Thursday, February 18, 2010

Submitting to Authority by Ann Wayne

Week 8: February 21-27
Scripture Reading:Numbers 7-21; Psalm 26-29
Key passages for this devotion: Numbers 12:1,2

“Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to serve as an intern for women’s ministry. It was an invitation that I truly honored and regarded as a privilege. I considered it a training ground for ministering to women as I felt that I have been called to reach out and help them overcome and heal. Little did I know, but it turned out to be not only about helping women but a lesson in submission for myself.

Many times I felt that my ideas were great and even had a vision for this ministry area. But because I was an intern, my place was to observe, learn and grow under authority. A shepherd, a chairman, a Core Team and the Senior Leadership at church would all be my authority. It was difficult at times, not to step over boundaries or cross the ranks of leadership. But I believe that by staying somewhat humble, my faith increased and I grew immensely by working with a team of other leaders and staff.

I would like to refer back to the story of Miriam and Aaron. As you know, Miriam was Moses’ sister and Aaron was his brother. Moses had been called by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land. In Numbers 12:1-2, we are told that “Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. 2Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked, “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this.
Some may say that this was a case of sibling rivalry or even a case of prejudice because Moses married an Ethiopian woman, who had a darker colored skin. Regardless, Miriam and Aaron sinned against God. They challenged Mose's and God's authority. And God confronted them. He came down in a pillar of cloud, stood at their tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam to come out. Not only did He confront them, he spoke clearly and boldly to them.
In Numbers 12:6-8,6, he said, “Listen to my words: “When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. 7But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. 8With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”

The Lord was very angry with them. He chastised them. When he left, Miriam stood there with her leprous body as if it had snowed on her. Aaron saw her and pleaded with Moses not to hold this sin against them. Aaron admitted to their foolishness and interceded for Miriam. Moses was a very humble man and he had compassion. He cried out to God for healing. God had mercy on her and told Moses to confine her seven days outside the camp and then she could be brought back.

Was all of this worth speaking against authority? I bet after it was over and done Miriam and Aaron would have taken a different route. They probably grew impatient as we all do at times. I know how difficult it can be to submit to authority and wait on answers. But in the long run, God will reward us for respecting those He has placed in authority over us. He sees the bigger picture and knows what is best. Even when we don’t understand the issues, if we will trust Him and those in authority, our peace will come and the blessings God has in store for us.

Ann Wayne has been a member of Crossroads Church since 2005, and is involved in Single’s Ministry, Women’s Ministry and Crossroads Communicators.  She is a single mom of three grown children, two precious grandchildren, and a mischievous black lab named Bailey.  She owns a Christian retreat cabin ( in the NC Mountains, and has a passion for ministering comfort and healing to women.  She enjoys writing, reading, hospitality and outdoor adventures.

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