Draw Close to God

Jehovah Values Meekness

Numbers 12:1-15

PRIDE, jealousy, ambition. Such traits are common among those who manage to get ahead in this world. But do characteristics like that bring us close to Jehovah God? On the contrary, Jehovah values meekness in his worshippers. This is evident from the account found in Numbers chapter 12. The setting is the wilderness of Sinai, following Israel’s deliverance from Egypt.

Miriam and Aaron, the older siblings of Moses, “began to speak against” their younger brother. (Verse 1) Rather than just speaking to Moses, they spoke against him, likely spreading their complaints in the camp. Miriam, who is mentioned first, apparently took the lead. The first ground for the murmuring was that Moses had married a Cushite woman. Was Miriam jealous that she might be eclipsed by this other woman​—a non-Israelite at that?

The roots of the grumbling went deeper. Miriam and Aaron kept saying: “Is it just by Moses alone that Jehovah has spoken? Is it not by us also that he has spoken?” (Verse 2) Was the real motive for the murmuring a desire for more power and recognition?

In the account, Moses did not answer the complaints himself. Evidently, he quietly endured the abuse. His patient response affirmed the Bible’s description of him as “the meekest of all the men” on the earth. * (Verse 3) Moses did not have to defend himself. Jehovah was listening, and he stood up for Moses.

Jehovah took the murmuring personally. After all, he had appointed Moses. Rebuking the murmurers, God reminded them that he had a unique relationship with Moses: “Mouth to mouth I speak to him.” Jehovah then asked Miriam and Aaron: “Why, then, did you not fear to speak against . . . Moses?” (Verse 8) By speaking against Moses, they were really guilty of speaking against God. For such gross disrespect, they would feel the heat of divine anger.

Miriam, the apparent instigator, was stricken with leprosy. Aaron immediately implored Moses to intercede for her. Just imagine​—Miriam’s welfare now depended on the intercession of the one they had wronged! Moses meekly did as he was asked. Speaking for the first time in this account, Moses earnestly entreated Jehovah in behalf of his sister. Miriam was healed, but she had to endure the shame of a seven-day period of quarantine.

This account gives us insight into the qualities that Jehovah values and the traits that he opposes. If we want to draw close to God, we must strive to uproot any traces of pride, jealousy, and ambition we might see in ourselves. It is the meek whom Jehovah loves. He promises: “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”​—Psalm 37:11; James 4:6.

[Footnote]

^ par. 4 Meekness is a strong quality that enables a person to endure injustice with patience and without vindictiveness.