The definition of meek in Webster’s College Dictionary is: “1. humbly patient or docile, 2. overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame; 3. gentle, kind. Far be it from me to disagree with Webster! But… the Bible said Moses was the meekest man in the world. (“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men who were upon the face of the earth.” Numbers 12:3) Other versions of the Bible use the word, “humble”, “quietly humble”,”patient”.  Other definitions use “devout”, “pious”, “gentle”.

The context of this statement is during an event in Moses’ life when he had been misunderstood and  harshly criticized by his family for marrying and Ethiopian woman. They began to question whether he was the only one who could hear God speak or be God’s leader. Were they just as good as Moses? “Meek” is from a root word meaning, “affliction” (Dake). Certainly at the time Moses was afflicted by the unfair condemnation of Aaron and Miriam – his own family. He seemed to be patient and gentle waiting on God to justify him.

We also know that Moses could be rash and quick to act – like when he killed the Egyptian. I don’t picture him “docile” – ever. He was submissive to God but far from “spiritless” and “tame”. Looking at Moses’ life – he was a leader of leaders, one of the greatest, if not the greatest – he couldn’t have been too tame or docile to lead that many people out of Egypt to the Promised Land for 40 years!  He wasn’t tame or spiritless when he confronted Pharaoh over and over again. We know he struck the rock, probably in impatience and anger.

But God had prepared him to lead His people. God molded him to be the kind of leader God wanted him to be. God honed Moses’ patience. He was not perfect but he depended on God in everything and God communicated with him in amazing ways. He was the one on Mt. Sinai when God wrote the Ten Commandments on the stone tablets. He was the one whom God passed by and let him see God’s back. Yes. A powerful leader.

I’ve heard it said that “meekness is power under control”. I like that definition and I think it fits Moses. He allowed God to tame his spirit through the trials and tribulations of leading the people through the wilderness. Settling arguments – not  getting sidetracked or quitting. Surely in all those years he must have wanted to quit! He listened to God’s voice and obeyed what he heard.

God makes promises for the meek. “The meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.” (Ps. 37:11) Matthew 5:5 says, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” “The meek will he guide in judgment; and the meek will he teach his way.” (Ps. 25:9)

How did Moses go from a rash murder to the meekest man on earth? He spent time with God. He waited on God. He heard God’s voice and obeyed. We can do the same.



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