“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from You, and of Your own have we given You.” 1 Chronicles 29:14
Who am I? That’s actually a pretty popular question in Your Word, Lord. In Exodus 3:11, Moses asked it of You, Lord. “Who am I , that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” I find this statement about Moses in Numbers 12:3, “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” Interesting thing about this is that Moses wrote this book! So does that make him kind of vain, I mean, saying that about himself?
On the contrary, You, Lord, inspired Moses to write that about himself. I wonder if it felt strange to write that? But maybe it felt humbling all at the same time. Imagine, being told by You, Lord, that You feel that strongly. And why would that need to be mentioned? Because Miriam and Aaron were not being so meek. They were raising themselves above Your chosen authority. See, Moses never asked to be leader.
Well, maybe at one point he thought he ought to be a great leader. After all, his birth mom must have told him those dreams she had for him. And then You, Lord, placed him in the royal house. So one day he’s out and discontent because he knows who his real family is and then he takes it upon himself to kill a man that’s mistreating one of his “family members.” I think at that point he thought people would gather around him and rise up with him, but that wasn’t what happened. Instead, he lost everything. He went from a prideful son of Pharoah to an outcast Jew in one fell swoop. In one instant, God brought on the greatest humbling that Moses had ever experienced. Only, it wasn’t just there that the humbling occurred.
Humbling, true humbling, is continual and it occurs over time and through circumstances. It took Moses another 40 years of learning humbleness through life before You were ready to use him as a leader, and as Your chosen leader, Lord. Now this is important for me to remember again. Moses was no longer choosing himself as an adequate leader. By the time You were ready for him, he knew that he had absolutely no power to lead on his own. By the time You called him, He knew that only You could lead and all he could do was follow and obey. And that’s the point where he was ready in Your eyes to become a leader.
Unfortunately, Miriam and Aaron had not come to that point yet. They were thinking that they had the right to be critical of others, like Moses and his “Ethiopian” wife. Now, I’m not so sure if that means that she was a true Ethiopian or that maybe her skin was dark complected like an Ethiopian, but why should that have made a difference? I mean, really, who made Miriam and Aaron Hebrew? Isn’t it the same God who made Moses’ wife Ethiopian? And isn’t He the same God who led Moses to her? And isn’t He the same God that used this time with her as part of Moses’ humbling and preparation? And maybe being upset about this wife wasn’t even the issue. Maybe when we are full of pride ourselves, we look for excuses to accuse others.
Because here Miriam and Aaron come out and accuse Moses of pride, like he made himself the leader and top prophet. Take me through Scripture and show me where he appoints himself. That’s not the Moses I read about. But look at Miriam and Aaron. They’re saying, “We are just as capable to lead as Moses.” So who here is really guilty of pride? Maybe the ones who wind up pointing guilty fingers at everyone else are the ones most guilty of all.
You know, Lord, I don’t think Moses would have minded at all if Miriam or Aaron could have taken over. Being Your chosen leader carries some heavy weight, like not being understood and having a compassionate heart for those you lead. It’s a heavy and hard load. It’s tiring. For all it’s benefits, it’s not easy. I bet Moses was even examining his own heart. Maybe he even asked, “Lord, is this true? Am I being prideful?” I wonder if when you called all three of them before You if it wasn’t to serve two purposes, to correct Miriam and Aaron, and to affirm and encourage Moses.
Now, I’m going to jump back to David. When he was preparing for the building of the Temple he said, “all this store that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name comes of Your hand, and is all Your own.” (1 Chronicles 29:16) What he was saying was that even what we give to You. Lord, came from You in the first place. And if I go back just before that to verses 11-13, I learn this, “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come of You, and You reign over all; and in Your hand is power and might; and in Your hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name.” Now, I know that sometimes David forgot this and needed to be reminded. And later in life, Solomon forgot some of this too. And it appears that Miriam and Aaron forgot this or didn’t realize it. And it appears that we can easily forget or not even realize this too.
The truth of the matter is, “Who am I?” I mean really, who am I compared to the next person and even more humbling, who am I compared to You, God? Maybe if we asked ourself that question more frequently, we might start exhibiting more humbleness like Moses. Maybe, if we asked ourself that question more frequently, we’d really start remembering Who Is Everything. Maybe if we started remembering Who really was in control and Who really was head over each of us and over everyone else, our priorities and attitude about others would change. Maybe we’d start seeing that the problems we’re having with other people might be because we’ve let ourselves become a problem.
What if You were to call us in front of You right now, Lord, like Miriam, Aaron, and Moses? What would Your verdict be over our attitude about others? Because the sad thing is, this is not the way believers are supposed to treat other believers. We’re brothers and sisters, just like Miriam, Aaron, and Moses, but we’re called to exhibit the love that You, Jesus, exhibited and continually exhibit to us. Are we really esteeming the other as more valuable than ourself? Lord, please guard me against pride and especially pride masked as righteousness. It’s a dangerous and ugly thing. Please give me a heart that prefers to let You lead and that is more than content with following and encouraging others.