I love Moses, probably because he reminds me of myself; seeming to always be around when conflicts arise, investigating things that don’t make sense (like a burning bush that wasn’t really burning), reacting negatively instead of acting properly to his emotions, prideful at times, disobedient at times. Moses was a buffer between God and the nation of Israel that he was leading through the desert. They were 2 million people strong, wandering, and they were NOT happy about it. They complained, grumbled, bickered, and made false idols. God made them wander the desert for 40 years on a journey that should have taken 11 days. Honestly, I don’t know if I could do it, lead people that clearly didn’t want to be there….wait, I do that everyday! Moses himself was also punished and could not even enter the promised land, but HE NEVER GAVE UP!
Miriam was Moses’ older sister. Moses was more successful in her eyes than she was and so pride and jealousy leaked into her overprotective, overbearing heart. Miriam’s first job in life was babysitting her brother, Moses, as he floated on the Nile River to his destiny. She was responsible for making sure that their mother got to raise him in secret for the Pharaoh’s daughter. As she watched Moses rise to greatness, I can see WHY she was protective over him when he married an outsider, a foreigner. Moses was the most important man in Israel’s history and poor little left out Miriam was finally at her breaking point.
Numbers 12:1-15 – Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. 2 “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this.
The Lord hears our thoughts so He surely hears our words. Careful, careful!! Even though Miriam and Aaron represented the two most powerful groups next to Moses, they had real issues of jealousy. They couldn’t find fault in him as a leader, so they found fault elsewhere and started questioning God. In comes the smoke screen…the false problem that hides the real problem! OOOooohh…Been there, done that!
3 (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” 4 At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the tent of meeting, all three of you.” So the three of them went out.
Well I would be shaking in my boots. I hate getting in trouble. I do not like being called on the carpet. And they had the LORD directly in front of them calling them all into the counseling room! WOW! Talk about finding humility REAL quick! I was called into the counseling room A LOT at Jacob’s Well Recovery Center. In my own room by myself, just me and God; and in the actual counseling room to get reprimanded for trying to put up my own smoke screen and creating a detour around my real problems. It’s not fun, either scenario, but it’s definitely needed. God places people in my life to be honest, caring, compassionate, and even stern at times. God Himself has even told me more than once that certain things that I am questioning are none of my business!
5 Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward, 6 he said, “Listen to my words: “When there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams. 7 But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. 8 With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”
I don’t know the calling that God has on people, so who am I to criticize them or look down on them? They may very well be speaking to the Lord face to face. I don’t want that on my head.
9 The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them. 10 When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam’s skin was leprous – it became as white as snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had a defiling skin disease, 11 and he said to Moses, “Please, my lord, I ask you not to hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed. 12 Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother’s womb with its flesh half eaten away.” 13 So Moses cried out to the Lord, “Please, God, heal her!”
This is my favorite part! Poor Moses has been pleading to God for the lives of all these rebellious people he is trying to lead for A LONG TIME! God wanted to kill them all more than once, but Moses was always pleading their case. I almost laugh at this because he is probably not thinking that he will have to plead the case of his own brother and sister; his two right hand people on this LONG drawn out journey! I can hear it now…“DANG, Lord! Why did you make her a leper! NOW WHAT?!?! What’s next? Here I go again, on my face, for rebellious people.”
14 The Lord replied to Moses, “If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back.” 15 So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back.
Miriam’s actions affected the WHOLE group of millions of people. MILLIONS. My actions have the same consequences. It’s another thing I do not want on my head. Asking the Father to forgive others is hard. I have enough problems of my own, right? Why should I plead the case for others? I’ll tell you why…Jesus is pleading my case every single day and my goal in life is to be more like Him. He goes to bat for me every single day so that I can enter the gates of heaven not guilty. It’s why Moses did it, and it’s why I will do it. Over and over and over again, I will accept the apology I may never get, and I will plead the forgiveness for those in my life that absolutely deserve it because we are ALL God’s children!!
You can read Numbers 10-18 about the camp, the provisions of God, rebellion, and the first views of the Promised Land (Canaan) at www.biblegateway.com. Join in the discussion by posting comments or questions below and let’s do this together!! #ReadtheBible #bgbg2 #BibleGateway #Numbers
To further your reading, and to dive a bit deeper, consider this from Numbers 14:1-4 (NIV) – That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
Do something afraid that will propel you past the popular opinion of the world and into doing what God has called you to do! Don’t follow the path of practicality, but listen to and obey God. Don’t continue to wander in an aimless and fruitless desert! Recall God’s glorious promise and don’t slip into doubt!
What truth are you refusing to see? How raw are YOU willing to get? How long are you going to stay in the desert listening to bad reports and begging to go back to your oppression? Get real, get honest before the Lord, and allow Him to do a mighty work in transforming your mind!