The wilderness experience in the book of Numbers was a profound learning experience to the Israelites. God taught them, formed them, and worked on them for forty years with a purpose of transforming them into a nation that is distinct and set apart for his holy purposes.
But their formation process was not without struggles. One area that they struggled with was the area of attitude transformation. They needed to put off old attitudes that naturally leads to failure and slavery and put on new attitudes that lead to success and freedom.
Their experiences remain relevant for us today in our spiritual walk with God.
Christian life is a life that should lead to holistic transformation. All our human faculties should be transformed by God’s word: mind, heart, affections, will, and emotions.
Biblically, our minds and the framework of our thinking should experience Christ’s transformation just like our hearts. Briefly, Romans 12:2 exhorts us: “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”; and Philippians 2:6 “your attitude should be the same as that of Christ.”
Attitude of Rebellion Vs Attitude of Submission
In every area of life God has established authority and authority structures to bring about order. He ordains specific leaders for specific tasks. In a family, church, at workplace, and in any nation God has established authority and put specific people to be stewards of power and authority.
But a natural tendency is to undermine those structures and them that occupy those positions of authority.
In the Exodus story, Moses was ordained by God as the lawgiver and prophet to the nation of Israel. But Moses’ brother (Aaron) and sister (Miriam) started to despise and talk ill about him.
“Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?’ They asked. ‘Hasn’t he also spoken through us?’ (Num. 12:1-2).
In other words, Miriam and Aaron were claiming that they can as well perform the duties Moses was doing. And perhaps even do it better. They might have thought, ‘what Moses can do/say we can do/say it even better’. Perhaps in their hearts they conversed about their combined base of influence, popularity and fame as opposed to Moses. This was pride in disguise.
They had forgotten one thing: that it was not them but Moses that God chose and ordained for the task of delivering the nation of Israel from slavery. God did not appear to Miriam or Aaron in a burning bush but to Moses. It is not to Miriam or Aaron that God revealed himself but to and through Moses.
Moses’ humility was misinterpreted as a weakness. His speech problem and the struggle with eloquence was mistaken with incompetency. And the two thought they can outsmart him anyway.
But here is the harsh truth, God in his wisdom “chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of the world and the despised things- and the things that are not- to nullify the things that are so that no one may boast before him” (1 Cor. 1:27-29).
God in his wisdom is free to use whomever he wishes for his holy purposes. He chooses the weak so that he may qualify. You don’t have to be perfect to be used of God. You only have to be a clean vessel. God delighted in speaking through Moses not because he was a perfect man free from flaws, failures or weaknesses but because he was humble and desired God’s power and presence more than anything else.
In comparing themselves with Moses they, Aaron and Miriam were getting it all wrong. Basically, they were trying to usurp Moses’ authority at the same time rebel God’s authority. As a result, the anger of the Lord burned against them. Talk of, an attitude of rebellion. It is sin (against God) to have wrong attitudes. It is sin to be rebellious. Rebellion is sin. A change of attitude is therefore desirable; an attitude that Moses had. We need to:
Develop an attitude of submission– We need an attitude that embraces God’s authority and respects those God has ordained in leadership. We may be better gifted, educated, experienced, and talented but that does not nullify God’s anointing on someone else. Moses did not have to fight those who were opposing him; he left the fight to God because he was submissive under God’s authority. A submissive attitude is an attitude that was in Christ. We explicitly see it when we read of his submission to human authorities even during his crucifixion and his submission to death. he had absolute powers to defend himself but did not. That is submission truly exemplified.
God desires that we develop right attitudes in life. Attitudes that can make us effective and productive in our walk with him. One of them is submissive attitude.