4: Authority at work (Numbers 12:3)

Scripture ReadingNumbers 12:3

In Numbers 12, Moses’ brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam, tried to launch a revolt against his authority. They appeared to have a reasonable complaint, but in reality, their complaint was merely a pretext to launch a general rebellion with the aim of elevating themselves to positions of power.

God commands us to respect the authority of all leaders. This does not mean that leaders must never be questioned, held accountable, or even replaced. It does mean that whenever we have a grievance against those in legitimate authority, our duty is to discern the ways in which their leadership is a manifestation of God’s authority. We are to respect them for whatever portion of God’s authority they truly bear, even as we seek to correct, limit, or even remove them from power.

Although Moses was both powerful and in the right, he responded to the leadership challenge with gentleness and humility. If we are in positions of authority, we are likely to face opposition as Moses did. We may be offended by opposition and even recognize it as an offense against God’s purpose for us. We may well be in the right if we attempt to defend our position and defeat those who are attacking it. Yet, like Moses, we must care first for the people over whom God has placed us in authority, including those who oppose us. We act for the good of those God has entrusted to us, even at the expense of our comfort, power, prestige, and self-image.

We will know we are fulfilling this duty when we find ourselves advocating for those who oppose us.

Prayer: Lord, it is difficult to lead, and sometimes it is difficult to be led by others. Help me to be humble and discerning; may I both lead wisely and follow wisely in my workplace. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read The Challenge to Moses’ Authority (Numbers 12) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.

Author: Theology of Work Project

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