Read Numbers 12 -- 13
In Today's Reading:
Miriam and Aaron speak against Moses; Miriam stricken with leprosy; Moses prays; 12 spies sent to Canaan; their report
Miriam was the sister of Moses and of Aaron the high priest. She was honored above all the women of Israel, had a prophetic anointing, and was gifted in music and singing (Exodus 15:20; Micah 6:4).
Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian (Cushite) woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Has the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? has He not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it (Numbers 12:1-2).
Suddenly, the Lord demanded to meet with Miriam, Aaron, and Moses. Miriam may have been delighted, thinking that God was just as displeased with Moses as she was and would agree with her criticism. Undoubtedly, she experienced an overwhelming shock when God said to her: With him will I speak mouth to mouth . . . wherefore (why) then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses? And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them. . . . and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous. And Aaron said to Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech you, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned (12:8-11).
Covetousness and pride are never satisfied. Even the possession of spiritual gifts can lead to pride, as well as jealousy, when others with similar spiritual gifts appear to be getting all the attention. When someone we have known as less qualified is promoted above us or given recognition in our church or office, we may be tempted to fall into Miriam's sin of jealousy and criticizing. Pride takes many forms. It can be based on physical beauty, wealth, education, or talents; but pride is a self-destructive and self-deceptive sin.
No doubt Miriam felt she was replaced by another who wasn't even a Jew. Miriam attempted, as many others have, to make it appear that her concern came from a "spiritual" motive. But God saw through her jealousy, envy, pride, and hurt feelings. It was the God-ordained leadership of Moses, not his choice of a wife or what he was teaching, that was being questioned. God has clearly warned: Touch not My anointed, and do My prophets no harm (I Chronicles 16:22; Psalm 105:15).
12:8 in dark speeches = difficult to understand; similitude = visible form which does not imply likeness; 13:20 fat or lean = fertile or barren.
By Moses, who was very meek (humble), above all the men which were upon the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3). Jesus said: I am meek (gentle, mild) and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29).
Government Officials: Rep. Eliot Engel (NY) and Sen. John Warner (VA) · for the International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Bonnie Wilhite · Country: Pakistan (138 million) in southern Asia · Major languages: Urdu and English · There is no freedom to convert Muslims to Christ. Pakistan is an Islamic republic · 97% Muslim; 2% Christian; 1% Hindu · Prayer Suggestion: Ask for courage to praise the Lord before unbelievers (Psalm 96:3-5).
Optional Reading: Luke 5
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:10