5th Wednesday after Easter

Psalm 33, Numbers 12, Luke 6:37–42

The Bible doesn’t say what event or interaction incited Aaron and Miriam to openly oppose Moses. Whether the Cushite woman was Zipporah—who Moses married prior to Israel’s exodus from Egypt—or another woman (Jewish and Christian scholars are unclear) it didn’t really matter (to God, at least). Aaron and Miriam were looking for a cause to sow discord and take the mantle of leadership from Moses. Some scholars believe that by calling Moses humble leadership had been a long-simmering issue, and Moses had kept his mouth shut (publically, at least). The “sudden” interjection by God tells us that something had to happen. God saw that things were going awry.

As only Miriam received the penalty, we could assume that she was the instigator. One could argue, though, that if Aaron was no longer clean, who would intercede for him. Moses? There is another lesson. Miriam was put outside the camp. The camp waited for her. After she was determined clean, she was brought back into the community.

Often people will use petty, visual or emotional things to tear another person down. We see it daily in politics. If, for example, the wife of Moses in question was Zipporah, God called Moses after he married her. That should have been an indicator. If there was some other question, then it should have been more specific. Cushites weren’t a banned people. A phrase that we would be familiar with is “a red herring” or “a straw man”.

While the case against Aaron and Miriam would seem to be rather strong, why tie Jesus’ words regarding judging into this? Often we judge others based on less knowledge and more feeling. We are often told to trust our gut when avoiding things or situations. However, we are still bound to test ourselves to make sure we are not judging others. Judging is a hard word that is often misused. Judging is specific regarding making critical analysis and condemning the person to the penalty (death or excommunication, predominately). Judging is not comparing behavior to scripture, yet one has to be careful in making assumptions regarding the heart, for that is God’s domain.

1) Have you ever experienced a situation like Moses? What do you think were the motivators in that situation?

2) In your own words, how would you define discernment and judgment?

3) Why is understanding discernment and judgment essential to having a fully functional Very Good Life with others?