Friday, December 4, 2009

Pause and Ponder--Twelve: Four

Numbers 12:4

And suddenly the Lord said to Moses and Aaron and to Miriam,
"You three come out to the tent of meeting."
So the three of them came out.




For this verse, we need context.  Let's pop back to verse 1 of Numbers 12:

Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman); and they said, "Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses?  Has He not spoken through us as well?" And the Lord heard it. (Emphasis mine)


(ouch)

Since Miriam's name is listed first in verse one and, if you read the remainder of Chapter 12, you will see that God smites her with leprosy (which is an Old Testament picture of sin) it is safe to deduce that Miriam instigated the "talk" about Moses.


From Num 12:1 it appears that Miriam and Aaron do not like Moses' new wife.  However, the remainder of the thought (verse 2) records their words and there we see the root, and the heart of their discussion...

"Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses?
Has He not spoken through us as well?"

All sin, all, has it's root in pride... you just have to dig deep enough.

And what is the center of pride?

pride

"I" or better yet "self" is at the center of pride and the center of sin.
See...

sin
(Examples are: I know best, I want this, I don't want that, I can't, I, I, I... yi yay!)

Whether or not Miriam and Aaron's discussion started out in innocent concern, we do not know.
We only know how it ended.  It ended in envy.

Miriam and Aaron were questioning why their "baby" brother was in charge and not them.

I understand why it would be hard to take orders from their baby brother.

Their mother hid Moses and cared for him for three months.

Aaron and Miriam lived as slaves.

Moses spent his childhood in the palace of Pharaoh being groomed as a prince of Egypt.

Aaron and Miriam lived as slaves.

Moses made a poor choice and ran away from his problems... for forty years.

Aaron and Miriam lived as slaves.

 But God sees all and knows all.  He sees our hearts and He knows the plan He has for His people.
All throughout the Old Testament, Moses is a one of many men that are a "picture" of Jesus.
We see it in this chapter when Moses intercedes on behalf of Miriam and prays for healing from the leprosy.

But even without considering all of that, when they question God's choice of servant, they are questioning the sovereignty and wisdom of God Himself.

"Why did he get a promotion?" is really, "God, did you make a mistake?"

"I can't believe she got a book deal!" means, "I'm way better than her and I don't have a book deal."

In short, it's envy-- it's wanting something that God, in His wisdom and timing, has not provided.

So what do we do with that?

It's easy to say, "Well, everyone, don't be envious."

Yeah, except we are not yet in our perfected bodies and we still sin and we're still practicing righteousness.

So what do we do?

This is what I do.

"Why Lainie! Are you confessing you are envious?"

Yup.

I still have a pulse.  I dream of doing things and having things and going places.
The funny part is... I see other people living out "my" dreams and sometimes I feel like I'm the only one without an "invitation to the party" so to speak.

What do I do?

Like Miriam, I talk.

I just try not to talk to my "Aarons" or my brothers and sisters in the Lord.

I go out to the "tent of meeting" by myself and honestly lay it all out before the Lord,

See my thinking is, eventually, I'm going to end up there anyway (just like Miriam and Aaron).
I would just rather not be in trouble while I'm there.

I take my dreams and my desires and I lay them in front of a certain pair of scarred feet and remind myself of Psalm 84:11,

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory:
no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.

I have to remind myself of this verse... a lot.  I have issues with discontentment.
It's getting better but it is such an easy trap to step into.  All it usually takes is a question.

"Why?"  Or, "Who?" Perhaps, even a well placed, "What?" and the next thing I know--

I'm discontent and whining to the Lord about something or another.

That's when I also remind myself of this verse:


Proverbs 18:21 says,
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

I like fruit.  Good, sweet, fresh fruit... not soggy, bruised, gross fruit.

When I complain it's like a mouthful of disgusting fruit.  Ugh.... *shudder*

But, when I practice, thanking God for what I do have and thanking Him, even more importantly, for what I don't have (that a few years ago I was certain I wanted and really, really needed) it is sweet, refreshing fruit in my mouth.

I'm practicing having a grateful heart before God and I'm practicing contentment in my circumstances.

In short, I'm practicing wanting and enjoying Him, the giver of all things. All my wanting drives me to Him in one way or another and it's in Him that "I shall be satisfied."

5 comments:

Abigail said...

Thank you very much Mom. (And yes it made total sense.) I needed that.

Ann said...

we were in 2 Kings 5 today at church in Cali. Naamans healing of leprosy and the thing that really struck me this time through was the little maid. She was taken from her home, her family and placed in an ungodly home...but...the Lord had a reason for her being there. She was instrumental in the healing of Naaman.

It is another picture for me to see that though we may not see the "why's" in our lives that we can still trust in the Lord and His plan. And in that trust find contentment. Sometimes it is enough to just remember God is sovereign and has it all and
sometimes is nice to see something from start to finish so you can remember...if the Lord has her (the little maid) He has me (and you) too.

We serve an amazing God don't we? Ahhhhhhhh

Ann said...

And of course I was tested on that trust and contentment just a few hours after my comment...:) Work in progress!!

Lainie said...

What happened (per se :)?

Ann said...

I was struggling with the fact that the Lord has placed me in a family, even if by His permissive will, that I would not choose. (step dad's family) and trying to choose to be a blessing to them when every fleshly emotion in me is fighting it.

But step dad and mom are now going to church every Sunday and this last one was my first opportunity to join with both of them. It was good.

Looking for something??