Numbers 12: A Critical Spirit
Who hasn't been critical of someone else and said, either aloud or inwardly, "Who does he think he is?" Often we don't understand the details of someone's actions or have all the facts. Our anxiety comes out of our mouths, and we not only hurt ourselves but sometimes damage the loyalty and well-being of others. This passage warns us about the dangers of criticism. When the children of Israel left Egypt, they had little sense of national identity and were not used to following a leader. Imagine what could have happened to Moses' confidence and to the people when the members of Moses' own family began to criticize his leadership.
Warming Up to God
What have you been thinking critical thoughts about lately?
Discovering the Word
- Of what two things are Miriam and Aaron critical?
- How does their view differ from God's evaluation of Moses?
- Miriam and Aaron's attack on their brother may have been provoked by his appointing seventy elders over Israel (11:16-17). How might the appointment of elders affect Miriam's status and feelings?
- How does the Lord respond to the criticisms of Miriam and Aaron (vv. 4-10)?
- What do we learn about Aaron and Moses from their response to this traumatic event (vv. 10-13)?
- Why do you think God carried out a seven-day punishment for Miriam (vv. 14-15)? Why didn't he punish Aaron in the same way?
Applying the Word
- How do you react when you feel your status or position is threatened?
- Why is the criticism of spiritual leaders especially dangerous?
Responding in Prayer
Sometimes God does give us important insights into situations. Pray that God will give you the knowledge to use this insight with a godly spirit, not a critical spirit.