The Power of Humility
Parsha Shelach - Bemidbar/Numbers 13:1 - 15:41
“...we are certainly able to overcome it” (Bem/Num. 13:30).
After a series of trials this week, this verse in the Parsha really struck a chord. This is what Kaleb said upon returning from spying out Eretz Yisrael.
Ten spies came back with an evil report leading the people to believe they couldn’t conquer the land. Only Yehoshua (Joshua) and Kaleb believed that they could take possession of the land.
Kaleb said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are certainly able to overcome it” (Bem/Num. 13:30).
Together, he and Yehoshua said, “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If יהוה has delighted in us, then He shall bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which is flowing with milk and honey.’ Only, do not rebel against יהוה, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread. Their defence has turned away from them, and יהוה is with us. Do not fear them.” (Bem/Num. 14:7-9)
Compare that with what the other ten said, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land eating up its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. And we saw there the Nephilim, sons of Anaq, of the Nephilim. And we were like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and so we were in their eyes.” (Bem/Num. 13:32-33)
Most people look at that last verse as a lesson for believing in oneself, to have self-confidence and a healthy self-esteem. True: we are made in the image and likeness of Elohim, and therefore, we must always see ourselves positively.
However, Kaleb and Yehoshua’s positivity and optimism had nothing to do with self-confidence. For their sense of “self” had been nullified.
They were able to accomplish great successes in battle and become powerful leaders in Yisrael not because they believed in themselves, but because they believed in the One Who was with them!
Kaleb expressed their confidence, and then later, he and Yehoshua together explained why they had that confidence: If YAHUAH delighted in them, then He would bring them into the land and give it to them. They knew wholeheartedly that YAHUAH was with them (Bem. 14:8,9).
They weren’t looking to themselves and their own capabilities to conquer the land. They were looking to the One Who was with them to conquer the land!
The other ten spies were too busy looking at themselves. They thought, “We’re small and weak, and they think we’re small and weak too.”
They were consumed by their own self-image, and that was their downfall.
Yehoshua and Kaleb, on the other hand, were humble. It wasn’t about them. It was about YAHUAH and doing His will.
The issue at hand wasn't high or low self-esteem. The issue was about involving "self" at all. Yehoshua and Kaleb took their "self" out of the picture to allow YAH to work. That's what real humility is.
Self-esteem may be good, but humility is far greater!
A Leader's Strength
Last week, we read that Moshe was the most humble man on earth (Bem. 12:3).
Moshe - the great leader who challenged Pharaoh and led an entire nation of millions of people out of slavery and through a 40-year trek in the wilderness;
Moshe - who spoke face to face with Elohim, wrote the entire Torah, and was the greatest teacher and prophet of the Scriptures.
This man of such stature and importance was the most humble person on the face of the earth!
Yehoshua was his student who never left his tent and who patiently waited at the foot of the mountain for each of Moshe’s 40-day sojourns on Sinai. Moshe put his spirit within him. Surely, Yehoshua learned to be humble like Moshe.
Kaleb was Yehoshua’s right-hand man. No doubt, he learned about humility, too.
Their humility was their strength.
The Power of Humility
The power of humility comes from going beyond self-esteem and self-confidence.
Self-esteem comes from acknowledging the good in oneself.
Humility recognizes that the good in oneself exists only because YAHUAH placed it within him. Everything good about me is present only because YAHUAH gave it to me.
Self-confidence is the belief that one is able to accomplish something.
Humility is the belief that I can do nothing unless YAHUAH helps me.
On the flip side:
If YAHUAH is with me, I can do anything!
That was the secret to Moshe, Yehoshua, and Kaleb's success. They knew they could do anything because YAHUAH was with them! YAHUAH consistently rewarded their belief with siyata d’shamaya - help from Heaven.
Self-esteem and self-confidence will take us only as far as our limited intellect and abilities will take us. Humility, however, will take us as far as YAHUAH will take us...and He is limitless!
The Cure for "Low Self-Esteem"
Sure, self-esteem and self-confidence are great. But maybe that’s just what our society tells us.
Does the Torah ever really say “believe in yourself”? Or is that just how our mindset interprets the verses?
All I ever read in the Scriptures is “believe in YAHUAH.” Not to mention the many verses teaching us about being humble - not self-confident.
(If anyone can find a verse saying “believe in yourself”, I stand humbly corrected.)
Many people suffer from what we call "low self-esteem" and a "lack of self-confidence." Maybe instead of focusing on improving these areas, maybe what we really need to work on is humility.
Anyone who has ever dealt with these issues knows that the mind is constantly consumed with "self" - always wondering what people think of me and constantly thinking poorly about myself. I'm a grasshopper in my own eyes and in the eyes of others.
Low self-esteem is being overly consumed with "self." Therefore, the cure is to get rid of the over-active concern (obsession) with self. The cure is humility.
It’s not about us. It’s about YAHUAH who made us and who is with us.
"I am good because YAHUAH placed good within me and inside every single person on this planet. I can do anything because YAHUAH will help me."
True humility is not about being a doormat. True humility is about esteeming others and esteeming YAHUAH.
True humility places "self" out of the way so YAHUAH can use us, so He can give us the strength, the ability, and the wisdom we need to accomplish His will.
True humility is not relying on self but relying on YAH.
True humility is truly powerful.
“...YAHUAH is with us.”
“...we are certainly able to overcome it.”