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Summary: At first glance the book of Numbers reads a bit like an operations manual. It’s got numbers of soldiers, lists of names, and a bit of repetition. Tucked between those lists and numbers are some stories of real people, dealing with real issues of faith!

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BETWEEN THE NUMBERS

FAMILY FEUD

NUMBERS 12:1-16

-What would you think if your brother was elected president?

-Some of you might actually say “great!” “I’d vote for him”

-But some of you might move to Canada!

-Others would simply call the tabloids for an easy payday!

-If you aren’t familiar with the Bible characters Miriam and Aaron you may not realize their brother was Moses: the man God chose to lead the nation of Israel.

-Aaron was an important figure in the Exodus of Israel because he was the spokesman for his stuttering prophet brother: Moses.

-Miriam was also a prophet and led the women in praise after God led the Israelites through the Red Sea.

-At this point in Numbers a lot has happened since that time.

-A year has passed, and as we saw in chapter 11 last week…the people’s attitudes have begun to change.

-Camping is always fun for the first few days, but after a year...a critical spirit began creeping into the community.

-It even began to affect Israel’s most influential family.

12 While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses because he had married a Cushite woman.

-In chap 11 the people didn’t like the food.

-Now in chap 12 Moses’ own family doesn’t like his wife.

-You might wonder why? Maybe she was stuck up. Maybe she was bossy or maybe she overcooked the lamb at Passover.

-It’s easy to find something not to like about people, but the text tells us what the hang-up really was: She was a Cushite.

-The way the original language reads makes it seem as though Miriam was the instigator of this criticism.

-She was the big sister of Moses and did not approve of her brother’s taste in women.

-This passage has given the scholars something to talk about.

-We know that Moses was married to Zipporah who was a Midianite; her father was Jethro: the priest of the Beverly Hill Billies. Priest of Midian.

-And some think the wife mentioned here is still Zipporah.

-But others believe that Moses, who is 80 at this point, has lost his wife and remarried.

-So why are they fussing about her being a Cushite.

-Option 1: Is that they were prejudiced. Cushites were people from North Africa, probably the area of Ethiopia, and they may not have liked her because she was black.

-Option 2 is more likely: They may not have liked her because she was not a Jew. The Jews were fiercely proud of their ethnicity.

-She was an outsider…and therefore they didn’t accept her.

-Which every option you choose, it paints kind of an ugly picture

of Aaron the High Priest of Israel, and Miriam the prophetess.

-We know that racism and persecution of other ethnic groups is ignorant, and petty, and not condoned by God.

-But our focus today is the remarkable contrast of character between Moses and his siblings.

-Moses was very humble and his siblings were very proud.

-We see it in their reaction toward Moses’ wife.

PRIDE TEARS OTHER PEOPLE DOWN.

-She didn’t pick her skin color and she couldn’t control which ethnic group she was born into.


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