It’s time to relearn the lesson of humility and faithfulness. Our self-centredness often eclipses our utility in the kingdom of God. In contrast, humility and faithfulness multiply our eligibility for service. Moses, Miriam, and Aaron paint this picture for us today…
1 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.
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. 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.
But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.
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?”
9 The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them.
Isn’t it interesting how Miriam and Aaron’s criticism of Moses started with a racist slur? It seems that the descendents of Cush were Ethiopians. Whether this includes Zipporah (who was from Midian) or if this is another wife of Moses, I am not sure. What I am sure about, is that these two were filled with some bitterness that Satan tripped up through racial differences.
Watch for this. Whatever wrong stereotypes or prejudices we have lingering in our cultures are fodder for temptation to create division among us. Racism is far from over in our world, and the devil continues to use it. From tripping over this snare, Miriam and Aaron easily made the transition to criticizing Moses’ leadership.
Is Moses the only one through whom God speaks? Hasn’t God spoken through us too? Aren’t we as great as Moses?
Recently, I read about the disciples of Christ arguing about who would be the greatest among them. Their desire to be great was greater than their desire to be used of God. Doesn’t this look like the same issue with Miriam and Aaron? Our self-centredness often eclipses our utility in the kingdom of God.
Guess what? God sees and he knows. Our self-idolizing behaviour is not beyond the gaze of God. Verse 2 says, “And the Lord heard this.”
He heard it. And Miriam and Aaron are in for it now, because their heads are firmly implanted up their own bums. And that’s a large contrast to the heart of Moses.
Moses, the story tells us, was a humble man. In fact, Moses was more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. That’s probably why God was able to use him in such an amazing way with the people of Israel. Humility multiplies our eligibility for service in the kingdom of God.
What did that humility look like in terms of Moses’ relationship with God? Well, it meant that Moses was unlike other prophets among the people. The typical (if prophets can be referred to as typical) prophet relationship was one of revelation in visions and dreams. The prophet passed on what God revealed in the dreams and visions.
Moses was different. Moses was faithful, not only in the revelation department, but in all the house of God (vs. 7). Moses’ humility and faithfulness meant to God that he could speak to Moses face to face. Moses saw the form of the Lord, which is more than any human had done in his time. Moses was different, and it grew out of his humility and faithfulness.
Given this description of Moses, we shouldn’t be surprised that his anger would burn against Miriam and Aaron, and that he would ask, “Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” Indeed. Why?
Because they were jealous and self-centred.
Note to those whom God uses: Be like Moses. Be humble and faithful.
Note to those who are tempted to be jealous: Be like Moses. Be humble and faithful.
If we all stick to this plan, God will multiply our eligibility for service in the kingdom.