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Moses—A Man of Humility

Moses—A Man of Humility


Humility involves freedom from arrogance or pride. A humble person does not view others as inferior to himself. Any imperfect human who is humble should also be modest, that is, aware of his limitations.


Moses did not let authority go to his head. Often, when a man receives a little authority, his humility—or lack thereof—quickly becomes evident. Nineteenth-century author Robert G. Ingersoll put it this way: “Most people can bear adversity. But if you wish to know what a man really is, give him power.” In that sense, Moses set a sterling example of humility. How so?

Moses received great authority, for Jehovah commissioned him to lead Israel. Yet, that power never made Moses proud. Consider, for example, the modest way he handled a difficult question about inheritance rights. (Numbers 27:1-11) The question was a weighty one, as the decision would set a legal precedent for generations to come.

How would Moses respond? Would he reason that as leader of Israel, he was qualified to make a decision in the matter? Would he lean on his natural ability, his years of experience, or his intimate knowledge of Jehovah’s thinking?

Perhaps a proud man would have done so. But not Moses. The Bible record tells us: “Moses presented [the] case before Jehovah.” (Numbers 27:5) Just think! Even after some 40 years of leading the nation of Israel, Moses relied, not on himself, but on Jehovah. Here we see Moses’ humility at its best.

Moses did not jealously guard his authority. He rejoiced when Jehovah allowed other Israelites to act as prophets alongside him. (Numbers 11:24-29) When his father-in-law suggested that he delegate some of his workload, Moses humbly applied the suggestion. (Exodus 18:13-24) And toward the end of his life, although still physically strong, Moses asked Jehovah to appoint a successor for him. When Jehovah selected Joshua, Moses wholeheartedly supported the younger man, urging the people to follow Joshua’s lead into the Promised Land. (Numbers 27:15-18; Deuteronomy 31:3-6; 34:7) To be sure, Moses counted it a privilege to lead the Israelites in worship. But he did not put his authority ahead of the welfare of others.


We never want to let power, authority, or natural ability go to our head. Remember: In order to be useful to Jehovah, our humility should always exceed our ability. (1 Samuel 15:17) When we are truly humble, we will strive to apply the Bible’s wise advice: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding.”Proverbs 3:5, 6.

Moses’ example also teaches us not to place too much importance on our status or authority.

Do we benefit from imitating Moses’ example of humility? Without question! When we cultivate genuine humility, we make life easier for the people around us, endearing ourselves to them. More important, we endear ourselves to Jehovah God, who himself displays this beautiful quality. (Psalm 18:35) “God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones.” (1 Peter 5:5) What a compelling reason to imitate the humility of Moses!