There is always someone foolish enough to think he or she should be the prophet, instead of the prophet. How would the Lord answer?
Usually, with no answer at all. He makes no apologies for his choice of servants.
But on one occasion in the days of Moses, an answer was given: Yes, there may be others with whom God can communicate indirectly, by roundabout means such as dreams. "But my servant Moses is not so," came the heavenly declaration. "With him will I speak mouth to mouth, … and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold."
Moses was not an ordinary man of faith. He was not even an ordinary prophet.
Moses was so reliable in every task that he and the Lord simply became friends.
"And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend."
He was not merely "a" man of God. Moses was "the" man of God.
A key to this greatness was a trait that has never been very popular in the world, and one that has been somewhat elusive even to believers: "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth."
"Meek" sounds just similar enough to the word "weak" that we might think them similar in meaning. But meek comes from a root that means not crumbly but pliant, not passive but cooperative, not breakable but flexible, not absent but obedient, not fearful but loyal.
So when it comes to meekness, the question is, pliant in whose hands? To be pliant in one set of hands may require being unavailable and inflexible in other hands.
Moses was obedient, yes. But not to just anyone. Obedience to one master's request means disobedience to contrary masters — being stubborn, uncooperative and unavailable to contrary requests.
More than any other living man, Moses was compliant in his friendship with God. This made him tough, immovable and independent in reacting to God's enemies. Sometimes, he even frightened them.
Those who have meekness like that of Moses are reliable. They don't cave in. They can be given responsibility. The souls of God's children are safe in their care. Heavenly resources can be vested in them without worry. They will not misuse divine authority.
In eternity, when our fallen planet has progressed to its blazing celestial destiny, "the meek shall inherit the earth." There, they will be the sole heirs of all that the Father hath. Who else could be trusted? In those realms, God will watch them with pleasure as they exercise his infinite power, but he will not need to keep an eye on them.
During his first 40 years, Moses was pressured by falsehoods, eerie powers and charismatic priests in the royal courts of his upbringing. Yet, he never bought in. He was loyal to the few pure truths that whispered in his soul. He waited and waited, until a true messenger (Jethro) taught him.
Moses was so instinctively meek before moral duty that, in defense of a lowly and unnamed Hebrew slave, he readily fought (and defeated to the death) one of Pharaoh's strong men.
Later, Moses was so meek before God that he took the time to sit one on one with God's offspring while presiding over thousands of them in the wilderness. He listened and gave direction, as his Master did with him — "as a man speaketh unto his friend." Moses reminds us of that strong Master, who said, "Learn of me, for I am meek. …"
(References: Numbers 12:1-9; Exodus 33:11; D&C 84:6-7; Matthew 5:5; Exodus 18:1-27; Matthew 11:29)
Wayne E. Brickey, who lives in Gallatin, Mo., is a retired Church Educational System teacher and curriculum writer and has been a tour guide to Holy Land and Mormon history sites.