There is so much going on in this chapter. There were a lot of different things I could have highlighted. But I decided to go in the direction I did because it goes along with one of my favorite hymns, "Praise to the Lord." My favorite line from this hymn says: Praise to the Lord who prospers your work and defends you.
God defends us. Did you notice that from this chapter of Numbers? Aaron and Miriam, the brother and sister of Moses, had turned against him and started to talk badly about him behind his back. They questioned the relationship between the Lord and Moses. "'Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?' they asked. 'Hasn’t he also spoken through us?'" (vs 2)
Since Moses was just asking God in the last chapter to either help him out with the people or just kill him and get it over with, it makes you wonder exactly what Aaron and Miriam had to be so jealous about. But, for whatever reason, they were totally jealous and trying to undermine the authority of Moses.
Did you find verse 3 interesting? "(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)" The Lord had heard what Aaron and Miriam had been saying, and we can only assume that it had gotten back around to Moses as well. Yet, what is Moses’s response? Nothing. He doesn’t defend himself.
But God defends him. He comes right to Miriam and Aaron and answers their questions about those who speak for God:
"He said, 'Listen to my words:
'When there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions,
I speak to them in dreams.
But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.
With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles.'" (vs 6-7)
I love that! God comes and basically says, Here you are, thinking that Moses is just like any other prophet in Israel. Oh, he’s a prophet, all right, but he is not just ANY prophet. Because of the kind of person he is, I am able to speak to him in a way that I can’t speak to any other prophet!
Wow! Moses doesn’t have to defend himself; God comes right to his defense. Later in the chapter, we see more evidence of Moses’s humility, as he asks God to heal Miriam of her skin disease. Please, Lord, don’t hold her foolishness against her. Moses is so much like the Lord, caring tenderly about Miriam, even though she had just been trying to turn the people against him.
There’s a good lesson in this for us. Next time you feel under attack, remember, you don’t have to defend yourself. No matter if the attack is coming from family, friends, co-workers, or even the devil himself, God is our sure defender. Praise to the Lord — He prospers our work and defends us!