Meekness in Leadership

Exodus 3:10-12, "Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. 11And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 12And he said, Certainly, I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain."

God gives Moses a commission to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. God had heard the cry of the children of Israel, and now He was calling Moses from a burning bush on Mt. Horeb (which is another name for Mt. Sinai) to become the leader of this great nation of people.


The humility and meekness of Moses is a character trait important for one who is going to lead. Moses asked, "Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?"  This is indicative of his humility and meekness.  When God calls someone to serve Him humility and meekness need to be expressed in our character and our leadership.  It is said of Moses in Numbers 12:3, "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth."  God speaks of the value of meekness in relationships, rather than an outward emphasis Scripture says, "But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."

Samuel A. Meier writes concerning meekness in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, "Late twentieth-century Western culture does not hold meekness to be a virtue, in contrast to the ancient Near East and the Greco-Roman world, which placed a high premium on it,  ...ancient Near Eastern kings were not reluctant to describe themselves as meek in the same context in which they described themselves as mighty kings (Babylonian asru and sanaqu; Aramaic nh). What has prompted the discrepancy between the biblical and contemporary attitudes toward this virtue?

There are two essential components for this quality to come into play in the Bible: a conflict in which an individual is unable to control or influence circumstances. Typical human responses in such circumstances include frustration, bitterness, or anger, but the one who is guided by God's spirit accepts God's ability to direct events ( Gal 5:23 ; Eph 4:2 ; Col 3:12 ; 1 Tim 6:11 ; Titus 3:2 ; James 1:21 ; 3:13 ). Meekness is therefore an active and deliberate acceptance of undesirable circumstances that are wisely seen by the individual as only part of a larger picture. Meekness is not a resignation to fate, a passive and reluctant submission to events, for there is little virtue in such a response. Nevertheless, since the two responses resignation and meekness are externally often indistinguishable, it is easy to see how what was once perceived as a virtue has become a defect in contemporary society. The patient and hopeful endurance of undesirable circumstances identifies the person as externally vulnerable and weak but inwardly resilient and strong. Meekness does not identify the weak but more precisely the strong who have been placed in a position of weakness where they persevere without giving up. The use of the Greek word when applied to animals makes this clear, for it means "tame" when applied to wild animals. In other words, such animals have not lost their strength but have learned to control the destructive instincts that prevent them from living in harmony with others.

Therefore, it is quite appropriate for all people, from the poor to ancient Near Eastern kings, to describe their submission to God by the term "meek" (Moses in Num 12:3 ). On the other hand, this quality by definition cannot be predicated of God, and therefore constitutes one of the attributes of creatures that they do not share with their Creator. Nevertheless, in the incarnation Jesus is freely described as meek, a concomitant of his submission to suffering and to the will of the Father ( Matt 11:29 ; 21:5 ; 2 Cor 10:1 ). The single most frequently attested context in which the meek are mentioned in the Bible is one in which they are vindicated and rewarded for their patient endurance ( Psalm 22: 26; 25:9; 37:11; 76:9; 147:6;149:4; Isa 11:4 ; 29:19 ; 61:1 ; Zeph 2:3 ; Matt 5:5 )."

God promised this meek and humble leader that he would be with him to carry out his assignment, "Certainly I will be with thee..." (vs. 12).  God's ever present power and direction are essential if we are going to accomplish the tasks which He assigns us with a meek and humble spirit.

Your Friend and HIS,

Pastor Abbott


1.  How do you view meekness?

2.  Why is it imperative that leaders possess the characteristics of humility and meekness?

3.  Why is it so difficult to exercise meekness when things don't go your way?

4.  How might you develop humility and meekness in your life?

Have a great day!

Brownsburg BaptistComment