Most of us are familiar with the statement, “Many are called but few are chosen.” Noah was chosen to build the ark, Abraham was chosen to be the father of many nations, Moses was chosen to lead God’s people out of Egypt, David was chosen to be Israel’s King and Paul was chosen to bring the good news of Jesus to the Gentiles. To be chosen is an honor few have experienced and not to be taken lightly. Many are also called by God, to preach, to be prophets, to teach or lead in other ways. However, there’s a difference in being called and being CALLED OUT.
While Moses led the people, God made His presence known in the form of a cloud that lingered above them anytime they traveled through the wilderness during the day. During times of rest, this cloud settled on top of the tabernacle. Moses’ brother Aaron and their sister, Miriam, also helped in leading the people…. with Miriam often taking charge of the women. She was a prophetess and much admired for her straightforward attitude.
Numbers 12 tells us that one day Aaron and Miriam were discussing their younger brother and speaking against him because Moses had married an Ethiopian woman. They asked, “Hath the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hath He not spoken through us also? And the Lord heard what they said.
Verse 3 tells us that Moses was a very meek man, more so than all other men upon the face of the earth. The Lord spoke suddenly to Aaron, Miriam and Moses and told them to come out to the tabernacle of the Lord, and the three of them came out.
Number 12: 5 And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle and called Aaron and Miriam; and they both came forth. 6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream. 7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. 8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? 9 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them; and he departed. 10 and the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and behold Miriam became leprous, white as snow, and Aaron looked upon Miriam and she was leprous.
11 And Aaron said to Moses, Alas. my lord, I beg you, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned. 12 Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he come out of his mother’s womb. 13 And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beg you. 14 And the Lord said unto Moses, if her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed for seven days? Let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again. 15 And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again.
How often have we all been guilty of saying negative things about our brother or sister….or complete strangers, for that matter? This might seem like a major punishment for such a small offense. But, as God pointed out, Moses was not merely their brother, or merely a prophet even….He was the one chosen by God to lead the people…. and their speaking against him would not be tolerated. Even though she was healed of leprosy, Miriam did not escape the shame of being shut away from everyone for seven days….and imagine the whispers of condemnation this caused from the people she had helped to lead.
As Miriam and Aaron learned, there are always consequences no matter how big or small the sin. What we might place on the level of a “white lie” can sometimes cause major problems for others and even though God is quick to forgive when asked, the consequences must be faced.
Another example of God calling out one of His own is found in the story of King David in 2 Samuel 12. After David had taken another man’s wife and ordered her husband to be killed in the front line of battle, God sent Nathan with an important message: Nathan told David a story of a rich man with many herds and flocks of sheep and a poor man that had only one female lamb that he loved and was raising along with his children. A traveler wandered onto the rich man’s land needing food. Not wanting to spare one of his own lambs to feed a stranger, the rich man took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for him to eat.
David grew angry at what the rich man did and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord liveth, the man that has done this thing must surely die. And he must restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.”
Then Nathan said to David, ” YOU are that man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel, I anointed you king over Israel and delivered you out of the hands of Saul; I gave you everything and would have given even more. Have you despised my commandment to do such evil in my sight? You have killed a man and taken his wife. Thus says the Lord, I will raise up evil against thy house and I will take thy wives and give them to your neighbor!”
David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Nathan told him, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die….However, because of what you’ve done, the child that is born to you shall surely die.” Then Nathan left.
Though David fasted and prayed for the Lord to spare the child, seven days after becoming ill, the infant died.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Just as David had to sacrifice his son to pay for his sin, God later willingly sent His own son, Jesus, to die for the sins of us all. God’s people are still being called for service….and called out by His Holy Spirit when we give in to the temptations of sin. 1 John 1:9 tells us that: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.