Text: NUMBERS 12:1-16
- One of the big problems we are facing today is that many people refuse to submit to authority. This is nothing but the wicked sin of rebelliousness.
- Today, I would like for us to consider Moses. In Joshua 1:1 and 2 Moses is called "the servant of the LORD."
- In the Old Testament, God raised up many leaders and one of the most fascinating is Moses. If you know anything about the life of Moses he was often attacked by the children of Israel.
- And as our text shows, this is a terrible sin (Numbers 12:11, 14). The Bible says, "Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm" (Ps.105:15).
- When we move into the New Testament church, we see that God has raised up pastors. Sometimes, we may have disagreements with pastors and sometimes a pastor could be wrong, just as Moses was wrong on occasion, but the Bible is very clear about pastoral authority (cf. I Thess.5:12, 13; Heb.13:7, 17, 24).
- We are living in a day when people are rebelling against all authority. When people bring this rebelliousness into the church, there is going to be trouble and it must be dealt with (cf. I Sam.15:23).
- It breaks my heart to hear about gossiping in the church, members attacking the pastor and his family, falsely accusing the pastor, slandering him, calling him an unbeliever, etc. People who do such things are in trouble with the Lord (cf. Pro. 26:20-28).
- Letís go back to the story of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam and I will try and make some practical applications for the situation we face today.
- IT IS WRONG TO CHALLENGE THE AUTHORITY OF GODíS APPOINTED LEADER (NUM.12:1, 2)
- Miriam and Aaron spoke out against Moses for marrying an Ethiopian woman, but that was only their pretext (12:1). The real reason for their attack is given in verse 2 Ė they resented Mosesí leadership and wanted to share it. They were jealous and envious.
- Troublemakers, critics, and murmurers often challenge Godís man by saying, "Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath He not spoken also by us?" This is wicked. Notice it says, "And the Lord heard it" (vs. 2).
- Moses often faced opposition and God always dealt with it (cf. Num.16:1-5, 31-35, 41-50; 21:5-9). God always deals with rebels and murmurers. It is a serious thing to slander Godís servants. People who attack pastors and churches are instruments of the devil, whether they realize it or not.
- MEEKNESS DOES NOT MEAN WEAKNESS (12:3)
- The Bible says that "Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth" (12:3). Was Moses weak? Not at all (cf. Ex.32:15-28).
- Meekness is not weakness. Meekness is being obedient to God and doing the job He has given you to do Ė even if people do not like the way you are doing it!
- Every now and then people come into a church and start murmuring against the pastor. They do not like the way he preaches; he preaches too hard against sin; he opposes Pentecostalism; they donít like this or that, etc. Being a leader means making decisions that not everyone is going to agree on and it means doing things and taking stands that some people do not understand. But a godly Christian will respect his or her pastor and pray for him and will not attack him!
- If a Christian criticizes his pastor he is not right with God. I tremble for his soul. God is going to judge him severely. We have had a number of troublemakers over the years. I have kept track of all of them and not one of them is right with God tonight. They are all bitter. They go around tearing up churches. In their wake is a sad trail of ruined lives, broken homes, heartache and misery.
- AFTER A PERSON ATTACKS GODíS APPOINTED LEADER, THERE IS NOTHING LEFT BUT THE JUDGMENT OF GOD (12:9, 10).
- The only other thing recorded about Miriam after this incident is her death (Num.20:1).
- We have many such warnings in the Bible. Many rebels rose up against the apostle Paul (I Tim.1:18-20; II Tim.2:16-19; 4:10, 14).
- Beloved, donít be misled or influenced by critical people, crybabies, troublemakers, backbiters, and murmurers. They will come and go but the work of God presses on.
- It is significant that God judged Miriam by turning her into a leper.
- Leprosy is nothing short of a living death. It poisons the springs of life, so that gradually the whole body decays, and one by one the limbs decay and fall off.
- This is a vivid picture of indwelling sin and how it manifests itself. That is why leprosy is used in the Bible as a picture and type of sin (cf. Heb. 12:15).
- Notice that the whole assembly was detained in order to learn the lesson Miriam had to learn. Seeing her rebellion judged, they could judge it in their own hearts. Once this was done, they were ready to move ahead (12:15,16). Now, let us move on.
Pastor James J. Barker