A brand new year. Not just a new year, a brand new decade is standing before us, fresh and clean, ready to be lived.
How does it make you feel?
I always start wondering about what the new year will bring. What will make me laugh? What will I cry over? What will scare me in the new year?
It can be overwhelming. The newness. The uncertainty. How are we supposed to hold it together?
Speaking of holding it together, wandering in the wilderness like the Israelites was a constant exercise in holding it together. Talk about the unknown!
And different people have different coping methods. Some people recharge with time alone. Some people indulge. And others cope by complaining and gossiping to anyone who will listen.
Enter Miriam and Aaron.
For grown people, Miriam and Aaron act surprisingly catty in this chapter. They trash talk Moses, wondering why he was getting special treatment (verse 2). They even get a little racist, talking about Moses marrying a Cushite, and not an Israelite (verse 1).
And even though only two verses are dedicated to their gossiping and whining, the punishment God gives them is much more significant.
A bout of leprosy, and many tears and prayers later, God forgives Miriam and Aaron. And something tells me they’ll think twice before talking bad about their brother again.
Haters, Bullies, and Enemies, Oh My!
I love this chapter.
Not cause mean girls get their comeuppance.
Not cause the punishment was swift and deserved.
I love it because of how fiercely God defends His son.
In verse 2 it says God “heard” Miriam and Aaron when they were talking bad about Moses. They were probably huddled together, talking low, glancing around to make sure no one was around – but it didn’t matter. God heard them. And that’s all it took.
God didn’t just hear them and shake His head at their pettiness, He did something about it. He called all three of them together and wasted no time telling Miriam and Aaron how wrong they were (verse 8).
And then He punished them. I wonder why Aaron didn’t get leprosy while Miriam did. Maybe Aaron was doing more listening than trash-talking. But whatever the situation, God judged and doled out the consequences to Miriam.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel safe.
I feel safe because I know that the same God that thundered in to the aid of His beloved servant is the same God that will defend you and me.
When people talk about you – God will hear those words.
When haters try to tell you that you aren’t worth anything or you can’t accomplish anything – God will defend you.
When it feels like nowhere is safe – not school, not work, not home – from shame, from racism, from inequality, from danger, from threats – God will punish your enemies, your haters, your bullies.
How does that make you feel?
Humble? Humble. This chapter describes Moses as “more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (verse 3). That sounds like wild hyperbole.
But what if Moses grasped something that we don’t?
See, no matter how many times we remind ourselves that God hears what our enemies are planning, that God will defend us, that God will punish our bullies – we still strike out on life alone.
We still feel like we have to hold it together. We still feel as if we have to make sure we are as perfect as possible. We still feel as if everything is all on us.
Not only is that a heavy burden, but it’s a burden that leads to pride. I got this. And when success and victory come, it’s all me. I did that.
But when we really believe and really understand that God is our protector, that God is our guide, that God makes the decisions, keeps us safe, hands us victories, and shields us from dangers and pains and struggles that we never even knew about?
Then we realize that we don’t got this. It isn’t all us. We did not do that.
And we are humbled.
When we grasp that God is our literal bodyguard, the literal Author and Finisher of our faith, we are humble. And safe. And protected. And confident.
2020 isn’t looking so scary now, is it?
“Hide Behind Me.”
Will we? Every step of the way?
When we take on more responsibility at work and coworkers start getting jealous? When a loved one gets sick? When a relationship turns toxic? When another young black person is gunned down by a police officer? When your government leaders implement policies that hurt you? When your bank account is overdrawn? When someone you love dies?
When we feel alone?
When we feel attacked?
When we are terrified? Or hopeless? Or depressed?
We are not alone. We have a Protector. A Defender. An Advocate.
Say it again.
I am not alone.
A new year? A new decade? Bring it on.
What do you think? What is coming up in 2020 that you are relying on God for strength to get through? Comment below and share this post with others!