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Bible Pathways 2/18/2001

February 18

Numbers 12 -- 13

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. . . . They said, Has the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Has He not spoken also by us? (Numbers 12:1-2). Since Moses' marriage is mentioned twice, perhaps Miriam and Aaron were jealous of Moses' new wife, assuming she had taken away their influence with Moses. Whatever the reason, it led to their faultfinding. The verb used in Numbers 12:1 is singular, indicating that Miriam was the instigator, and possibly the reason judgment fell on her and not on Aaron.
Suddenly, the Lord called for a meeting with Miriam, Aaron, and Moses. Miriam may have been delighted, thinking that God was just as displeased with Moses as she was and would justify her assessment of the situation. Without a doubt, she experienced the biggest shock of her life when the Lord said to her: Why were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses? And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them (12:8-9). To her horror, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron. . . . said to Moses . . . we have done foolishly, and . . . we have sinned (12:10-11).
Miriam succeeded, as many others have, in making 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 declared: Touch not My anointed, and do My prophets no harm (I Chronicles 16:22; Psalms 105:15).
Covetous people never get enough money, proud people never get enough praise, and self-centered people never get enough attention. Covetousness and pride are never satisfied. Possession of spiritual gifts can often lead to pride, which, in turn, can lead to jealousy if others with spiritual gifts are perceived as competitors. When someone we have known as our junior, or perceived by us to be less qualified, is raised above us in office or recognition in the church, we may be tempted to fall into Miriam's sin of 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 attitude.
It is a sin to speak against the minister of Christ who is teaching the Word of God in truth. They do make mistakes and may, at times, even manifest faults. However, there is a distinct difference between offensive attacks against the minister and questioning his biblical teaching. Jesus warned: Beware of false prophets (Matthew 7:15). Christ commended the church of Ephesus saying: I know how you . . . have tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and have found them to be liars (Revelation 2:2).
The Apostle Paul wrote: If any man preach any other Gospel to you than that you have received, let him be accursed. . . . Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and . . . tradition of men (Galatians 1:9; Colossians 2:8).
Christ Portrayed:
By Moses, who was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3). Jesus said: I am meek and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29).
Word Studies:
12:8 apparently means clearly; in dark speeches means difficult to understand; similitude means visible likeness; 13:20 fat or lean means fertile or barren.


Government Officials: Rep. Eliot Engel (NY) and Sen. John Warner (VA) · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on Radio Paradise, Nevis, West Indies · Country: United Arab Emirates (2 million) on the eastern Arabian Peninsula · Major languages: Arabic and Farsi · Pressure and hostility against Christians are increasing · 95% Muslim; 4% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Magnify the Lord; exalt His Name (Psalms 34:3).
Optional Reading:
Luke 5

Memory Verse for the Week:
Colossians 1:17

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