Summary: How to face criticism

Criticism - Numbers 12 - 9/25/16

Turn with me this morning to Numbers 12. Today we want to look at one of the great leaders of the bible and learn some lessons about criticism. In the OT we have records of the lives of many men and women - and many had wonderful strengths. Abraham was a friend of God, David was a man after God’s own heart, Samson was the strongest man, but there is one man who rises to the surface in regards to leadership, and that man is Moses.

Moses is one of the greatest leaders who ever lived. But what is so unusual about this is that Numbers 12:3 tells us that Moses was more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. Often we think of leaders who love to tell you how great they are, but not Moses. He is a leader who really was quite comfortable being in the background, but God put him in the forefront.

And that is often how God works. Often God comes to us when we are quite comfortable, and God pushes us out of our comfort zones and into an area that we really would not have chosen for ourselves. And God gives us the strength by His Holy Spirit to do things that we never envisioned ourselves doing.

If you remember the story of Moses, he was the baby in the bullrushes, raised in Pharaoh’s house for 40 years, then fleeing to the desert and tending sheep for 40 years, then coming back to Egypt and leading a couple million Jews through that same desert for 40 years. But Moses was not alone. He had a sister Miriam - she was the one who watched over that little ark of bullrushes and ran to Pharaoh’s daughter to bring her mother in to nurse Moses. And Moses had a brother, Aaron, who was the spokesman. He was the outgoing, talkative one in the family, the one who could always carry the conversation. Moses was the shy one in the back corner of the room, while Aaron was the life of the party in the center of the crowd.

But God had uniquely prepared this family - Moses, Aaron, and Miriam - to be used greatly in leading and delivering the Jews. Moses had the role of the leader. God would speak with Moses and tell him what to say and what to do. Aaron was the spokesman - as Moses came to Pharaoh, Aaron is always involved in the conversations. He is the figurehead who is involved in all the negotiations. And then there is Miriam, also honored by God. Miriam is a prophetess, the first one mentioned in the bible. Miriam is the great worship leader for the nation of Israel. As they pass through the Red Sea, Miriam is there leading the people in worshiping their great God who had brought them out of Egypt with a “high hand” - a hand raised in victory.

So here are three great leaders - each with a ministry given to them by God - each very productive in how they serve the Lord. And that’s the way God has designed the body of Christ to function. God has given each one of us unique gifts to use for the common good. No one of us has all the gifts. And we never need to be envious of the gifts of others. We don’t need to try to be like someone else. We simply need to be the best “ME” that I can be. That was the problem at Corinth - the people all wanted to have the gifts that gave them public recognition. They wanted to most visible gifts. God’s call to them is to seek the best gift - love! No matter what “gift” we may have, everything we do is to be done in love.

So here is this picture of the interworking of the church - Moses, Miriam, and Aaron all with gifts to use, all having succesful ministry. But a problem arises, and controversy comes to the surface. Let’s read about it in Numbers 12:1-16. Read text - pray

The setting here in Numbers 12 follows Numbers 11, where the people cried out wanting meat. But there is something else we see in that chapter - God placing His Spirit on the 70 elders and they begin prophesying. This may possibly be the “burr under the saddle” or the “thorn in the side” that is irritating Miriam and Aaron. After all, they have been leaders of the people, but THEY are not included in this group of 70! Why not? Don’t they DESERVE to be? And we see all kinds of personal jealous starts coming out. Look at what we see here. First we see the

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