1. When was the last time you said way too much at a family gathering? Was it taken as humorous, or did it do harm? Were you able to recover from what you said?


From the moment the Israelites crossed the Red Sea out of Egypt, they complained to Moses. They complained about the water, the food, and the wilderness. Most of all, they complained about God and Moses’ leadership. In this story, the complaining hits close to home as Moses’ brother and sister challenge his speaking for God. From God’s response, it appears that Aaron’s and Miriam’s statement about Moses’ Cushite wife was a cover for their jealousy of Moses. We don’t know if this wife is one Moses married years before, or if she is a new bride to him.

God’s Story

Read Numbers 12: 1-16.

Finding My Story in God’s Story

2. Imagine you’re standing behind a tree near these three siblings and listening to their interaction. What most grabs your attention?

    1. How strongly Miriam and Aaron spoke—they really took him on.
    2. Moses’ ability to take their accusations—no way I’d take that.
    3. Miriam really did have a good point—what’s the problem?
    4. I jumped when God showed up—God must like surprises.
    5. Other __________.

3. Instead of confronting Aaron and Miriam in front of the whole crowd, why do you think God took the three aside to talk with them?

    1. God acted like a good parent to not scold in public.
    2. God needed a couple of minutes to cool down.
    3. God wanted Miriam and Aaron to think about what they’d done.
    4. The Tent of Meeting was a good place to refocus on God’s purpose for each of them.
    5. Other __________.

4. Why do you think Miriam was the only one punished for speaking against Moses? She even had to fulfill the embarrassing 7-day quarantine and holding up the Israelites’ travel plans.

    1. She deserved it because she spoke the most.
    2. As a woman in their culture, she would get the worst of any situation.
    3. She was a stronger person than Aaron, so could take the embarrassment better.
    4. It seems unfair because Aaron was obviously egging her on.
    5. Other __________.

5. Note all the affirmations that God gave to Moses. What influence do you suppose that had on Moses when his leadership was being sabotaged by his sister and brother?

6. Reflect on a time when you were blindsided by someone’s jealousy or distrust of you or your leadership. Perhaps over an issue that still haunts you. Who attacked you?

How did you respond?

  1. I struck back, and hard.
  2. I talked to a confidante to get help.
  3. I asked the person to tell me why they had a problem with me.
  4. I just took it quietly and tried to learn from it.
  5. Other __________.

If you have never experienced such pushback, reflect on a similar situation you’ve seen a close friend go through. Again, who attacked them? How did they respond?

7. Notice how quickly Aaron and Moses pleaded with God to heal Miriam—and God did it, though Miriam had ongoing consequences. Whom do you know that would step up to support you if you were facing criticism from others?

8. When you look at this story, what is the biggest lesson you need to take away from it?

    1. Get over my jealousy of others.
    2. Avoid criticizing.
    3. Find helpful ways to confront issues I think need resolving.
    4. Accept criticism and learn from it.
    5. Other __________.

Our Story

9. From the answers group members gave today, which one will help you this week?

10. How can this group help you work through the “haunting” or help you “learn” a continuing lesson this week?

    1. Remember to pray for me a couple of times this week.
    2. Text me midweek to see how I’m doing.
    3. Pray for me right now.
    4. Other ___________.

Let the leader close the meeting with a brief prayer for group members and what they will experience in the week ahead.