Numbers 12:1-16

Daybreak for Students

Numbers 12:1-16

OVERVIEW
DAYBREAK
Numbers 12
And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. — Numbers 12:13

Rees Howells, the son of a Welsh coal miner, was a man taught of God about prevailing prayer. Early in his Christian experience, the Holy Spirit laid a burden on his heart for a young man named Will Battery. Liquor had a hold on Will, and his life had gone from bad to worse until even his sanity was in question. When Rees became acquainted with him, Will had not slept in a bed for two years, but spent his nights on the boilers at the tin mill. He was dirty and unshaven; he wore no socks and never tied his shoelaces. The Welsh revival had spread through the district and hundreds had been converted, but no one had reached Will. It was for this man that Rees Howells found the Holy Spirit urging him to intercede.

In later years, Rees told of this experience. “It wouldn’t have come to my mind to love him,” he said, “but when the Holy Ghost comes in, He brings in the love of the Saviour. It seemed as if I could lay down my life for this man; there was a love pouring out of me that I never knew before.” Rees made this man his friend, and spent his free time with him. He had more joy in seeking to win this one, he said, than at chapel in the company of other believers. The work was not done in a few weeks or months, but eventually prayer prevailed and Will Battery became a child of the King.

Like Rees Howells, Moses chose to love the unlovely, and to pray for those whom man might have deemed unworthy. In today’s text, Moses’ own brother and sister turned against him and criticized his choice of a wife and his leadership. God punished Miriam by smiting her with leprosy. Moses responded in a manner consistent with his meek and humble spirit — he “cried unto the Lord” on her behalf. God answered his prayer, but though Miriam’s leprosy was healed, she still had to pay a penalty for her wrongdoing.

Are we willing to be intercessors for God? If we are faithful to Him, we can count on Him to hear and answer the prayers we pray. All may win the commendation for faithfulness that Moses received.

BACKGROUND

Moses had endured the criticism of the people of Israel on various occasions. However, in today’s text block, his sister Miriam and his brother Aaron, his two closest associates, turned against him. God himself had chosen Moses to be the leader of this great people, but jealousy crept into the hearts of Aaron and Miriam. Though Aaron was Israel’s high priest, and Miriam was a prophetess, they wanted more honor. Since they could not find fault with the way Moses was leading the people, they chose to criticize his wife.

The fact that Moses, a man who had withstood the Pharaoh of Egypt and had led a multitude to freedom, would quietly take the taunts of his brother and sister indicates the transformation that had taken place in his character. Apparently, Moses took no notice of Aaron and Miriam’s complaint, but God heard and called Aaron and Miriam to account for their actions. They learned that their own special standing did not entitle them to criticize and rebel against Moses, the one called to lead Israel and to receive divine revelation. Aaron submitted and cried out, confessing that they had done foolishly and sinned. Miriam was punished with leprosy, showing the seriousness of her sin of speaking against a servant of the Lord, to whom God had revealed Himself in a uniquely intimate manner.

Moses proved his character by immediately interceding for Miriam, praying, “Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee” (Numbers 12:13). God answered Moses’ prayer and Miriam was healed.

AMPLIFIED OUTLINE

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)

II.   The journey from Sinai to the plains of Moab
     A.   The journey to Kadesh-Barnea
            4.   The rebellion at Hazeroth (12:1-16)
                   a.   The murmuring of Miriam and Aaron (12:1-3)
                   b.   The appearance of the Lord (12:4-8)
                   c.   The judgment upon Miriam (12:9-10)
                   d.   The confession of Aaron (12:11-12)
                   e.   The intercession of Moses (12:13-16)

A CLOSER LOOK

  1. What did God say to Aaron and Miriam about Moses? 

  2. What might have been the reason behind the critical attitude Aaron and Miriam evidenced toward Moses? 

  3. What lesson does this chapter teach us about respect for those God has put in authority? How can we demonstrate that respect in today’s world?

CONCLUSION

Moses sought God’s benediction even for those who criticized him. May God help us, like Moses, to model grace under fire and a willingness to pray for those who despitefully use us.