Summary: Aaron and Miriam lead a rebellion against Moses’ leadership that incenses God. What did they do wrong, and what can it teach us?
OPENING: Joe had ordered an expensive suit for a banquet, and the tailor finished alterations just in time. But as Joe left the shop, a sudden rainstorm doused the jacket and shrank one of the sleeves.
"We can’t do anything about it today," the tailor told Joe when he returned to the shop. "Just stretch the sleeve over your hand, and no one will notice."
With his arm contorted, Joe left the shop, and again was doused by rain. This time, a pant leg shrank.
"I can’t take care of that now!" exclaimed the tailor. "Pull the bottom of pants over your heel, and nobody will notice."
His body twisted, Joe again left the shop. Two women were passing by.
"That poor man!" said on. "I wonder what’s wrong with him?"
"I don’t know," said the other. "But he sure is wearing a nice suit!"
APPLICATION: This man so contorted himself to make the suit look normal that he made himself look abnormal. The Bible tells us that is the condition of our souls. Often we so contort our lives to allow for sin, that we look abnormal to God. Jeremiah said it was because our hearts are deceitful.
As we examine this story of Miriam & Aaron we find that this has happened to them as well. Some form of sin has caused them to speak out against Moses in a way that incenses God. What have they done?
I. Why did Miriam and Aaron speak against Moses?
Their main complaint seems to be that Moses married a Cushite woman. Cushites were what we now call Ethiopians and they were black people. What this seems to indicate is that Aaron and Miriam were basically guilty of bigotry towards Moses and his new wife.
Their prejudice had contorted them so that they became disobedient to God.
ILLUS: I once knew of a denominational church whose hierarchy gave a small town congregation a choice of only two candidates for their preacher. a white woman and a black man. They chose the woman (an unbiblical choice to begin with) because she was white.
But that’s a denominational church. The Churches of Christ wouldn’t do that would they? Yes, we would. I know a preacher who adopted black child while he was serving a small congregation up north. Not long after that, he was fired.
But certainly I wouldn’t be guilty of such prejudice. Yes, I would. Years ago at Lake James Christian Assembly (one of church camps) I was sitting around with a group of 4th and 5th graders, talking and telling jokes. I had just bought a Pepsi and one of the kids asked to have a sip. So I passed her the can (yes, I know it’s unsanitary, but a the time it didn’t bother me). Then another child asked for a drink. Again I shared. But then, a little black girl asked for a sip… and I hesitated. I remember thinking at the time - "This is ridiculous. Why would I share my Pepsi with ’white’ kids and hesitate with this little girl?" I shared my drink, but my initial response shocked me.
Prejudice is a terrible sin. It haunts the minds of many who would even seek to be holy. And it shows its worst side when those who purport to be men of the Bible pervert scripture to validate their evil.