Reading through the Bible together

Thursday, August 23, 2012

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Miriam was a recognized leader in Israel. She was known as the sister who had protected the child Moses and skillfully negotiated for his care, thus preserving the future deliverer of Israel. She was a gifted poet and musician, having led the women of Israel in a song and dance on the shores of the Red Sea. In the affections of the people, she was only second to Moses and Aaron.

  

Since Aaron and Miriam had been chosen to help Moses, they regarded themselves as sharing equally with him in the burden of leadership. They regarded Jethro’s suggestion for further assistants unnecessary.

  

But Miriam and Aaron were blinded by jealously and said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” (Num.12:2). In addition, Miriam disapproved of the woman Moses had married. That he had chosen Zipporah, a Midianite woman and the daughter of Jethro to be his wife, rather than a Hebrew woman, Miriam considered offensive to the family. Aaron, instead of standing for the right and showing Miriam the sinfulness of her conduct, sympathized with her and thus came to share in her jealousy.

 

 Envy is one of the most satanic traits that can exist in the human heart. Had Miriam and Aaron’s conduct continued unchecked, it would have resulted in great evil. Instead, God humbled them and they confessed their sin. This was a warning to all Israel, to check the growing spirit of discontent and insubordination. We are held accountable for our words, and how we treat those to whom God has given the heavy responsibility of leadership.

  

But God’s judgment was tempered with mercy. Aaron and Miriam were forgiven and though stricken with leprosy, Miriam was healed. The people grieved for her and waited for her return, welcoming her back. That should be our attitude with those who have fallen.

 

 

Nancy Costa 

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