January 11, 2017

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Our Words Are Powerful

Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t He also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this. – Numbers 12:1-2

Our words are powerful. They can be used to build up or tear down. The words we speak have a greater impact than we realize. In today’s reading found in Numbers 12, the words of Aaron and Miriam tear down Moses. It was just a little bit of complaining. This doesn’t seem like a very big deal, does it? But, it was a big deal. It resulted in a life-threatening condition for Miriam and negatively affected the whole Israelite community.

What can we learn from this incident? First, our words reveal what is in our hearts. Secondly, there are consequences for the words we speak.

Our words reveal

First, our words reveal what is in our hearts. God hears everything we speak out loud but also what we think. Jealousy got into Aaron and Miriam’s hearts. It clouded their thinking and caused them to talk against their own brother.

Aaron and Miriam’s accusation also revealed that their identity was rooted in what they did. They wanted to be known like Moses. When our identity is rooted in Jesus alone, we won’t have an issue with jealousy like Aaron and Miriam did.

As believers, we need to continually confess the things in our hearts that don’t line up with God’s ways. I love that God forgives us and equips us to keep moving forward.

Our words have consequences

Secondly, we learn from this passage that there is a consequence for the words we speak. As a result of speaking against Moses, Miriam was struck with leprosy. This was a physical illustration of the spiritual reality that our words have the power of “life and death.” (Proverbs 18:21) This disease put Miriam outside of the community and would have resulted in her death. Moses cried out to God to heal Miriam. God did heal her but Miriam had to stay outside the camp for seven days.

In Miriam’s case, her sin affected more than just herself. The whole nation of Israel did not move for seven days. They waited until Miriam was brought back. Their trip to the Promised Land was delayed because of Miriam’s sin.

This story challenges me. It causes me to look deeply at my own heart. What resides there? Before I speak, I want to be sure my words will bring life. I desire to build up others instead of tear down with my words.

How about you? What words flow from your mouth? Do your words build up or tear down?

Heavenly Father, thank you for Aaron and Miriam. They are people just like me. Thank you for this story tucked in Numbers that reminds me to think before I speak. Jesus, I want my words to reflect that my significance is in you alone. I desire for my words to flow from a pure heart. Thank you, Lord,  for helping me on this journey. I love you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Words build up or tear down

 

 

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