Today’s Reading: Numbers 12-17
Do I want to be a “Miriam” or a “Moses”?
Have you ever been “called out” for your behavior or actions or attitude? In this next passage of scripture, that is what happened to Miriam – literally. Moses was a very humble man but Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses, concerned that he was getting all the credit. “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?…Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” (Numbers 12:2) God heard them and called them out of the Tabernacle where they received a good old-fashioned lecture from God.
At the moment Miriam heard God say, “Come out to the Tent of Meeting, all three of you”, she had to know she was in trouble. God’s response:
Listen carefully to what I’m telling you. If there is a prophet of God among you, I make myself known to him in visions; I speak to him in dreams. But I don’t do it that way with my servant Moses; he has the run of my entire house; I speak to him intimately, in person, in plain talk without riddles: He ponders the very form of God. So why did you show no reverence or respect in speaking against my servant, against Moses? – Numbers 12:6-8 (The Message)
Jealousy and pride crept into Miriam’s heart and she began thinking more of herself than she thought of God. Not only did she get called out by God, she was placed in a “time out” of sorts. Miriam was struck with leprosy and made to spend seven days outside the camp by herself – seven days covered with skin as white as snow, time segregated from her family and friends. She had plenty of time to find the humility she was lacking.
Miriam also had time to consider how her actions were impacting others. While Miriam was in her “time out”, the people did not move (12:15). No progress was made while the Israelites waited for Miriam to learn her lesson. Her bad attitude and jealousy had literally stopped the movement of God’s people. No, I definitely do not want to be a Miriam. I definitely do not want to stand in the way of where God is taking His people, His Church. I would much rather be a “Moses” than a “Miriam”.
God made it clear that Moses had “run of the entire house” or as it says in the NLT, “Of all my house, he is the one I trust” (12:7b). The writer of Hebrews also spoke of the faithfulness of Moses and how he was entrusted with God’s entire house (God’s people) because he was a faithful servant. In the same way, Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house for he was faithful to God who appointed him (Hebrews 3:1-6).
And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ (Hebrews 3:6b).
So do I want to be a “Miriam” or a “Moses”? Do I want to worry about receiving glory and credit, fame or attention? Or do I want to humble myself before God – only concerned that God receives glory? Like Moses, I want to know God intimately and humbly enter His presence. I want to be called by God, not called out by God.
Do I want to be a “Korah” or an “Aaron”?
Another man thought more of himself than he should. Korah from the tribe of Levi, along with three others from the tribe of Reuben, incited a rebellion out of jealousy – jealous of Moses’ leadership and jealous of Aaron’s elite position as priest.
They united against Moses and Aaron and said, “You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the Lord, and he is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the Lord’s people?” – Numbers 16:3
As a Levite, Korah had been given a special ministry but it was Aaron and his sons who were made priests. Korah became discontent with what God had blessed him with and coveted the priesthood. For his selfishness and pride, Korah and his followers received the wrath of God. For the first time ever, the earth opened up and swallowed the tents of these rebellious men, taking all of their families down into the grave alive. The other 250 men who had entered into the rebellion were burned up with a fire from the Lord (Numbers 16:31-35).
The Lord gave Moses instructions to gather a staff from each leader of Israel’s 12 tribes, with the leader’s name inscribed on the staff. The 12 staffs were placed in the Tabernacle in front of the Ark and God said sprouts would grow on the staff of the man chosen by God. When Moses went back in the Tabernacle the next day, Aaron’s staff had not only sprouted, it had budded, blossomed, and was producing ripe almonds (Numbers 17:1-8).
When God calls us into leadership, He takes the staff we have been given to lead with and He makes something grow. When we remain humble, recognizing the source of the growth, God can take our leadership beyond our wildest imagination. He can take our calling and make it sprout, blossom and produce fruit.
So do I want to be a “Korah” or an “Aaron”? I pray that I humbly accept the leadership of others whom God has called. When it is my turn, when God calls me out to do something significant for Him, I pray my humble spirit and faith in Him allows God to take my life and make something sprout, blossom and produce fruit – for His glory! Amen.