If you’re reading the Bible along with me you will have been reading Numbers this month.
I don’t mean to sound blasphemous, but I usually don’t adore Numbers. I haven’t liked them in math, and I haven’t enjoyed them in scripture.
But, yesterday three things jumped out at me so profoundly that I have to share them here.
The first is this: “Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of The Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused.” (Numbers 11:1) When I read this, I shut my eyes in shame. Complaining, thy name is the teacher’s lounge. Complaining, thy name is my frustration with government, with traffic, with thousands of petty annoyances throughout the day.
Then, I find this verse in the next chapter: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3) I shut my eyes and thought of my pridefulness. Am I content with being a teacher? No, I have to have a Masters, I have to have National Board Certification, I have to display my honors and recognition on the wall by my desk. I pray my son does well in the Marines, and then I find myself thrilling to his words that his company ranked the highest in the latest drills. There’s a fine line between achieving excellence, which I believe we are called to do, and between having a false sense of pride over our accomplishments.
C.S. Lewis said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less often.”
Then we come to the blessing, the famous benediction given to Moses to bless the people:
“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward
and give you peace.”
(Numbers 6: 24-26)