From Failure to Correction
Exodus 15:19-21; Numbers 12:1-3, 8-13, 15
Pharaoh had finally let the Israelites leave Egypt. It wasn’t long before he realized he had made a terrible mistake in letting them go. Pharaoh and his entire Calvary pursued the Israelites. The Israelites were camped on the shore of the Red Sea when they looked up and saw Pharaoh and his men approaching. They were frightened and called out to the Lord to help them.
Then they blamed Moses for making them leave Egypt. Pharaoh was behind them and the Red Sea was in front of them. They felt like they were trapped with no way out. Moses told them not to be afraid, but to just wait and see what the Lord was going to do to rescue them. They didn’t have to do anything because the Lord was going to fight for them. The cloud that was leading them moved behind them and changed into a pillar of fire, giving light to them and darkness to the Egyptians.
The Lord opened the Red Sea, and they passed through on dry land. When Pharaoh tried to follow them, God closed the waters, drowning Pharaoh and his men. The people of Israel believed in God and His servant Moses.
Time passed, and one day Miriam and Aaron were criticizing Moses because his wife was a Cushite woman. They were jealous of Moses’ position, influence, and his relationship with the Lord. Since they could not find any fault with the way Moses was leading the people, they criticized his wife. Rather than dealing with the real problem (envy and pride), they created a diversion.
They could not fool God, He knew their hearts. God called Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to the Tabernacle. God descended in the cloud, and He reprimanded Aaron and Miriam for their jealousy. The Lord was very angry with them and as He departed in the cloud, Miriam became white with leprosy.
Aaron cried out to Moses not to punish them for their sin. He acknowledged that they had done wrong and he pleaded with Moses to heal her. Moses cried out to the Lord to heal Miriam. The Lord replied that Miriam would have to stay outside the camp for seven days and then she could return. The consequences of her sin affected the whole camp. They had to wait for Miriam to be healed before they could move on.
Jealousy is like a cancer, eating away at our souls. It causes a person to live a miserable, self-centered life. God wants His children to live contented lives. God loves us, knows what is best for us, and His plans for our lives are much better than anything we can imagine.
- Lessons in the BSL series for the fall quarter are being written by Virginia Johnston, a member of First Baptist Church, North Charleston, where her husband Dan is pastor.