The Women: Miriam

Seven Days Outside the Camp

Guest post by, Linda Osborne

Read along with Miriam’s story in the following section of scripture:
I wonder if any of you have you ever been shut outside the camp for seven days. Miriam was—and I have been, as well.
The fact is, that we sin daily. Little sins, big sins, sins with our lips, sins in our hearts, sins against others, sins against God. We all sin—that is an undeniable fact. That’s why Jesus had to die.
Praise God for 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
I have come to realize in my own life, that there are areas I just can’t fix. I see my sin. I know it shouldn’t be there. I pray about it and try to be good, but there is something I can’t seem to get at.
And sometimes, when I continue to sin in a particular way, over and over again, or when I sin in a way that crosses a line, God will step in and help me along, so to speak … discipline me.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that those whom the Lord loves He disciplines. And His love response to me goes something like this: Linda, I love you so much, that I sent my son to die for your sin. But you have gone too far, and I can’t allow you to remain in a condition which continually produces this sin.”
I think that’s what happened to Miriam here. I think, in her sin, she crossed a line. She went too far, and the Lord needed to help her in an area in which she was unable to help herself.
I think it’s safe to say the Lord was angry at Miriam with a righteous indignation. She had touched holy ground. She touched His anointed, Moses. And the Lord judged her for it!
Now, he may have been her little brother, and she may have thought that she had a special right, because of that fact, to put him in his place whenever she might have the inclination.
But he was God’s anointed; His chosen one. The work he did was representative of and a forerunner to the work Christ would do. And I think that’s key to what we see happen here to Miriam.
Now we know that all of our sin has to be judged—that’s why Christ had to die on the cross. But most of the time the judgment is internal—between God and us. It comes in the form of conviction. We repent and ask Him to forgive us; and He forgives us, based on the work of the cross.
But sometimes, it’s as if He says, “this time you have crossed a line. This time you will bear the discipline.”
I remember a time many years ago now that I was shut outside the camp, so to speak. I touched something that wasn’t mine to touch.
The minute I realized what I had done, I took steps to turn it around, and I asked God to forgive me, and I know He did. Right then.
But, He made me bear my reproach for about three days. It was as if God turned His face from me. I knew I was out of His favor. And I didn’t know, for a time, if I would be restored again.
I knew, because of Scripture, that I would be forgiven; but I didn’t know for sure if I would be restored.
I think it was about three days later, that I woke up in the morning with a song on my heart. I immediately knew it was over. I had been restored, and I was the most grateful person alive!
You know, I don’t know how many times Miriam had sinned in this particular way. More than likely, she had criticized Moses many times before. And even when we see her criticizing his choice of a wife, we don’t see God move. But when she criticized his God-given authority, the line was crossed.
You see ladies, we don’t necessarily know when our sin is going to cross the line, so we need to stop before it goes too far. The Bible tells us to judge ourselves.
When you realize that you are continually sinning in a certain area or a certain way—stop and pray! Don’t think that just because you have gotten away with that sin before, you are okay. There may come a day, and you may not even see it coming, when God allows you to bear the reproach of that sin and disciplines you.
Be careful not to get so close to the line, that without even realizing it, you find you have crossed it.
And be careful how you touch the holy things of God. Learn to have great respect for the things God esteems. Handle His Word with great care and reverence. And be careful to treat His chosen vessels with similar respect.
Moses was holy to God. His position was holy to God. Miriam touched him in a manner that was crude. God could not allow that sin to go unpunished. I think we see the leprosy that covered Miriam as a picture of her sin exposed.
God allowed others to see the sin that had been hidden in Miriam’s heart. She had a jealous spirit. She had a discontent spirit. And we need to be so careful of those secret sins, ladies.
And you know what I think? As difficult and even humiliating as those seven days outside the camp were, I think Miriam was better off for the rest of her life because of them. The mercy of God is seen in that judgment!
Through the entire process, from beginning to end, I believe Miriam was taken to another place in her spiritual maturity.
For it is the goodness, the kindness, the extravagant love of God that leads us to repentance. {Rom 2:4}
Written by,

Linda Osborne

If you would like to participate more with this Bible Study series on the women of scripture, click here to purchase your copy of The Women: Part One. A Look at the Lives of Five Women of the Scripture, or visit www.lindaosborne.net.

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