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  The Great Bible Story #37
Miriam oversteps

Jacob Ninan
God had picked up Moses to lead the people of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land, overseen his training in Egypt and his spiritual training in the desert place while he was taking care of his father in law's sheep, and led him step by step in his leadership. His elder brother Aaron was now the High Priest. His sister Miriam was a prophetess among them, and she had led the women in singing and dancing after God saved them through the Red Sea. She may have assumed for herself some special position of honour just because she was older than Moses and had been the one who had taken care of him as a baby. Anyway, one day she got together with Aaron and criticised Moses on the point of having married a foreign woman. As she talked about it she mentioned that everybody should recognise that God had spoken through others like her also, and not just Moses.

That was not what God thought about Moses. In His opinion, Moses was the most meek and humble man on earth at that time! Moses had not exalted himself, and God had had to persuade him strongly to accept this position of leadership. Miriam had certainly overstepped her position and assumed things for herself, and she had also influenced Aaron to stand with her at this time. This was something God could let them get away with, not only for their sake but also for the sake of teaching the rest of the people of Israel through example.

God manifested Himself in a pillar of cloud and stood in front of the tabernacle and called Moses, Miriam and Aaron to Him. He told Miriam that Moses was in a special category of people. While God would normally speak to His prophets through dreams or visions, He spoke to Moses face to face. He had shown Himself to Moses in different ways and revealed many deep secrets about Himself. He asked Miriam how she had dared to talk against this Moses.

They could all sense God's anger as He spoke. He went off, and when the cloud was withdrawn from there, they saw that Miriam had become leprous! Aaron was very much distressed, and pleaded with Moses to ask God to heal her. Moses did that. But God replied that she ought to be kept outside the camp for seven days as a matter of discipline. Afterwards she was healed, and she was allowed to come in again to the people. The people of Israel stayed put in that place without moving till she returned.

This was one of the instances where God demonstrated the importance He gave for respect for authority.

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Comfort & Counsel