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And the Lord spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out.And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.

Numbers 12: 4-5

Last time, we shared about Miriam and Aaron gossiping about Moses. We remember God called them out of the tabernacle to deal with it. Let’s stay with the criticism of leaders and preachers for a moment. 

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If a pastor’s hair is grey, he is too old; if he is a young man, he is inexperienced. If he is married, his wife is proud; if he isn’t, he’s not setting a good example for the youth. If his wife mobilizes the women, she presumes; if she doesn’t, she isn’t interested in her husband’s work. If he has ten children, he has too many; if he has none, he doesn’t pray; if his baby cries at church, he is not training him; if the baby doesn’t, he might be sickly; if the children take part in church activities, they always want to lead; if they don’t, he’s not bringing them up well. If he reads from his notes, he is a bore; if he speaks extemporaneously, he isn’t deep enough. If he stays at home, he doesn’t mix sufficiently with his people; if he is seen on the streets, he ought to be home writing better sermons. If he visits the wealthy, he is begging for alms; if he visits low-income families, he is pretending to love. Whew! Pastors are human too. They’ve just been called to do God’s unique work. No need to keep reminding them that they almost live in a fishbowl.

Moses’ case was unfortunate – his detractors were his own siblings, who should have been loving and supportive against all the troubles, complaints and criticism from the Israelites. 

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One of the devil’s current strategies is to make family members look problematic to each other so he can effectively kill any love left in our families. And so he can convince our children that staying close to family is a drag. He has fought against these primary institutions that God established in the beginning – Sabbath and Family (Genesis chapters 1 and 2). 

We help Lucifer and hurt God’s plan when we selfishly destroy our loved ones. So that day, God spoke hard. Picture the Almighty saying, “Read my lips. When it comes to Moses, I don’t need to give him visions or revelations. No! He sees my form, and we speak plainly, Ok? My servant, Moses, is more humble than any man on earth! And I read hearts correctly, so I know what I am talking about? How come you did not fear to speak about him with such disrespect? (Numbers 12: 6-8). Wao! Prophets see visions, but this man spoke to God “mouth to mouth” (verse 8).

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The Almighty is almighty enough to leave in a huff after a gruff. That day, in front of the tabernacle, when God was finished speaking, He just left. And if He does that to you, you end up in a bad situation. When He went off from the tabernacle door, Miriam became white as snow, sickly white. Meanwhile, each of them was stunned by the sheer realization – Wow! We annoyed God so much that He left the whole universe and personally came down to warn us! Then Miriam noticed that her brothers were staring at her with fear! Her eyes followed their eyes to her own hands and feet. She had gotten leprosy!Aaron began to call his younger brother with respect, “M-my l-lord, please forgive us. Please pray for her”. Despite Moses’ pleading, God insisted that Miriam had to be quarantined out of the camp for seven painful days! 

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Leprosy is also contagious. Without knowing the full details, we support, encourage, defend, and even rationalize people’s unfortunate behaviour. You and I can avoid leprosy. Let us take John’s advice (1 John 4:1). Be sure the leader is godly before even becoming a follower. And don’t be so critical. Let us have confidence from personal persuasion that leaders are human and do the best they can under the circumstances.

Don’t get leprosy. God loves all His children so He has provided directions on how to criticize[1]. Don’t listen to people who rationalize and give excuses without checking what God’s word says (Check Matthew 7:1-5; James 4:11-12; 2 Timothy 2:24-25; 1 Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 25:8).


[1] Dealing with Criticism Biblically (biblereasons.com)