Sermons

Summary: A study in the book of Numbers 12: 1 – 16

Numbers 12: 1 – 16

Why her and not him?

12 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. 2 So they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the LORD heard it. 3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.) 4 Suddenly the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!” So the three came out. 5 Then the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. 6 Then He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. 7 Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. 8 I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?” 9 So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them, and He departed. 10 And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper. 11 So Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned. 12 please do not let her be as one dead, whose flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother’s womb!” 13 So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “Please heal her, O God, I pray!” 14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again.” 15 So Miriam was shut out of the camp seven days, and the people did not journey till Miriam was brought in again. 16 And afterward the people moved from Hazeroth and camped in the Wilderness of Paran.

We all grew up watching the teacher’s pet get the most attention. In the various places we come into direct contact with we see people compete to warm up to the person in charge at a level that is sickening. Favoritism shown in all categories of life not only impacts our sense of fairness, it creates inequality in responsibility. Worse, it can breed resentment and lead to serious consequences. What should a person do when someone else seems to be the favorite?

To understand the best way to handle this kind of situation, we need to gain some perspective on the culture in which we live. An office, a school, a church, or other facility is filled with social relationships, but these connections are not the reason the place exists. The primary purpose of a business or a non-profit church is to advance the mission of the organization. Although we do want people to get along, we don’t want our workplace relationships to become so overwhelming that they derail the company.

While this may sound obvious, it’s completely unlike the rest of our lives. We pick our friends and partners based on mutual interests and compatibilities. We choose our neighborhoods and our preferred form of entertainment based on our own culture and experience. If you meet a group of friends at a party, you are all there because you like each other. But if you join a group of colleagues at work and sadly at church, you are not necessarily friends. You are not a ‘family even though you are supposed to be.’ In the work place people are a team whose members have been carefully selected to have the right skills and the right attitude to make the organization a success.

It might seem like having close relationships at the office is inescapable. We are social creatures, and we like to make connections. In church life we are described as being part of the body of Christ Jesus. So, part of having friendships in our lives is helping people, doing favors, and listening when others need our support. These are all positive aspects of healthy relationships.

However, friendships formed in the various places can spill over into responsibilities. We may have to start to cover for people who are struggling, or we might expect special treatment in the office in exchange for the personal relationship we have developed. This problem becomes even more challenging when the relationship is between a person in a leadership position and an employee or a person in a group. In the church some people do all they can to win the approval and acceptance of the Pastor? They offer no benefit to the rest of the body of Christ but since the Pastor really likes them they get special preference. This is when favoritism is most pronounced and most frustrating to other people.

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