help you subdue that spirit today in Jesus name.
1 Corinthians 10:1-5
1Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
5But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
Jesus our Perfect Example
Jesus in Matt 11:28-30 says:
28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
There is a song that goes like this, lets take the song together.
“Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity,
Oh, Thou Spirit Divine, all my nature refine,
‘Til the beauty of Jesus is seen in me,”
All his wonderful passion and purity needs to be in your life and my life for us to be meek. No two ways about it. Put on more of Jesus and you become more meek.
1. Uproot out of my heart every root of bitterness and anger in Jesus Name.
2. Lord fill me with the spirit of meekness in Jesus Name.