Thursday, April 28, 2016

The First Ministy Wife Criticized

It seems that people have been criticizing ministry wives for a long time.  How long?  How far back?  Waayyy back!

Who was the first ministry wife ever criticized?  Well…..I am not certain....but I was taken aback this week as I was reading in Numbers 12.  There we find Miriam and Aaron criticizing Moses... and the first reason given?  Because his wife was an Ethiopian…some translations will say Cushite.

Hummmm….why has it never hit me before?  Why have I not ever tuned in to the fact that a spiritual leader's wife was being criticized?  Perhaps it is because I read right past this part to the part where they continue to criticize Moses for his spirituality and gloss over the fact that people have been criticizing ministry wives for generations.

The interesting thing is the object of their criticism.  Where she was from!!!  No one has control over where they are from!!  Where they were born!!  Who their parents are!!

The other interesting thing is that we know from Exodus 3:16-22 that Moses married Zipporah, who was the daughter of a man from Midian—not Ethiopia.  So….what’s the deal? 
  • Has Zipporah died and Moses remarried?  If so, who cares where she is from??
  • Was Zipporah’s father originally from Ethiopia and when Moses met him he had moved to Midian?  If so, who cares?
  • Did Moses have multiple wives?  This seems unlikely.
  • Were they critical because of the color of her skin?  Really??  Do people care about the color of skin?  Sadly, yes.
  • Were the people making this up?  Sheesh!  Do people make up stuff?!!  Sadly, yes.

It seems to me a little thing….to be all upset and critical over where the wife of the spiritual leader is from.  I remember being concerned that people in our churches would not like the fact that I was not raised in a Godly, Christian home…I am very grateful that, as far as I know, it has not been an issue.

Sadly…this happens all of the time though.  People criticizing ministry wives for all sorts of reasons.  Some valid.  Some ridiculous.  Perhaps you have been brutally criticized by the people your husband leads.  Maybe not brutally….but criticized.  Truthfully though…any criticism can be brutal.

The other point I suppose I should make here is who was doing the criticizing.  The language used indicates that Miriam was the one leading the criticism.

Miriam.  Remember her? 

  • She was Moses’s big sister. 
  • She stood at a distance to see what would happen to her baby brother after he was placed in the river.  In a basket.
  • She approached Pharaoh’s princess and asked her if she could find someone to nurse the baby.
  • She led the women of Israel in worship with a tambourine and dancing and singing to the Lord after He hurled the enemy into the sea.  (Hummmm...I wonder if you or I would be criticized if we were dancing and singing to the Lord with a tambourine??!!)

According to these accounts in scripture….she trusted God.  She worshipped God.  She knew God.  She was Moses’ sister for crying out loud!!  And here we find her being critical. 

Yep!  Sometimes it is the people we are closest to, even related to, who we serve with, worship with, etc. who are critical and it hurts even worse.

I get much satisfaction in what God does….how He responds to her criticism.  Read it for yourself in Numbers 12.  She is covered with leprosy.  Covered.  She has to go outside of the camp…His judgment is public.  Everyone is aware.  Severe.

I am so on the side of Moses and his wife here and grateful the Lord vindicates them (and us) and how comforting it is to rest in knowing that He not only is aware of what people say and do against His spiritual leaders…He deals with them!

However….we must also not forget that we are sometimes guilty of doing the same thing.  Being critical.  Complaining about people.  People in leadership.  People in authority over us. 

Have you been criticized?  For what?  Are you being criticized now?  For what? Rest knowing God can still deal with those who criticize you.

Have you been critical?  For what?  Are you being critical now?  For what?  Give much grace today!

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