Summary: This sermon is about the way that believers use straw arguments to hide their true agenda which is really to gossip and tear down other believers either based on race or what they have accomplished in the Kingdom of God.
Aaron and Miriam: Racist, Jealous Or Both?
Numbers Chapter 12 Verses 1-15
1 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. 2 “Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the LORD heard this.
3 (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)
4 At once the LORD said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the tent of meeting, all three of you.” So the three of them went out. 5 Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward, 6 he said, “Listen to my words: “When there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams.
7 But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house.
8 With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” 9 The anger of the LORD burned against them, and he left them. 10 When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam’s skin was leprous—it became as white as snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had a defiling skin disease,
11 and he said to Moses, “Please, my lord, I ask you not to hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed. 12 Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother’s womb with its flesh half eaten away.” 13 So Moses cried out to the LORD, “Please, God, heal her!” 14 The LORD replied to Moses, “If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back.” 15 So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back.
I want to believe that this sermon will be just a reminder type sermon and that no one here really needs to learn the lessons that are in this chapter of the Book of Numbers. But sometimes even the best of Christians need to search their hearts, minds, and souls to make sure that no inkling of racism or jealousy exists in any of these three areas of our lives, including me.
There are many things that I could talk about out of this passage of Scripture but I want to focus on basically two main points. But before I get to those points I want to say this, There is a lot of discussion and debate over whether or not Moses’ wife Zipporah was a black woman or not. Some people say she was some people say she wasn’t, I believe that she was, but in what I want to tell you all today it doesn’t make a hill of beans worth of difference what color Zipporah was.
I also want to let you know that Miriam and Aaron weren’t arguing with Moses about what color his wife’s skin was or wasn’t they were arguing with him, at least on the surface, because they thought that he should have married a woman from within the Israelite people instead of an outsider. But even that argument was a pretext for a bigger underlying issue that Miriam and Aaron had and that issue was jealousy.
It’s amazing to me how people will use some of the lamest, flimsiest and see through issues to try to get a point across that they shouldn’t be trying to make in the first place. To me it’s like gossip, when it may start off something like this: Did you what she was wearing at church Sunday? Oh, yes I did and wasn’t that shameful? But you know that we really shouldn’t be so hard on her because did you know that she was dating a black man and maybe that’s the kind of clothes he likes. She is? Well, that’s just wrong! Now it seems like her clothing issues are less important than this other “fact”!
I know that was simplistic but I hope you get the idea. Miriam and Aaron were really bringing up Zipporah just as an argument starter. She was really not what they wanted to talk about. I’ll get to that in a bit. What I do want to talk about right now though is the straw argument that they started with concerning Zipporah and that was that she was a Cushite woman or in other words an Ethiopian woman. And how this relates to a lot of Christian’s views on race and racism.