Daily D – Numbers 16:1-4
Numbers 16:1-4 Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD’s assembly?” When Moses heard this, he fell facedown.
(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) (Numbers 12:3)
Parenthetically, what do people say about you? What would their tagline about you say?
(She is the Bossypants Award Winner for 2022.)
(He is a legend in his own mind.)
(Yes, I would like fries with that.)
Numbers 12:3 is no random observation. This is a title well-earned. This is a title applied by others, not a role Moses applied for himself. How does a person become humbler and kinder? What was Moses’ secret?
There is no secret. There is, however, an observable truth. Moses spent a great deal of time in God’s presence. The more time we spend with God, the less impressed with ourselves we become. We see our faults and failures and mixed motives much more clearly in the light of his glory and grace. Moses spent so much time in God’s presence, he glowed. (See Exodus 34:29-35.) How many people do you know who glow with God’s radiance?
If you read Exodus and Numbers and pay attention, you see Moses go to his knees or lie down facedown again and again. When you have problems pop up during your day, do you speak first, or do you pray? Do you bow up with pride and power, or do you humble yourself before God and seek his wisdom and way?
In the movie True Grit, Mattie Ross and the Texas Ranger Labeouf discuss their denominational affiliations. Mattie is Cumberland Presbyterian. Labeouf is an Episcopalian. Maddie replied to this revelation with a curt, “I figured you for some kind of kneeler.”
What kind of kneeler are you?
There have been many times in my life when I have been driven to my knees in urgent prayer. There have been a handful of times when I have been driven facedown in emergency prayer. We see Moses fall facedown twice in this chapter (verses 4 and 22).
What was Moses doing as he lay facedown? He was praying. He sought God’s wisdom. He surrendered his will to God’s will. He presented God with the facts and let him sort out who was right, who was wrong, and what should happen next. In verse 22, Aaron joins Moses in this most humble posture of prayer. Together they sought God’s mercy and forgiveness for the entire assembly of people when only a few rebels were the problem.
A well-known leader was talking about prayer. He is a bit of a neat freak. His clothes are always pressed and fashionable. He said he has a hard time kneeling in prayer. He talked about lying facedown in prayer. He said all he could think about was when was the last time the carpet was vacuumed. He settled on sitting in his favorite chair and writing out his prayers of confession and repentance, intercession and adoration.
This is a good habit. This is a good prayer pattern. However, there will come times in our lives when sitting in a comfortable chair is not an option. We will not care about wrinkling our pants or when the carpet was last cleaned. We will seek God with passion and purpose. We will discover new depths of relationship with God than any we have heretofore known.
How can avoid the Bossypants title? How can we flee from the temptation of becoming a legend in our own minds? We can see God for who he is. We can see ourselves for who we are. We can confess our sins and we can seek God’s highest and best for the difficulties and darkness driving us to our knees or laying us facedown. We can surrender all of our hopes, dreams, fears, and failures to our Sovereign God and Loving Father in heaven.
Join Labeouf on your knees. Join Moses and Aaron on your face before God. In moments of utter abandonment of self-seeking behavior and absolute dependence on God, God does what only God can do.
I will kneel and I will lie facedown in prayer as I completely yield all outcomes to God who loves my loved ones more than I do, who cares more about my problems than I can imagine, and who wants the best possible outcomes for all concerned.
Our Father, you see more clearly than do I. You know more fully than I. Your purpose is greater than my best desires. What do you say about this situation? How should I respond? What should I say? How can I stay out of your way as you do what is right, just, fair, and loving for all concerned? Amen.
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Psalm 32:7-9 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
Exodus 39:42, 43 So the people of Israel followed all of the Lord’s instructions to Moses. Then Moses inspected all their work. When he found it had been done just as the Lord had commanded him, he blessed them.
Exodus 33:13 “If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.”
Exodus 31:1-5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!”