Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 7 July 2018
Page 5

Priscilla's Page Editor's Note

The Numbers Incident

During the wilderness wanderings, Moses’ sister Miriam grew old watching her baby brother lead a great nation and her other brother, Aaron, work as the highest spiritual leader of the new nation of Israel. At some point, when Miriam should have been displaying the wisdom of age, she made a bad decision. Maybe she became jealous of her brothers. After all, she did help save Moses when he was just a baby. She did lead the women, and people called her a prophetess. Or, maybe she felt unhappy about Moses marrying again, to a woman from Cush, more than likely with dark skin! Of all the nerve! Now, this new woman would get all the attention! Whatever the reason, Miriam managed to convince Aaron to go along with causing trouble in the camp. Aaron could serve as the great leader! Moses was just the baby of the family! Miriam and Aaron, each well over a 100-years-old, began chirping louder and louder, when unexpectedly—God came for a visit.

The Lord moved near with His cloud and scolded the two badly-behaved senior citizens for their terrible sins of jealousy, backbiting and treason (Numbers 12:1-15). Since Miriam was the ringleader (remember the golden calf incident, Aaron had no backbone), God righteously punished only her with full-body leprosy—a white blob of oatmeal-with-clothes-on! Miriam’s brothers immediately begged God’s mercy for her. The Lord said she must be punished for seven days! What an ego-buster! God visually displayed the disgust He has for envy and spiritual treason.

Miriam’s age and position in life did not matter to God. Sin and punishment have no age limit. Moses wrote about this as an example of what God does to sinful people. “Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam on the way as you came out of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 24:9). Folks, we don’t want God to visit us and find us in the middle of sin, no matter how old we are!

Have You Ever Thrown
Away Anything Important?

Martha Lynn RushmoreIf you have thrown something important away, what did you do? Did you just say, “Oh well?” Did you start hunting for it frantically as soon as you realized it was gone like the woman with the lost coin, the shepherd with the lost sheep and the father with the lost son in Luke 15?

There was the woman who lost a coin, a shepherd who lost a sheep and a father whose son left and was lost. The woman with the lost coin turned her house upside down cleaning and looking everywhere. When she found it, she rejoiced and called her neighbors in to rejoice with her.

The shepherd who lost his one sheep, though he had 99 remaining, went out immediately and hunted for the one sheep. When he found it, he put it on his shoulder and took it back to the rest of the flock. He also rejoiced and called all his neighbors and friends to rejoice with him.

Then, there was the father who lost his son to an afar country of worldly living. He waited and watched daily for his son’s return. Finally, the son realized his sin and returned to the father, expecting to be as a servant. The father saw him coming from a long way off. He told his servants to bring out the best robe, a ring and sandals for his son. They also were told to prepare the best fatted calf for a feast and to invite neighbors and friends. Because his son was lost and now had returned, the father ran to his son, fell on his neck and kissed him. What great reasons to rejoice.

Unfortunately, we see brothers and sisters in Christ daily throw away their opportunity of salvation. Why? We can say the devil made them do it. I believe it is called selfishness. They want what they want, and they want it now. I had one young woman tell me, “Life is too short, and so I am going to be happy and do what I want. I do not care what others think or say. It is my life and I will do as I please.” Oh, how so sad for such a statement and a sinful way of life. Yes, life may be short, but eternity is forever! Regrettably, even Christians sometimes do not care enough about their souls or anyone with whom they have an influence. In Numbers 32:23-24 we read, “But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out.”

When someone leaves the church, such a one does not realize or care about the pain caused to loved ones, husbands, wives, children, friends and acquaintances. Also, erring Christians do not think about the bad influence they have on their respective spouses, children, grandchildren, great grand-children and anyone else who knows them. Spiritual devastation extends to all who follow such devilish lives.

How can we help these fellow Christians turn back to the Lord? Prayer, first and foremost. Send a note, showing that you care. We can telephone or visit. Encourage them in any way that is right. We need to do whatever we can.

Remember, we are not to pass judgment (James 4:11-12), but we are to take heed lest we fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). We can neither have the attitude whereby we preempt the final judgment of our Lord or nor allow ourselves to be led away from God by becoming involved in the sins of others (Jude 23).

We as Christians ought to make ourselves available to help those family members and friends of this erring Christian. We are to be encouragers, not discouragers, to those who are already hurting and weakening. We need to pray for all concerned and for ourselves that we will be what the Lord wants and expects of us always (1 Thessalonians 5:17). “…Pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

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