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One day, Miriam and Aaron started thinking bad things about Moses. Moses had married a lady that didn’t look like or have the family that they wanted her to, so they thought to themselves, “Moses can make mistakes, too, sometimes. He isn’t necessarily right all the time. God has spoken through us, too.”
Uh-oh! God had made it crystal clear back at Mount Sinai that they could and should trust and believe Moses! But instead, they mumbled, mumbled, grumbled, grumbled against Moses in their hearts, and with each other.
Miriam and Aaron surely knew deep down inside that God had chosen Moses to lead over them, and that Moses had a really special relationship with God, but they let this “little” opinion of theirs about Moses’ wife get under their skin and bug ‘em. So even though they knew deep down that it was wrong to think bad things about Moses, they wanted to hold on to their “little” opinion. So, they tried to justify themselves.
Do you know what it means to try to justify yourself? It means you try to think up all the reasons why you are really right about something. Sometimes people do this even when they know deep down that they’re wrong. They try to trick themselves in order to make the wrong feelings go away. This is bad stuff.
So Miriam and Aaron tried to justify talking bad about Moses. They said to each other, “Moses isn’t the only one God has spoken through. Hasn’t God spoken through us, too? He has. So you see, Moses isn’t really that special, he just thinks he’s big stuff. But we’re special, too. God speaks through us, too! So maybe we’re right this time because Moses could be wrong sometimes.”
But Moses was actually the most humble man on the face of the earth at that time. He didn’t think he was big stuff! He was just doing the job God had given him to do. Moses had even said, “I wish that all of God’s Children would speak God’s words and Connect to God!”
But Miriam and Aaron thought they had a right to their “little” opinion about Moses’ wife. And they thought they would just mumble, mumble, grumble, grumble to themselves. But someone else was hearing this mumbling and grumbling. GOD! God heard Miriam and Aaron talking, and He did NOT like it.
As soon as they said it, God’s voice boomed out, “Moses, Aaron, Miriam — come to My Tent, all three of you… now.” When they got there, down came God in the pillar of cloud to talk to them.
Miriam and Aaron could hardly breathe. Their consciences were not clean. They knew they had been talking bad about their brother Moses behind his back. God had heard them, and discipline was coming. It took all their strength to stand and wait.
Then God told Aaron and Miriam to step forward, and He said, “Listen to Me: When there is a prophet around, I make Myself known to them in visions and dreams. Prophets perceive and discern it’s Me. But it’s different with Moses — he has proven that I can trust him to be a reliable, stand-in, caring father with everyone in My House! So, I speak with Moses face to face. He is allowed to see My shape with his eyes. I talk to him with clear words. So with all that said, why weren’t you afraid to talk bad about My servant, Moses? You should have been.”
Then, God was so angry that He just left. He didn’t even wait for Miriam and Aaron’s answer.
Aaron turned to look at Miriam. Her skin had turned all white and yucky and rotten. She had leprosy, a skin disease. She was now very sick.
People with leprosy had to get away from other people. They had to live out, out, outside of the camp so that they did not make others sick. The “little” opinion Miriam thought she could have about Moses’ wife was NOT so little, huh? God was showing Miriam that what she was thinking and doing was so yucky, that it was like a disease that would hurt her AND other people.
Aaron then saw just how foolish they had been. He turned to Moses and begged, “We have been so foolish, Moses. Please forgive us. Please don’t let Miriam have to die because of this.”
So Moses prayed to God for Miriam and said, “Please, God, heal her!”
God answered, “Miriam has to stay outside the camp for 7 days. But then, she can come back to everyone. She will be healed.”
So, the rest of the people stayed in the camp and didn’t move their tents for 7 days. They stayed right there until Miriam could travel on with them.
All of God’s children should have learned a lesson from Miriam’s leprosy. It’s wrong to have “little opinions” and talk bad about people walking close to God (even if it’s your own “little brother”).
Sometimes when you want YOUR thoughts to be the right ones you can be tempted to mumble and grumble your “little opinions” to others. Don’t do it. Bad idea.