God, search my heart and show me anything that needs changing.
Read Numbers 12:1–16
Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses
12 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.
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?”
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!”
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.
16 After that, the people left Hazeroth and encamped in the Desert of Paran.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhen you feel wronged, how do you respond?
The closer someone is to you, the more they can hurt you. And envy is particularly destructive.
Miriam and Aaron appear to have an issue with Moses’ wife (1), but that turns out to be a smokescreen. Their real complaint is that Moses is acting superior to them (2). And perhaps especially after the events of Numbers 11, they think he should just be the first amongst 70 equals.
At other times when people grumble or complain, Moses prays for them. This time, the accusation is against him. And because he is humble (3), he doesn’t defend himself. But God does. And in verses 6 to 8 he is crystal clear that Moses is not like any other prophet. And God vindicates Moses by judging Miriam (10). Aaron is powerless to heal her. And once again, only Moses can mediate for her (13).
But even Moses is only a pale picture of a better mediator to come. Jesus was a prophet like Moses (Acts 7:37), who was humble, didn’t defend himself when accused, and was vindicated by his Father. But Jesus didn’t just see God’s form (8), he is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). He didn’t just hear God’s word (8), he is God’s Word (John 1:1–4). He wasn’t just a servant in God’s house (7) but the Son in God’s house (Heb. 3:6).
How will seeing who Jesus truly is help you rest secure in him, whatever you face today? Find some passages that describe Jesus’ character and mark them down.
Lord, I want to know You.