Sunday, May 25, 2014

Numbers 12

Today's reading in our daily plan is Numbers 12. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Moses' brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam, speak against Moses because of his wife.  Moses didn't have a Jewish wife because he lived with the Egyptians the first 40 years of his life and was in the desert the next 40 years. (A Cushite was an Ethiopian.)
  • Though Moses had a great deal of power and authority, we read that he was the most humble man on the face of the earth.  
  • God confronts Aaron and Miriam by re-establishing Moses' authority as leader of God's people.  
  • God disciplines Miriam for speaking out against Moses by giving her leprosy for seven days.  Interestingly, Aaron's skin is not made leprous.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • There is usually a deeper issue in play when we complain about something.  Miriam and Aaron point to Moses' wife as the main point of their concern.  It seems the real issue was a growing jealousy of Moses.  Rather than face the real problem by dealing with their envy and pride, they create a diversion from the real issue by pointing to Moses' wife.  
  • Our attitude matters.  God punished Miriam for her smug attitude toward not only Moses' authority, but also God's.  

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • When you are in a disagreement, stop and ask yourself if you are arguing over the real issue or if you have introduced a smoke screen and are avoiding the real issue.  If you are unjustly criticized, remember that your critics may be afraid to face the real problem.  Whether you're being critical or the one being criticized, ask God to help you identify the real issue and deal with it.  
  • Who are the authority figures in your life? A parent?  Coach?  Boss?  We need to honor those in leadership over us with both our attitudes and our words.  How can you demonstrate honor, respect, and support to those you report to?