Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married…. And they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it.
Irish novelist and playwright Samuel Beckett received great recognition for his work, but not every one appreciated his success. Beckett’s marriage, in fact, was soured by his wife’s jealousy of his growing fame as a writer.
One day in 1969 his wife answered the telephone, listened for a moment, spoke briefly and hung up. She then turned to Beckett, and with a stricken look whispered, “What a catastrophe!” It turned out that she had just learned that her husband had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature!
Aaron and Miriam, Moses’ brother and sister, were guilty of the same kind of jealousy. When Moses took a new wife, these two began to voice their objections. Perhaps they were afraid this woman would have too much influence; perhaps they were fearful she would steal Moses’ affections away from them.
Whatever the excuse, their hearts were filled with jealousy and they began to speak againsttheir brother.
In response, God called the three of them to a meeting at the tabernacle. At the end of this divine confrontation, Miriam was afflicted with leprosy (v. 10). The jealousy eating her up on the inside became a disease that consumed her on the outside. Only Moses’ intercessory prayer spared her a horrible death.
Jealousy can still be found in the hearts of Christians today, and the consequences are just as terrible. Jealousy over who gets to sing the solo in the church Christmas cantata has torn choirs apart. Envy over a sister who is more popular or a brother with a better job has driven wedges between siblings. Sometimes even parents have been jealous of their own children.
If you are aware of jealousy in your heart, root it out at once. Confess it as sin. Seek to do good toward those you envy. The longer you let jealousy linger, the more damage it will do—to you, and everyone else.
AS RUST DESTROYS METAL, SO JEALOUSY DESTROYS PEOPLE,