Numbers 12* God rebukes the murmuring of Aaron and Miriam. (1-9) Miriamstruck with leprosy, and healed at the prayer of Moses. (10-16)1-9 The patience of Moses was tried in his own family, as wellas by the people. The pretence was, that he had married aforeign wife; but probably their pride was hurt, and their envystirred up, by his superior authority. Opposition from our nearrelations, and from religious friends, is most painful. But thisis to be looked for, and it will be well if in suchcircumstances we can preserve the gentleness and meekness ofMoses. Moses was thus fitted to the work he was called to. Godnot only cleared Moses, but praised him. Moses had the spirit ofprophecy in a way which set him far above all other prophets;yet he that is least in the kingdom of heaven, is greater thanhe; and our Lord Jesus infinitely excels him, #Heb 3:1|. LetMiriam and Aaron consider whom it was they insulted. We havereason to be afraid of saying or doing any thing against theservants of God. And those are presumptuous indeed who are notafraid to speak evil of dignities, #2Pe 2:10|. The removal ofGod's presence is the surest and saddest token of God'sdispleasure. Woe to us, if he depart! he never departs, till bysin and folly we drive him from us. 10-16 The cloud departed, and Miriam became leprous. When Godgoes, evil comes: expect no good when God departs. Her foultongue, as Bishop Hall says, was justly punished with a foulface. Aaron, as priest, was judge of the leprosy. He could notpronounce her leprous without trembling, knowing himself to beequally guilty. But if she was thus punished for speakingagainst Moses, what will become of those who sin against Christ?Aaron, who joined his sister in speaking against Moses, isforced for himself and his sister, to beseech him, and to speakhighly of him whom he had so lately blamed. Those who trampleupon the saints and servants of God, will one day be glad tomake court to them. It is well when rebukes produce confessionof sin and repentance. Such offenders, though corrected anddisgraced, shall be pardoned. Moses made it appear, that heforgave the injury done him. To this pattern of Moses, and thatof our Saviour, who said, "Father, forgive them," we mustconform. A reason is given for Miriam's being put out of thecamp for seven days; because thus she ought to accept thepunishment of her sin. When under the tokens of God'sdispleasure for sin, it becomes us to take shame to ourselves.This hindered the people's progress in their march forwardtowards Canaan. Many things oppose us, but nothing so hinders usin the way to heaven, as sin.
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