Old Testament Reading: Numbers 12 & 13
Psalms Reading: Psalm 65
New Testament Reading: 2 Corinthians 2
In the Numbers 12-13 reading today we start with what appears to be some sibling rivalry. Miriam and Aaron are sharing some negative murmurings about their brother Moses (verses 1 and 2) in what appears to be some pride or opposition to his leadership. Years after watching him float down the Nile river in a basket to safety to later lead the Hebrews out of bondage in Egypt, Miriam now sounds envious. But, while she and Aaron are whining for attention, verse 3 indicates quite a contrast in Moses. Moses was more humble than anyone on the face of the earth!
In this case, the word used for “humble” is a Hebrew word used of Israel itself many times in the OT, suggesting someone who is “poor, lowly, meek, depressed in circumstance, may be oppressed by rich and powerful. “
But, it appears that the LORD, who of course heard everything Miriam and Aaron said and thought, was displeased with what was in their heart. He rebukes their attitudes and speaking against His chosen servant. Miriam ends up with a leprous skin disease, banned from the camp for 7 days, and caused yet another bump along the road of the Israelites’ pursuit of the promised land. But, there was forgiveness and the chance to move forward, and in chapter 13 we find the Israelites starting to explore Canaan.
This story seems an example of what we see in Proverbs 3:34:
Proverbs 3:34, ESV: Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.
Miriam and Aaron in all their human efforts to be recognized, putting down others along the way, ended up chastised and scorned. Moses was in God’s favor. And while the definition we read of the word humble doesn’t sound all that appealing in some ways, God’s favor certainly does. We know verse 3 commends Moses for his humility, and as we seek to find God’s favor, it seems evident that being humble, lowly, and meek are crucial.
Numbers 13 starts with the exploration of the long-awaited Canaan, and in fact they finally saw the milk, honey, and fruit! But, they also saw the. . . men of great size! Forget that milk and honey! Did you hear about all those “-ites” mentioned in verse 29? And so, they spread some bad reports, show fear, and felt like grasshoppers in comparison. But, of course the LORD is not a grasshopper, and the LORD had told them where they were going, so we’ll have to keep reading this week to see what happened. And if you are looking for an interesting topic to study, check out the various thoughts/research available on the Nephilim mentioned in verse 33. Pretty interesting stuff!
- Who do you know who could be added to the list of most humble?
- How would you rank yourself on the humility/pride meter? What can you do to improve (lower?) your score? What is hardest for you about taking a lowly, meek attitude?
- What are God’s views and actions toward the humble and the prideful? What else do you learn about God in your reading today?