Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Forgiven but still accountable

I've been reading through the Bible chronologically, and it has been a very interesting journey so far.

Right now, I'm reading through Numbers.  I've only recently finished the account of Aaron and Miriam complaining about the "favor" that Moses was receiving from God.  Essentially, they were upset that Moses, their little brother, was receiving all the "glory" and attention from the rest of the Israelites.  They complained, "Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?  Hasn’t he also spoken through us?"

God was none too pleased with Aaron and Miriam and gave them a holy "lecture."  However, once this correcting talk was done, Miriam was immediately discovered to have a terrible skin disease called leprosy which affective her entire body, head to toe.  Mind you, Aaron had complained as well, but suffered no punishment like Miriam.  One might conjecture as to why Miriam was punished and Aaron wasn't, but suffice it to say, Aaron was the high priest, and since this was a new appointment, there was only him and his sons to perform all of the priestly duties.  If Aaron had gotten leprosy as well, he wouldn't have been able to carry out his responsibilities.  (*I might write another blog post about this part of the story later.)

So, Miriam has leprosy, Aaron sees this, both of them realized they sinned, and Aaron begs and pleads with Moses to help her.  Moses prays to God, and God gave him what may appear as a quizzical answer: “If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back.” (Numbers 12:14)

You see, at this time, God had just given Israel all of the law, especially what would make some clean and unclean (or able to come to the Tabernacle to worship or not.)  Part of the law stated that any kind of bodily fluid from someone else touched you, you would be unclean for seven days.  This is what God is referring to in His response.  So, in other words, God was saying she would be forgiven, but she still had to face some consequences of her rebellion.  She would not be allowed to be part of the camp for seven days.

Likewise, there may be times in our lives where we sin and do something foolish or impulsive.  God may have forgiven us (if we ask Him), but we may still have to suffer through some consequences.  However, if you find yourself in the position today, just remember that like Miriam, your punishment may only be temporary, and that God has forgiven you.  You will be restored - if not in this life, then we you enter into His presence forever in Heaven.

Be encouraged - God loves you more than you can imagine!!!

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