Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Have you ever regretted saying something because the wrong person heard it? I’m sure we all have. But is the regret caused only by the consequence? If so, then there is a heart problem that must be addressed. If we feel regret and shame only when we are caught, then there is a purity issue in our character. This kind of shame is indicative of a person who is self-focused. They feel guilt only when the consequences of their actions are detrimental to their personal image, status, or agenda. This person has no Godly morals, only situational ones. There is a need for humbling and brokenness before a righteous and holy God.
Numbers 12:1-2 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.
Miriam and Aaron had become proud people. They were gifted by God to serve alongside Moses. They had demonstrated God’s presence and power in their lives by the performing of miracles and the speaking of prophetic truth. Yet they were not getting the recognition that Moses was, and jealousy invaded their hearts.
It is obvious that their attack on Moses was not really about his new wife. What correlation is there between a Cushite wife for Moses and their desire to be recognized as people through whom God also spoke? Probably none, unless they were thinking that being the recognized spokesperson for God gave Moses an exemption for moral purity. Maybe they wanted the same potential exemption. I do not believe that is accurate, but I do believe that there have been spiritual leaders who have believed this and have lived that way, much to the embarrassment and dishonoring of God.
The attack of Miriam and Aaron on Moses was about recognition. In the previous chapter there were 70 additional people who were empowered with the Holy Spirit to assist Moses in the leading of Israel. Aaron has not really been mentioned since the production of the golden calf by his own hands. Miriam has been silent since the day of deliverance from the Red Sea. Both are still qualified and capable of serving, and probably were doing so, but they were jealous of the recognition others were getting. God’s anger burns against jealousy.
The desire for personal recognition is a deadly trap of Satan, and we must guard our hearts against it. Jealousy has no place in the heart of the Christian or the Church. When Miriam is punished as the instigator of this attack, God’s punishment is swift and serious – leprosy. When Aaron repents for their sin, God demonstrates His grace and forgiveness by providing a path of restoration. But within the context of that plan God reveals the seriousness of a jealous heart with the analogy of the punishment. He compares what Miriam did to what a daughter does to her father by disgracing him with her behavior. Jealousy is disrespect for the authority of God, and it disgraces His Name and His people.
Let’s take seriously the warning against jealousy, and let’s learn to live humbly serving God – and be content with our status. No matter what your position in the body of Christ, take to heart the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.