Words of Faith 6-15-2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, "Come out to the Tent of Meeting, all three of you." So the three of them came out.  Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When both of them stepped forward,  he said, "Listen to my words:
"When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.  But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house.  With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?"
 The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them.
 When the cloud lifted from above the Tent, there stood Miriam--leprous, like snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had leprosy;  and he said to Moses, "Please, my lord, do not hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed.  Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother's womb with its flesh half eaten away."
 So Moses cried out to the Lord, "O God, please heal her!"
 The Lord replied to Moses, "If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back."  So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back.
 After that, the people left Hazeroth and encamped in the Desert of Paran.
The envious grumbling of Miriam and Aaron had not gone unnoticed by the Lord. Of course not. The Lord hears everything we say and sees everything we do! So, it is better to say that the Lord did not overlook their disrespect toward Moses. The Lord responded to this one.
The scene is really remarkable. The Lord God called Moses, Miriam, and Aaron before Him. He descended in a pillar of cloud and spoke to them a revealing oracle. In essence, the Lord declared that Moses is not like any other prophet. He is not a regular old run-of-the-mill prophet who speaks in riddle the truths of God he has seen in dreams and visions.
That type of prophet is wonderful enough. But Moses had spoken face to face with God! He had seen the “form” of the Lord in as much as any human could ever see the Lord. It is possible that Moses actually communicated with the pre-incarnate Christ, who co-existed with the Father for all time. This places Moses in a category different from every other prophet that would come in the history of Israel.
And the point of all this? The question of the Lord to Miriam and Aaron: “Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” You should have known better. You should have been more humble. You should have realized that Moses is quite different than either of you and the prophesies you have experienced. The anger of the Lord burned against them, and the cloud left.
The departure of the cloud revealed a horrifying judgment! Miriam was white with leprosy. The result of this judgment was that Miriam, the principal offender against her brother Moses, had become a pariah, an outcast. She now suffered from the type of infectious skin disease that would exclude her from the community of Israel forever!
In a way, it was an outward manifestation of the inner sin that had been eating at her soul. Apparently, Aaron was spared the actual disease because he had not been the leader in this criticism. Still, he now had the pain of seeing his sister in this terrible state, knowing that he had done nothing to prevent it.
Aaron pleaded with Moses for the mercy of the Lord. Apparently, Aaron had gotten the message that Moses was someone to respect. Moses cried out to the Lord for mercy and healing upon his sister. The Lord’s response was merciful but was in keeping with the Law. She had to be confined outside of camp for seven days. For seven days, Miriam was isolated and able to reflect upon her harsh criticism as well as her pride and prejudice.
What do we gain from this? We are not likely to speak against Moses. Certainly, there is some warning against speaking against the prophet of God. But more specifically, we see the overall danger of a critical spirit. Criticism is a sort of leprosy of the soul. Criticism is quite different from joining to help in the way that Moses' father-in-law did. Criticism never has as its goal the building up of the Body or the improvement of the situation. Criticism is aimed at tearing down another building up self.
The Apostle Paul warned the church at Galatia-- “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out, or you will be destroyed by each other” (Galatians 5:15). He also advised the Corinthians-- “But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment” (1 Cor. 11:31). If we would just look inward with the aid of the Holy Spirit, we would find the things that really need to be changed.
Have you sensed a critical spirit in yourself? A readiness to tear down rather than build up? Have you been the leader or the follower in conversations that criticize leaders, workers, or decisions? This is a great time to start a new path.
Lord, search my heart and my words. I confess that it is so much easier to be critical than to become part of a solution. Help me to be the support you want me to be in my church and in the ministries of my community. Help me to look inward with Your help so that I can walk in purity of mind and heart. In Jesus' name.
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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2004, 2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.