"Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth." Numbers 12:3
During Moses’ leadership, he experienced opposition and hostility among the children of Israel. Countless times he pled for mercy and forgiveness for the sins of the Israelites and he endured much rebellion and slander as well. In Exodus we read of Aaron’s contribution to the Israelites’ idolatry as he formed the golden calf. Now as we read Numbers 12, we see that Moses’ older sister and brother, Miriam and Aaron, are contributing to rebellion against Moses.
The initial hostility began as Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of his Cushite wife. Miriam and Aaron were in leadership with Moses. Miriam was a prophetess who led the women of Israel and Aaron was a Levitical priest. Although they both were in leadership with their younger brother Moses, they went on to question Moses as a prophet in comparison to their leadership roles. The Lord heard their complaints and called for Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to meet at the tent of meeting. The Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and reaffirmed Moses as His choice to speak with personally, not as He had spoken in dreams as He did with other prophets, but “face to face” or “mouth to mouth.” The Lord then asked of their lack of reverence and respect for speaking against His servant Moses. As the Lord departed by lifting the pillar of cloud, it was revealed that Miriam was now leprous. After Aaron saw Miriam, he immediately began to repent and plead to Moses for forgiveness on behalf of himself and his sister Miriam. Miriam was to remain outside of the camp for seven days and her sinful actions caused a delay in the Israelites moving on from Hazeroth and into the wilderness of Paran.
As we read this passage, we are shown the judgment of God on leaders that spoke against His choice of leadership, as well as against His humble servant Moses. We are also shown Miriam’s and Aaron’s abasement as they are brought low and humbled by their actions against God and Moses. Additionally, we have yet another glimpse of Moses’ humility as he cried out to the Lord for Miriam’s healing.
Miriam and Aaron are examples of how we should continue to examine of our thoughts, attitudes, and actions towards God and others. Also, if you are facing opposition, slander, and rebellion while you are obeying the Lord and leading others, reflect upon God’s defense and protection towards Moses. God desired that His decision to choose Moses be revered, as well as His servant Moses to be respected. Consider the actions of Moses and how his humility governed his actions. No doubt Moses was affected by his brother and sister’s divisiveness and words of rebellion. Yet, after Aaron repented, Moses pled for mercy on behalf of his siblings who spoke against him with the intention to undermine him and cause an insurrection not only against his leadership, but ultimately God’s leadership. Moses knew of the power, protection, justice, holiness, and judgment of God so he pled for mercy. In the same manner, begin to humbly plead for mercy for the repentant. God is your great Defender. There is no need for you to seek retaliation or vengeance. God will defend and protect the humble, abase the proud, and forgive the repentant while His chosen people carry out His work for His kingdom.
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,