September 4-8


Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman. And they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. – Numbers 12:1-2 (ESV)

Enduring Insults and Criticism
A lady walked into a large department store one day. When she did, all of a sudden camera bulbs flashed and a small musical band began playing a tune. An executive from the store walked up to the lady and pinned a beautiful corsage on her dress. He gave the woman a brand new $100 bill. As he did, he said, "Congratulations on being the one-millionth person to walk inside the store." A newspaper reporter who stood by the lady asked, "Why did you come into the store today?" The lady answered, "I was on my way to the Complaint Department." As the curtain opens in this chapter, we find the Complaint Department is still open. In chapter 11, it was the people moaning about the menu. Moses was moaning about the moaners. In this chapter, Miriam and Aaron are moaning about Moses. - Rod Mattoon

In Numbers 12, we find a prime example of complaining and jealousy among leaders and how God dealt with it. Moses walked with God and had God's power upon his life, yet, he is still being criticized. Miriam and Aaron are envious of Moses' leadership, but they use an occasion – his marriage – to criticize him. The real problem for Miriam's complaint is not in the person of the wife. The real issue for complaint is in verse 2. It was the position or the rank that was sought. Miriam and Aaron wanted more prestige. They wanted equal status with Moses.

If you’re walking with God or in a place of leadership expect criticism, even from members of your own family.  This happened to Moses, David, and Jesus’ own family. When was the last time you felt unjustly criticized for your walk with God?

Thank God for the places of leadership and influence He has given you. Ask God to help you endure the criticism that is often directed at His children.


And suddenly the Lord said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” And the three of them came out. 5 And the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent and called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward. – Numbers 12:4-5 (ESV)

Encountering Judgment and Confrontation
Dr. Ian Paisley, the fiery Irish cleric and politician was reputed to have been preaching one Sunday on the End Times - and in particular on the Day of Judgement. As he reached the climax of his address, he said that on the Day of Judgement “there would be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” At which point, an old woman put up her hand and said, “Dr. Paisley, I have no teeth” Paisley replied, “Madam, teeth will be provided.” (Martin Dale)

Numbers 12:4-5 is a time of judgment for Aaron and Miriam. Brian Bell entitles Numbers 12:4-10 “God's Woodshed!” Numbers says, “Suddenly the Lord said.” Why did the LORD act so swiftly? Sin can spread quickly so He acted quickly. The problem is especially acute when leaders sin, and the consequences could have been disastrous. God would vindicate Moses but rebuke Miriam and Aaron.

Brian Bell notes that Moses didn’t defend himself; he waited for God to act. Psalm 37:1 and 7 teach "Do not fret because of evildoers,...Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." When was the last time you let God handle someone who had unjustly criticized you?

Praise God for His Holiness and for the way He always deals with sin. Thank Him for always offering a way of mercy and forgiveness through Jesus. Ask God to deal with anyone in your life who continues to criticize God’s people and bring them to a place of repentance.


Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. –Numbers 12:3 (ESV)

Your Reverence For God
George Washington Carver, the scientist who developed hundreds of useful products from the peanut said: “When I was young, I asked God to tell me the mystery of the universe, but God answered, “That knowledge is reserved for me alone” so I said, “God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.” Then God said, ‘Well, George, that’s more nearly your size,’ and He told me.” (Adapted from Rackham Holt, George Washington Carver).

Numbers 12:3 describes Moses as “very meek.” Meekness is submission to the will of God and His ways. Meekness is trusting that God is all-powerful and sovereign. Meekness is the ability to keep your tongue in check when being attacked by unjust criticism. Meekness has faith in trusting God to vindicate you.

What’s the biggest challenge you have faced with others recently? Do you believe God is better able than you are to deal with that challenge?

Praise God for His power and sovereignty. Confess to God your limited abilities and understanding. Confess your trust in God to handle conflict in your life.


“Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” – Numbers 12:7-8 (ESV)

Exhibiting Integrity and Character
My Marine commanding officer called me in and asked me why I had not participated in a particular event that was in his terms “required” of the entire company. As far as I can remember, it was the only time I had directly disobeyed a command. Captain Birch said to me, “Who do you think you are?"  I answered at that moment, “Not very much right now. But I want you to know, Captain why I said I could not participate.” He said, “Talk fast.” And I did. And I declared my allegiance to Jesus Christ. His mouth literally dropped open. And his final words to me were, “I admire you. Get out!” (Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations and Quotes)

Moses was a different kind of prophet. God said, Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house.” God knew that Moses had a level of commitment and integrity that was uncommon. God called Moses, “My servant.” The title “my servant” or “servant of the LORD” is reserved in the Bible for distinguished personages, people who are truly spiritual leaders, like Moses, David, Hezekiah, and also the Messiah. Here it underscores Moses’ obedience. The Hebrew word used for “servant” is one who serves willingly regardless of whether he is a free man impelled by love or a slave bound by duty.

Who have you observed demonstrate consistent Christian integrity? What would change in your life if you were most consistent in your commitment to Christ?

Thank God for the people in your life who have modeled Christian integrity and character. Ask God to grow any areas of your life that are inconsistent with your profession of faith as a follower of Christ.


And Moses cried to the Lord, “O God, please heal her—please.” – Numbers 12:13 (ESV)

Embracing Prayer and Concern
If you want to learn what a person is really like, ask three questions: What makes him laugh? What makes him angry? What makes him weep? I hear people saying, “The time has come to practice militant Christianity!” Perhaps, but “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). What we need today is not anger but anguish, the kind of anguish that Moses displayed when he broke the two tablets of the law and then climbed the mountain to intercede for his people, or that Jesus displayed when He cleansed the temple and then wept over the city. The difference between anger and anguish is a broken heart. It’s easy to get angry, especially at somebody else’s sins; but it’s not easy to look at sin, our own included, and weep over it. (The Integrity Crisis by Warren W. Wiersbe)

The prayer in Numbers 12:13 is the first word spoken by Moses in this chapter where he has been criticized. He had not spoken the entire time he was accused, leaving it up to God to answer his critics. Now, when he does speak, it is a cry for God to have mercy on his adversaries. Moses returns good for evil and prays for his accusers.

Luke 6:27 reads, “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Who could you apply this teaching to in your life?

Thank God for hearing your prayers. Pray for anyone who has hurt or criticized you lately.