Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. So they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. (Numbers 12:2)
People are amazing — in the strangest of ways. Almost immediately after being witness to the destruction that resulted from doubting God’s ability to lead Israel, Moses’ own family calls into question his designation as the leader of the people. It’s one thing for strangers and acquaintances to attack you but when it comes from your own household – your brother and sister — that has to sting. Adding insult to injury, their attack was predicated on his choice of companions. It would seem, because Miriam had something against Moses’ wife, she decided to question Moses’ leadership abilities.
This is the same Miriam who had watched over Moses, as a baby, when he floated upon the Nile. This is the same Miriam who led the women in song when Israel emerged from the sea bed. And unfortunately, this is the same Miriam who was guilty of la’shon ha’ra – an evil tongue — a transgression that essentially cast her into the same category as Korah and other rebels. Because she was considered the instigator, she was struck with leprosy and removed from camp. She apparently forgot that the LORD was listening.
There are a couple of things we need to glean from this and the first is, regardless of how God has used us in the past, it is important that we continue guarding our hearts against the inclination to murmur, complain and call His purpose into question. This is especially true if we are in a position to be observed by others who would be easily swayed by our words and actions. The consequences could be very drastic and damaging.
The second thing we need to take away from this is that the LORD hears those who speak against us. Not only does He hear what is spoken about His servants but, when it is appropriate, He takes action on their behalf to vindicate them. Many years ago, a few people were saying false and unkind things about me and I wanted to retaliate. Thankfully, a friend stepped in and counseled me to keep silent and let the LORD vindicate me. I took his advice and, sure enough, the LORD vindicated me.
So the point is, make sure to guard your tongue and not speak against what you do not understand. And if you find that you’re on the receiving end of criticism, remember that He can do a much better job of silencing your enemies and critics than you can. When He vindicates you, everyone will see that you are His and, where His servants are concerned, there is a line that needs to be respected.
Blessings and Shalom,