Moses – Freeing Yourself to Know God

Lesson 11: “The Pain of Unjust Criticism” Numbers 12; 16:1-15


“Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” Num. 12:8


Gaining perspective

·        It is one thing to receive personal criticism that is justified, it is quite another to be criticized unjustly, especially by those we thought we could trust. This week, we'll look at how Moses was criticized by his family, by the leaders who served under him, and by the whole congregation

·        Think of all that Moses has gone through up to this point, all the stress and turmoil he has endured. Moses would have given up long ago if he had to face all this alone. But God has never left Moses alone, God has been close to Moses all along


Unjust criticism from his own family

·        Aaron and Miriam seem to have been bitten by the jealousy bug. They tried to disguise their motives by criticizing Moses for marrying a Cushite woman. Why bring this up now?

·        But in Num. 12:2, they reveal the real reason for their hurtful attack on Moses. They wanted more of the spotlight. They wanted to be seen as great spiritual leaders, too.

·        Verse 3 tells more about Moses' character. Notice that Moses doesn't lash out at them.

·        God was listening though, and let Aaron and Miriam know in no uncertain terms that they weren't equals with Moses (12:8) and left a reminder (12:9-10)

·        Aaron, even though he has his flaws, immediately asks for forgiveness, and Moses asks God to heal Miriam! Again, Moses intercedes for people that have attacked him! (12:11-13)


Unjust criticism from his fellow leaders

·        Chapters 13 & 14 describe the lowest moment of this long trek through the desert. Because of their unbelief, those who left Egypt would not be allowed to see Canaan, and they would wander in the desert for 40 years (see 14:26-38, and 14:45)

·        A group of leaders who apparently failed to learn the lessons of those chapters came and openly opposed Moses. (16:1-3)

·        Moses and Aaron had never acted on their own desires. They leadership was a model of sacrifice and integrity. No wonder Moses was dumbfounded (16:4)

·        Moses immediately takes this to God, and doesn't try to fight this on his own (16:5-10) Like Aaron and Miriam, these leaders didn't seem satisfied with their positions (16:10)

·        And again, God showed that Moses had not equal, and these leaders were punished (16:11-35)


Unjust criticism from all Israel

·        But that doesn't end the sniping. The people grumble against Moses and Aaron (16:41) Hadn't they seen what had just happened? How could they think these leaders were "God's people"?

·        Again, God is incensed, and who can blame Him? God again wants to destroy them all (16:42-45) and again, Moses intercedes for them (16:46-50) Consider Hebrews 11:26 again.

3 Principles


#1) It is not always wrong to defend ourselves against unjust criticism, but we must do it God's way

#2) When we defend ourselves, our motives should never be vindictive

#3) There are times we should never try to defend ourselves but allow God to set the record straight


For next week read Numbers 20 & 27