Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?’ they asked, “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this. (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth). At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out of the Tent of Meeting, all three of you.” So the three of them came out. Numbers 12:1-4
This story hit home as I am one of three siblings. When growing up, if my parents summoned all three of us at the same time, we knew we were in for it. Pointing fingers and deflecting blame were useless; with the three of us there, truth and justice would prevail.
Two lines speak to me in this sibling drama. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” Typical brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam felt that they are entitled to the same perks Moses enjoyed and were dissatisfied with the trifecta’s balance of powers. I have shared this sense of unfairness when someone else received favor I thought I deserved (notice the number of I’s in this sentence). Moses didn’t carry that sense of entitlement. He did quite the opposite. “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” Historically, especially when relating siblings, I have had more in common with Aaron and Miriam than Moses. I suspect that Moses’s humility was the result of his time spent in the presence of God and that it was accompanied with heartfelt gratitude and contentment. I want these qualities in my life.
Lastly, in this family drama, I appreciated how flames of sibling love leapt from the ashes of discord when Aaron and Moses cried out to God to restore Miriam’s health. I recognized childhood patterns of sibling behavior; when justice was administered we were usually the first to plead for leniency for the offending sibling. Truth be told, all knew three of us knew that we had played a part in creating the drama. Looking back at those family years, I recognized that it was preparation for the harder realities of life outside my immediate family. Life isn’t fair and often those I deem unworthy are favored, but here’s the true order of things: God is God and I am not. He sees all, knows all and holds all in his hands (Colossians 1:15-18). No matter what my age, I pray that God exposes my petty and futile power grabs so that I trust in his goodness and grow in the humility perfected in Christ.