Summary: Many of us are so desperate to feel significant that we have a hard time with authority at any level. If we found our significance in the Lord, we would be less tempted to fault others for our woes.
Undermining Authority: The Self-Importance Factor
1. Many Americans think they can run our country better than our elected officials. They may or may not be correct. But of one thing I am sure: I don't want the job!
2. Aren't you glad you do not have to solve the oil spill mess? Or try to keep the Iranians or North Koreans in line? Although our lives are complex – and we have plenty of issues of our own – it sure is nice that these things are someone else's problem – although they probably will affect us.
3. Just because we are not mighty in political clout does not mean we are powerless. If you have been truly born-again, have been brought to spiritual life, are regenerate – then you are an important part of the Kingdom of God. You probably have no idea how important you are. For some of you, that importance is more potential than actual. Others of you are tiring yourselves out, serving the Lord.
4. Moses had great responsibility, both as the leader of a nation and as a prophet of God. Miriam and Aaron, however, were the spiritual leaders of the people. Miriam the prophetess was an icon for the women of Israel, and Aaron was the High Priest.
5. But neither Miriam nor Aaron were cut out to be leaders of the nation. Unfortunately, they thought otherwise. The complexities of leadership seem non-existent when you have little experience in it. Nothing is as simple as it seems from the outside.
6. Last week, we noted how the people failed, how Moses failed, and how Joshua failed. Everyone notable messed up except for Miriam and Aaron.
TS –––-> Today, it is their turn. We will look at Miriam and Aaron at their worst.
I. Miriam and Aaron Challenge Moses' AUTHORITY
A. Miriam and Aaron Tried to MEDDLE in Moses' Personal Life (1)
1. Could be a reference to his wife, Zipporah the Midianites. In a few contexts, Midianites were sometimes called Cushites…delayed criticism
2. Probably a new wife; perhaps Zipporah had died; probably an Ethiopian
3. The Torah did not forbid this; Ethiopians were not Canaanites
4. The point is that were meddling where they did not belong
B. Miriam and Aaron Thought They Were EQUAL to Moses (2)
1. Not everyone's opinion counts equally
2. When people who have a problem with authority get into authority, it is not a pretty picture. The authority Miriam and Aaron had went to their heads.
A Department of Water Resources representative stops at a Texas ranch and talks with an old rancher. He tells the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for your water allocation."
The old rancher says, "Okay, but don't go in that field over there."
The Water representative says, "Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me.. See this card? This card means I am allowed to go WHEREVER I WISH on any agricultural land. No questions asked or answered. Have I made myself clear? Do you understand?"
The old rancher nods politely and goes about his chores.
Later, the old rancher hears loud screams and sees the Water Rep running for his life. And close behind is the rancher's bull. The bull is gaining with every step.
The Rep is clearly terrified, so the old rancher immediately throws down his tools, runs to the fence and yells at the top of his lungs.....
"Your card! Show him your card!" [source: jokes2008.blogspot.com]
C. This conflict was not Moses' FAULT (3)
1. We live in a day of "shared" responsibility for everything. Some states have contributory laws with car accidents. You are 15% to blame just for being there.
2. Here, Moses was not to blame at all. He was not a perfect leader, but his imperfections did not mean he was at fault.
D. God EXALTS Moses (4-8)
1. Calls them out from the Tent of Meeting
2. Appears in His Shekinah
3. Talks about the normal mode of prophetic revelation
4. Yahweh talks to Moses face to face
5. How could Miriam and Aaron take Moses so lightly?
E. God punishes Miriam, the INSTIGATOR (9-10)
F. Moses INTERCEDES for Miriam (11- 16)
Based on modern standards, neither Moses nor Jesus were successful leaders because they did not lead the majority of people to follow their path. Sometimes the masses simply do not want to do the right thing. This is why it is so dangerous to put popularity above the truth the God's Word.
II. Why Are Some Of Us So UNCOMFORTABLE With Authority?
A. Both Aaron and Miriam had plenty of INFLUENCE
1. Aaron, the high priest
2. Miriam, leader of the prophetesses
B. All were part of the same FAMILY
C. They had three DIFFERING personalities