Daily D – Numbers 16:4
When Moses heard this, he fell facedown.
NUMBERS 16:4 (CSB)
Kouzes and Posner wrote The Leadership Challenge. This is one of the best books on leadership written in the last generation. Among the excellent insights within these pages is the truth the title points toward: Leaders challenge the process.
When a new leader steps into a company or an organization, he or she looks at it with fresh eyes. Those fresh eyes see things that could be done better, more efficiently, more effectively. This is good, natural, and beneficial when done with the right attitude and approach.
Pirates, on the other hand, do not want to join the leadership team on a journey toward a mutually agreed upon destination. They want to take over the ship, use everything for their own desires, and leave everyone else dead or enslaved.
In Numbers 16 and 17, we see Moses and Aaron repeatedly challenged. It has only been a few chapters since Aaron and Miriam, Moses’ older siblings, rebelled against Moses. They thought they should hold more significant leadership positions. Go back to chapter 12 to see how that worked out.
It is in this context that we read, “Moses was a very humble man, more so than anyone on the face of the earth,” (12:3). If you are going to attack a leader, it is probably not the best course of action to attack the Most Humble Man Who Ever Lived.
Why was Moses so humble? The simple answer is that the closer you draw to God, the more time you spend in his presence, the more your own sinfulness becomes apparent to you. This is true because our Father in heaven is the definition of pure, the demonstration of holiness. There is no fault in him at all. His perfect love drives away all impurity we bring into his presence. (See Isaiah 6:1-8.)
Jim Collins in his book Good to Great talks about Level 5 leaders. These are the most effective CEOs and top-level leaders his team has examined. The defining characteristic of those leaders is humility. Wherever and whoever you lead, whether it is the person you see when you look in the mirror, a classroom, a courtroom, or a company, know that the more humble your heart, the more effective you will become.
How did Moses demonstrate humility in this chapter? Three times we read that he fell facedown (verses 4, 22, 45).
A question: When you are challenged, is this your first action?
When Moses fell facedown, what did he do? He prayed. He sought God’s wisdom for his next words and actions. He did not speak to others before he spoke to God. He did what God wanted to be done, not what he wanted to do. That is humility.
Moses interceded for those who were attempting to seize control. Look at verse 22: “God, God who gives breath to all, when one man sins, will you vent your wrath on the whole community?”
Leaders challenge the process. Pirates challenge leaders. Only one of these is noble and God-honoring.
If you want to find out what God thinks about pirates, read verses 25-40. Those men who declared, “I am the captain now,” ended up in an early grave. Do not allow pride to bury your leadership opportunities.
I will lead myself and others with humility.
Our Father, the closer I draw to you, the more sinful I see that I am. Please cleanse me, wash me, renew me, make me clean and pure. I want to lead myself and others with level five humility. Amen.
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6 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:
7 “Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
8 “Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
9 Do you have an arm like God’s,
and can your voice thunder like his?
10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,
look at all who are proud and bring them low,
12 look at all who are proud and humble them,
crush the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them all in the dust together;
shroud their faces in the grave.
14 Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Job 40:6–14.
Job 29:21-25 21 “People listened to me expectantly,
waiting in silence for my counsel.
22 After I had spoken, they spoke no more;
my words fell gently on their ears.
23 They waited for me as for showers
and drank in my words as the spring rain.
24 When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
the light of my face was precious to them.
25 I chose the way for them and sat as their chief;
I dwelt as a king among his troops;
I was like one who comforts mourners.