“And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned.”
Numbers 12:11

Miriam and Aaron raised their voices in protest because Moses had taken an Ethiopian wife. In doing so, they sought to justify their wrong attitudes by reasoning that God could speak to them as well as to Moses. They were way out of line as far as their conduct was concerned. God heard their words, and His anger was kindled against them. Miriam was stricken with leprosy. Aaron repented, confessing to Moses that they had sinned and acted foolishly.

In addressing Moses, Aaron referred to him as “my lord.” The word lord means “sovereign or master.” Aaron addressed Moses with the deepest respect and demonstrated a truly submissive attitude. The thing that makes this exchange even more noteworthy is when you consider how this trio was related. Aaron, Moses, and Miriam were siblings, children born to Amram and Jochebed. Aaron called his brother “lord.” This is a great example of respect for a position of authority. Although Moses, Aaron, and Miriam shared the same parents and were in every way equal as far as their family positions were concerned, God had placed Moses in a place of leadership and authority. We can assume that because they were all related by blood, Aaron and Miriam would feel that they deserved special privilege with Moses. Their comment about how God spoke to them as well as Moses makes it clear that they were having a problem with Moses’ leadership.

This scene is all too familiar for the honest Christian. Struggling with the decision or direction of those God places in authority over us is something most have experienced. We have all had those we are commanded to submit to, that we have disagreed with on some issue. It makes it even more challenging if they happen to be close friends or even related to us. There is a very natural tendency to think of them only in terms of their human relationship and forget the position that God has placed them in. Familiarity can cause us to treat them in a way that does not respect the position they occupy. Aaron understood his error and quickly adjusted his attitude and behavior. It took a moment, but he was able to recognize that his brother was also his spiritual leader. We need to do the same.