walk in the word
Category: Character, Your Walk With God
Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman. And they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. Numbers 12:1-9 1
Moses could have written a book on how to cope with cranky people. As the leader of the masses out of Egypt, Moses endured far more criticism than he deserved. In Numbers 14, we read how God sent a whole bunch of people to die in the desert because of their incessant complaining. When Moses’ own family picked up the sour song, God came to Moses’ defense. To Miriam and Aaron, He said, “Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, Moses? So the anger of the Lord burned against them” (Numbers 12:8). In other words, just who do you think you are criticizing Moses like that?
Notice God’s deep feelings. He didn’t wait for their explanations, and they didn’t wait long for the consequences. God just said, Enough. He hates it when we dwell on the perceived faults of another with no view to their good.
You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to feel God’s heat in this true account. He considers criticism a sin and He won’t tolerate it. Obviously, we want to soften that judgment and call criticism a weakness or a bad habit or poor people skills. While criticism is all that, it’s also a whole lot more.
Today, if you have a critical attitude toward someone, you are hindering your fellowship with God. He hears that bitter spirit come out in your words and wants nothing to do with it. Makes you wonder, if your spiritual life feels like a wilderness right now—dry, cheerless, and joyless—maybe it’s because you’ve allowed a critical attitude to creep in. It’s a choice that not only injures your horizontal relationship with others, but also your vertical relationship with God.
It’s our choice. When He says, “Don’t!” what He really means is, “Don’t hurt yourself!” When God says, “Don’t criticize,” it’s not because He wants to deprive us of some satisfactory experience. He is actually saying, “That goes against the nature of who I have made you to be.” Fish were made to swim. Birds were made to fly. People were made to live in fellowship with God. When we criticize others, we break that fellowship with God. We hinder our own joy, and life becomes like a wilderness.
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