THE LIFE OF MOSES – LESSON 33
The tabernacle had been set up in the first month (Abib, Nisan) of the second year in the wilderness. It had been dedicated, and now had come the time to continue their journey to Canaan.
Numbers 9:15-23 tells us of the cloud by day and the fire by night resting over the tabernacle. As long as the cloud remained over it, they were to remain with their sukkot (temporary hut) and remain encamped. When the cloud lifted, they were to pack up their sukkot and the tabernacle and resume their journey.
Sometimes they remained at one place only a couple of days, or maybe a month or two. Sometimes God would keep them in the same place a year or more. On the twentieth day of the second month, the cloud lifted. They broke camp, left the wilderness of Sinai, and made camp in the wilderness of Paran, and Kadesh-barnea.
A family dispute broke out. Moses’ older siblings Miriam, and Aaron, began to dispute with their baby brother Moses and challenge him. Their initial bone of contention arose over the fact that he had taken another wife, an Ethiopian. This was even as his wife Zipporah’s brother Hobab was traveling with them as a guide as their “eyes.” (Numbers 10:29-31.)
The rift deepened further as they questioned Moses’ authority. They said to him in Numbers 12:2 (my paraphrase), “Do you think that you’re the only one that hears from God? We hear from him also.” In other words, “We are just as good as you, Moses!”
Moses, in his meekness (vs. 3) did not argue with them, but God heard it. God called the three of them to the tabernacle. From the cloud God spoke to them, saying that if there was a prophet among them (to wit, Aaron, Miriam, or any other) that he would speak to them through dreams or visions. However, he would speak mouth to mouth with only Moses.
As a sign of his anger and reproof, God immediately struck Miriam with leprosy. Moses interceded on her behalf. Consequently, she was put out of the camp for seven days after which she was cleansed and returned to camp. They never again challenged Moses. Moses never responded to their attacks with anger or vindictiveness. He left it in God’s hands and God took care of it.
How often have we had people come against us? It feels most severe to us when it is close family or best friends. How do we respond? Do we let it get to us? Is it hard to let go of it? Yet, we must let go and put them into God’s hand. Yes, it is easier said than done but we must do that and not hold ill feelings (unforgiveness) toward them. Ask God to give you the grace for it. By his grace, help, and strength you can do it.
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