Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this. – Num. 12:1-2 NIV
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Moses was born during a period when Pharaoh had just issued a decree to the midwives, that all male children born to the Israelites in Egypt be killed at birth. Whereas both parents, Amram and Jochebed, took the decision to put the baby in a basket and put him among the reeds along the banks of River Nile, when they could no longer hide him, Miriam it was that had the duty to watch over him and was the one that eventually arranged for the mother to nurse the baby on behalf of the daughter of Pharaoh, at a price – Ex. 2:1-10. Aaron meanwhile was the brother of Moses that the Almighty God appointed to be the mouthpiece for him during the divine project to deliver the Israelites from the hands of Pharaoh – Ex. 4:14-17, 7:1-2. Unlike the relationship between Moses and Aaron which was clarified in the Bible as being siblings of the same father (Ex. 6:20), Miriam being a woman was not clarified but can be safely assumed to be a blood sister going by what was revealed in the Bible. Amram may have had other wives but with regards to Jochebed, he had three identified children named Aaron, Moses and Miriam with Moses obviously being the youngest of the three. It would therefore not be out of place if anyone concluded that the three should really get on well and count their family lucky to be arrowheads of this great project of deliverance for the Israelites in Egypt.
The reality was however different as the first major attack on the credibility of Moses to lead this project came from this very close family members. In the scripture for today’s devotion, the inner thoughts and secret conversation of both siblings were revealed and it was nothing near being positive. The Bible says they both started attacking the personality of Moses raising the following points;
- They accused him of marrying a non-israelite woman from Cush.
- They claimed equality with him in that they had also received direct messages from God just as he claims to do.
As far as they both were concerned, both reasons were sufficient to at least make him see them as equals if not better positioned to lead the project. These were comments made not to the hearing of Moses, which really was not important, after all what could Moses have done even if he heard. However, the one that should hear and could do something about it heard and chose to act on their thoughts.
He immediately summoned the three of them before the tent of meeting where he called out both Aaron and Miriam and highlighted to them the difference between them and Moses. Although he talks to both of them in dreams and visions, he talks to Moses face to face and not in riddles. More so, he has found him to be a very faithful servant so he wondered why they were not afraid to accommodate such thoughts about him. His anger left Miriam leprous which made Aaron plead with Moses to intercede on her behalf, but not after accepting and addressing Moses as Lord – Ex. 12:10-12. The intervention of the same Moses eventually led to her being healed, but not after she had suffered God imposed humiliation for a period of time – Num. 12:14-15.
There is no doubt that the wise Christian today will pick one or two lessons that will help to avoid the humiliation that such conduct can bring some of which are listed below:
- Aaron and Miriam found out that truly, they are both older than Moses, but positions in those divine situations has nothing to do with age. God is not a respecter of age else he would not have replaced Eli with Samuel (1Sam. 3:1-21) and permitted the Apostle Paul to leave young Timothy in Ephesus as the Pastor and Teacher in charge. Anticipating that there may be age-conscious members like Miriam and Aaron, Apostle Paul advised Timothy to ensure that he is not intimidated because of his age – 1Tim. 4:12.
- Gifts may seem the same but there is always a difference that separates one from the other. They all in this case were truly hearing from the Lord but God had given Moses an edge, in the manner of His (God) communication with him which made him different from them, an edge they could not see because of their pride and assumed superiority over Moses. God gives his gift to people in measures and it will hardly occur that there will be two people with similar gifts in the same measure. Again that was why the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans advised all not to rate themselves more than they ought to – Rom. 12:3-8.
- Indeed Moses married a non-israelite but the decision as to whether it was sufficient to disqualify him from the god-appointed position was better left to the judgement of God and not that of men. That same God saw him in that marriage in Midian before commissioning him for that project and in that role. That again was probably why the Apostle Paul advised that everyone should remain in the position he/she was before being called – 1Cor. 7:17-24. It did not only apply to the position before the Call but even to the events during the Call as the Lord made clear to David that he did not have to kill to have another wife since if he had asked him, he would have granted his request – 2Sam. 12:7-10. It was not about the marriage to a non-israelite but marrying any woman who is classified as strange, because such a woman is well positioned to lure the man into idolatry just as Solomon’s wives did- 1Kgs. 11:2. Ziporah definitely cannot be classified as a strange woman as she was well versed in Jewish laws and indeed practiced it – Ex. 4:24-26.
- What was and still remains important to the Almighty God is faithfulness to Him and the possession of a right attitude to life – Matt. 22:36-40. The Bible says Moses was more humble that anyone living on earth (Num. 12:3) just as the Almighty God testified that he was very faithful to Him – Num. 12:7.
Many Christians there are today who are experiencing humiliation that can be traced back to God because of errors similar to that of Miriam and Aaron. It should be clear to such by now that the Almighty God is more interested in how well rather than how long and even in judgement, it is obvious that God can still differentiate as Miriam was humiliated with leprosy but there was no obvious punishment, at least at that moment, that was meted out to Aaron. This is despite the fact that they seem to have committed the same offence. Only the Almighty God knows why he does things the way he does them and no one, absolutely no one can question his decisions. Operate within His Grace for your life and you will avoid Him humiliating you.
If however you are already facing humiliation resulting from such acts of ignorance on your part, then you are lucky as you may not have to seek for Moses to remove your humiliation. Just go back to God through Jesus Christ confessing those sins supposedly done in secret and genuinely pleading for forgiveness. He will definitely forgive you if you are truly remorseful and will remove all those humiliating circumstances. May God grant us all, the knowledge to avoid His humiliation in Jesus name. Amen.