So, what do you know about Miriam? I only knew that she was Aaron’s sister. Then, as I was going through Numbers, I reached Numbers 12, and Miriam became so much more to me. She put a heart attitude issue right smack in front of my face, and I know (at least I greatly hope) that I am not the only one who struggles with it. Here’s what Numbers 12 says from the ESV translation-
1 Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman. 2 And they said, “Has the Lord indeed only spoken through MOses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. 3 Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth. 4 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 could and stood at the entrance of the tent and called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward. 6 And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. 7 Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. 8 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?” 9 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed. 10 When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow. And Aaron turned toward Miriam, and behold, she was leprous. 11 And Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, do not punish us because we have done foolishly and have sinned. 12 Let her not be as one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes out of his mother’s womb.” 13 And Moses cried to the Lord, “O God, please heal her-please.” 14 But the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut outside the camp seven days, and after that she may be brought in again.” 15 So Miriam was shut outside the camp seven days, and the people did not set out on the march till Miriam was brought in again. 16 After that the people set out from Hazeroth, and camped in the wilderness of Paran.
So the first thing we see is Miriam and Aaron speaking out against Moses. Miriam is listed first here because she was most likely doing the most grumbling. That is why we see her punished with the leprousy. At first reading, I was put off towards Miriam. I mean, here’s Moses working to get this nation to their promised land and his 2 closest people are griping about him. But then, I started thinking about myself. Listen again to what Miriam said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” Maybe I’m the only one, although I really don’t think so, that has seen someone doing something and thought, “I could do that. Why won’t the Lord use me to do that?” We might even go so far as to think we could do it better. Probably not, though, right? I mean, what kind of person would do that? 😉 Our egos get in the way so many times, don’t they? We want to be important. If you’re made like me, and not all of us are I know…you really enjoy being in the spotlight. For me, I have to fight the urge when it comes to my music, especially now that I’ve moved to doing worship instead of just performing. I want it to be all about the Lord and glorifying Him, but so often…my ego moves into the picture. I listen to some amazing worship leader and think, “Why not me Lord? When’s it my turn?” All of a sudden, my purpose has moved to elevating myself instead of elevating the Lord and what He wants. It’s my heart attitude. A battle playing out inside me.
But Miriam and Aaron get called into God’s office. Can you imagine?? And you thought it was bad when you got called into the principal’s office! Haha… Here they go, with Moses, to the entrance of the tent and God calls them forward. This great pillar of cloud is all around. God boasts about Moses, which I think is really rich. I mean, if you’re Miriam and you’ve been griping about Moses, how bad is it to listen to God say there is noone like him? God departs, so the cloud lifts away, and there is Miriam. White as snow. Leprous. An outward symbol of her heart attitude. And don’t think of white as snow as pure. Aaron’s words put it vividly, “Let her not be as one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes out of his mother’s womb.” So Moses, the guy they spoke out against, goes to God and cries out to Him on behalf of them. Wow…
Where is your heart attitude? Where and what are you focused on? Do you ever let your ego get in the way? We don’t normally speak out about these vulnerable things. We keep them quiet and let them stir inside us. I’m so glad we have a gracious God, aren’t you? Yes, the more I pondered Miriam, I realized I couldn’t be put out with her. I am her at times. We all are. We just aren’t covered with leprousy, white as snow. No…my white as snow came from being covered by the blood of Jesus. And that’s the kind of white as snow I want.