Friday, July 23, 2010

Visible Sin

Numbers 12:9-12
9The anger of the LORD burned against them, and he left them.
10 When the cloud lifted from above the Tent, there stood Miriam—leprous, like snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had leprosy; 11 and he said to Moses, "Please, my lord, do not hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed. 12 Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother's womb with its flesh half eaten away."

This Biblical account isn't warm and fuzzy in any way, shape or form. We have the story of Aaron and Miriam grumbling against Moses because he married a Cushite. Pride then enters their thoughts as they surmise that God had spoken through them as He had Moses, though the Bible clearly tells us that Moses had a special connection and privelege before God. Furthermore, Numbers 12:3 also interjects that Moses, "was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth." This is a striking contrast to the attitudes of Aaron and Miriam.
God punishes Miriam and Aaron's sinful pride and discontent by causing Miriam to break out in severe leprous sores. Aaron compares her appearance to a baby that is born dead and has been rotting away inside the mother's womb. This is an ugly, horrific picture. However, through this consequence, God gets their attention immediately. He moves the ugliness of their sinful hearts from the invisible interior to the very apparent and obvious exterior of Miriam. The result is they are deeply humbled and repentant.
Ladies, how many of us have invisible sin that we are allowing to fester in our hearts? We hold a grudge or harbor jealousy against a sister in Christ. Perhaps we have pride in the material gains God has given us or in how well our children do in school or at sports. We consider our sins "secret", "unknown" and "hidden", so there is no pressing motivation to change.
However, the end of verse two should cause our hearts to quicken and fill with sorrow. After Miriam and Aaron privately grumble and have prideful thoughts, it says, "And the LORD heard it." Are we not aware that our ugly sin is visible to our omniscient, holy God? Have we taken the time to meditate upon this truth and the obvious ramifications?
Imagine that every "hidden" sin resulted in an awful, horrible canker sore or large pimple on our face. Seriously, stop and imagine this. Would we be motivated to more quickly deal with sins of the heart and attitude? Of course we would! We care very much about what people can see and how we are perceived.
Why then are we not as concerned about what God sees and knows about our motives and hearts?
If we are daughters of the King, we need to take as much care to deal with our sinful hearts and infected thoughts as we do to cover up and heal any visible defects in our appearance. We need to use the Holy Spirit, prayer and God's Word to lead us to repentance when we are sinning in our heart. Then we can be sanctified and molded into the image of Christ, who is spotless, pure and beautiful.
Though God graciously does not always inflict us with exterior disease and marks to punish our sinful hearts, this ugly disease of "hidden" sin is visible and horrific to our holy God.  Use the example of Miriam to motivate yourself to flee from sin and to quickly repent when you do fall short.  Our sin is never invisible to God, and our appearance before Him is all that truly matters.

Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."

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