Summary: We consider the fruit of gentleness and how we struggle with this. Moses show us what gentleness is.
1. It had been a tough couple of days for Moses. It was not easy to lead such a large group of people. 603,500 men over 20 years of age, plus their wives and families.
2.They had just complained about their hardships and that had angered God. He showed His anger by sending a fire that consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.
3. Soon again they started wailing -"Why can’t we have meat? - we’re getting tired of manna".
4. It became too much for Moses. (Num 11:11) God had Moses assemble 70 elders and put the Spirit that was on Moses on them, just long enough so they also could share the burden by proclaiming God’s word to the people in this matter.
5. And God gave them the quail but those who had complained were struck with a plague and killed.
6. It wasn’t easy to be a leader. And now he was being attacked from those closest to Him - his sister and his brother. - Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, and Aaron who had been given the position of high priest - the spiritual head of the whole nation.
7. Together they began to talk against Moses. They complained that He had a Cushite wife - a foreigner. This probably refers to Zipporah who was a Midianite. To call her a Cushite made her seem more contemptible - they were descendants of Ham.
8. They were trying to degrade Moses from the position in which God had placed him. Why should he speak for God when he has a foreign wife?
9. But it is clear that their concern was not really about his wife. In verse 2 they show they are really jealous of Moses’ position, "Has God only spoken through Him, has He not also spoken through us?"
a. "Are we not as important as Moses?"
10. Perhaps they were jealous that God had dealt with people through Moses as He just had. Why had they not had a part in dealing with this like the 70 elders did?
11. In fact the idea of jealousy is seem in passage before this when Joshua complains that 2 elders who had not been chosen among the 70 had come and received Spirit and were prophesying.
a. Moses asks Joshua "Are you jealous for my sake? Let then speak" As we will see that says something about Moses as well.
12. The point is that Moses was being attacked not because of anything he had done wrong.
13. Has this ever happened to you? Someone is angry with you or jealous or seems to have a chip on his shoulder against the world. Perhaps Dad had a bad day at work and takes it out on Johnny or on his wife.
a. We all get attacked at one time or another. And higher the position, the easier a target we become for others.
b. But even more important than the attack is how we respond to the attacks.
14. Today we consider how Moses responds to his brother and sister. As we do we see that Moses’ response was based on a fruit of the Spirit. For we are told that he was a humble man - Hebrew could be translated as meek. In Galatians we read that the fruit of the Spirit includes gentleness or meekness.
a. Are you meek or gentle or humble? The answer is found in how we respond to those who rightly or wrongly attack us.
15. As we see how Moses responds we see how this fruit works and we have to ask ourselves "Is this fruit evident in me?" A natural response would be to fight back.
a. "Hey, I didn’t ask for this job, I’m not sure that I even want it" "And you didn’t do too bad, if it wasn’t for me, you would be a prophetess and you the high-priest. You are both way out of line. And leave my wife out of it."
16. But Moses says nothing in response. He does not fight back. He remains calm and gentle. He does not get upset that they should attack someone of their stature. Easy to be even just questioned by someone and get upset. "I’m the father of this house, don’t question what I say."
17. He does not even complain to God. Easy to do as well, in pride to complain to God. "O God why are you letting them talk this way or treat me this way?" Have we ever said something like this to God?
18. Moses is able to respond with gentleness because he is secure in who he is. God had given him position and God has taken care of him. Often when we get upset, it is because of insecurity. We may be proud of position but inside we feel fragile. We take comments and attacks as threats and fail to look at reasons why people are upset with us.