A Lesson in Words and Leadership

A Lesson in Words and Leadership

Numbers 12, with its depiction of personal flaws and poor decision-making, offers a raw glimpse into human reality. When God steps in, expectations can be shattered, and things may get messy. In this exploration, we delve into how Numbers 12 reveals the impact of undealt personal feelings on our lives and how standing in the middle reflects the character of Jesus.

Moses and His Cushite Wife

“Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman);” Numbers 12:1 (NASB1995)

Numbers 12:1 introduces Miriam and Aaron’s discontent with Moses’ Cushite wife, sparking a conflict. Moses’ decision to take a second wife, whether due to stress or lust, adds complications. His first wife, Zipporah, was with Moses through his major life changes becoming a spiritual companion in his life’s journey. The introduction of the Cushite woman becomes a catalyst for conflict between Aaron and Miriam.

Challenging Leadership

“and they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?” And the Lord heard it.” Numbers 12:2 (NASB1995)

Questioning if God speaks only through Moses, Aaron and Miriam challenge his leadership. Their personal feelings about Moses’s marital affairs unearth deep seated feelings of resentment. They each felt like they deserved better and God heard them loud and clear.

Divine Intervention

“Suddenly the Lord said to Moses and Aaron and to Miriam, “You three come out to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them came out.” Numbers 12:4 (NASB1995)

Like a school principal, God calls them privately into His office to set things straight. God clearly saw each of their hearts and what He saw in Aaron and Miriam was not just their concern about Moses’s behavior but their own negative feelings about Moses’ leadership.

God Gives to Miriam

“But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. As Aaron turned toward Miriam, behold, she was leprous.” Numbers 12:10 (NASB1995)

God instantly gives Miriam leprosy, as consequence of her discontent and she experiences a dramatic transformation. Miriam received punishment for her behavior and when her brother Aaron sees it, he’s shocked and inside, his heart changes.

Standing in the In-Between

“Then Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, I beg you, do not account this sin to us, in which we have acted foolishly and in which we have sinned. Oh, do not let her be like one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes from his mother’s womb!”” Numbers 12:11-12 (NASB1995)

Aaron’s purpose in life was to stand in-between God and Humanity. He had done so before, working between Moses and Pharoah and between a golden calf and the people. Aaron was to be the father of a class of people that would stand between God and Humanity. He had always struggled with this unique purpose and now he stood between Moses and his sister pleading for her life.

Healing and Redemption

“Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “O God, heal her, I pray!”” Numbers 12:13

God, rich in mercy, responds to Moses’ plea and heals Miriam, illustrating the transformative power of heartfelt intercession. Although Miriam did not receive instantaneous healing, after seven days she was healed and returned into the camp. The narrative becomes a cautionary tale about the consequences of unchecked words, emphasizing the weighty responsibility of leadership and how we can make a difference interceding for others.

Here are 5 takeaways from Numbers 12:

  1. Guard Your Words: Be mindful of the words you speak, ensuring they align with humility and respect for others. Words hold immense power and can impact relationships, especially in times of disagreement.

    “He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23 (NASB1995)

  2. Seek Humility: Cultivate a spirit of humility, recognizing that true strength lies in humility before God and others. Embrace a posture of humility, acknowledging your dependence on God’s guidance.

    “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10 (NASB1995)

  3. Intercede for Others: Engage in fervent prayer for those facing challenges, especially leaders. Intercession not only seeks God’s intervention but also fosters a heart of compassion and empathy.

    “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16 (NASB1995)

  4. Understand God’s Teaching Methods: Recognize that God teaches lessons in unique ways. Learn from the narrative of Aaron and Miriam that God’s discipline aims to correct and guide. Embrace the lessons God provides through various circumstances.

    “and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; For those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.'” Hebrews 12:5-6 (NASB1995)

  5. Foster Impartiality: Uphold impartiality in your judgments and actions, recognizing that God shows no favoritism based on gender or status. Treat others fairly and avoid harboring resentment or biases.

    “Opening his mouth, Peter said: ‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.'” Acts 10:34-35 (NASB1995)

Lesson Learned

Numbers 12 unfolds as a cautionary tale, offering valuable insights into the consequences of unchecked words and the weighty responsibility of leadership. Miriam’s and Aaron’s misguided expressions of discontent led to severe repercussions, serving as a stark reminder of the power words hold. It serves as a call to cultivate understanding, compassion, and a mindful approach to interpersonal relationships and the lasting impact our words can have on ourselves and those around us.

About The Author

Jesse Velez

Although Jesse Velez will forever carry the essence of a Native New Yorker, he currently calls the sun-soaked city of Miami, Florida, his home. Celebrating a marriage of 31+ years to Eusebia, he proudly embraces his role as the father of five grown children. Jesse has cultivated a profound grasp of the Bible over the span of 40+ years, dedicated to following and serving Jesus while engaging in extensive reading and in-depth study of the scriptures.