We sometimes get the idea that prophecy is about future events. This is not always the case. Prophecy relates to God’s revelation of His purpose, will, and heart. Some prophecy refers to the future purpose of God, but a good part of prophecy speaks to the here and now.
A quick search for the phrase “the Lord spoke to Moses” in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy show us that the phrase is repeated about 79 times in these books. This is significant. It shows us that Moses had a significant role to play in revealing the purpose of God to his people. That purpose was not only explained in specific details, as in the case of the young man who cursed the Lord but also through the various laws God gave Moses as recorded in Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. All these requirements came directly from God through His servant Moses.
We see the significance of this prophetic role of Moses when his brother and sister complained that he had married a Cushite woman (Numbers 12:1). Their complaint did not stop there, however. They went on to grumble about the prophetic ministry of Moses:
2 And they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. (Numbers 12)
Miriam was described as a prophetess in Exodus 15:20. When Moses told God that he could not speak, God told him that He would make his brother Aaron his prophet (see Exodus 4:14-16). Both Miriam and Aaron felt they had a prophetic gift and calling. What they were seeing, however, is that the Lord was speaking much more through Moses. The people were looking to him to seek that Lord on their behalf. There may have been an element of jealousy here in these siblings. What is crucial for us to see, however, is that the gift of prophecy was not limited to Moses.
When the Lord heard Aaron and Miriam grumbling about Moses and his prophetic calling, He demanded that they approach Him at the tabernacle. That day Moses, Miriam and Aaron all stood before God to hear from Him. As they stood before Him, a pillar of cloud came and remained at the entrance to the tabernacle.