Wake to Criticise

This next prayer is also from the book of numbers. 

Each morning, a devout young Persian rose before daybreak to pray and read the Koran. On one particular morning, his father awoke and the boy said to him, “Behold, thy other children are lost in irreligious slumbers. I alone am awake to praise God.” The wise father replied, “Son of my soul, it is far better to sleep than to awake and remark upon the faults of thy brethren.” 

Aaron and Miriam learned in a hard way that criticism displeases God. Both of them were angry with Moses because of his recent marriage and they were very quick to find fault with him. Because of this Miriam was struck with leprosy, seeing what had happened to Miriam, Aaron pleaded desperately with Moses to pray for her. So in Numbers 12:1-13, we have an account of Moses’ prayer. Miriam was healed after 7 days because of his prayer to God. 

Numbers 12:1-13

While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses because he had married a Cushite woman. They said, “Has the LORD spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he spoken through us, too?” But the LORD heard them. (Now Moses was very humble—more humble than any other person on earth.) So immediately the LORD called to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam and said, “Go out to the Tabernacle, all three of you!” So the three of them went to the Tabernacle. Then the LORD descended in the pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the Tabernacle. “Aaron and Miriam!” he called, and they stepped forward. And the LORD said to them, “Now listen to what I say: “If there were prophets among you, I, the LORD, would reveal myself in visions. I would speak to them in dreams. But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust. I speak to him face to face, clearly, and not in riddles! He sees the LORD as he is. So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant Moses?” The LORD was very angry with them, and he departed. As the cloud moved from above the Tabernacle, there stood Miriam, her skin as white as snow from leprosy. When Aaron saw what had happened to her, he cried out to Moses, “Oh, my master! Please don’t punish us for this sin we have so foolishly committed. Don’t let her be like a stillborn baby, already decayed at birth.” So Moses cried out to the LORD, “O God, I beg you, please heal her!” 

There are two vital lessons to be learnt from this prayer encounter. 

  1. We must be very careful about criticism no matter how justified it may seem to us. 
  2. Just like Moses, we must learn to pray for those who despitefully use us and say all manner of evil against us. 

Now, if you look around and observe situations in our daily lives, you can tell that people tend to argue over minor disagreements and don’t actually touch the real issue at hand. This was the same issue Miriam and Aaron had when they came with their complaint. The real issue at hand was their growing jealousy of the influence and position Moses had. Since they were unable to find fault in the way Moses led the people, they decided to criticise his wife. Instead of facing the problem directly by dealing with the envy and pride that was eating them up, they chose to create a diversion from the real issue. Anytime you are in a disagreement with someone stop and ask yourself “Am I arguing over the real issue or have I introduced a smoke screen by attacking someone’s character?”. Ask God to help you deal with the real issue. 

Jesus taught us that true children of the kingdom of God would live by these laws of kindness and mercy. My prayer for us all today is that God will grant us the grace to be merciful to those who criticise us. In the gospel of Matthew  Jesus says, “love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (‭Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭44‬ NLT). Luke also says “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.” (Luke‬ ‭6‬:‭35‬ NLT). Although it may be difficult, be merciful to those who criticise, pray that God will be able to help you face them.  Don’t be like the young Persian who woke up to criticise others. 

Stay blessed,
Dara x

P.S- don’t forget to share this series with friends and loved ones. If you’ve missed any of the posts in this prayer series go on this link here 

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Frightening Frogs 

At this time in the series, I am going to jump to the book of Exodus where we meet Moses and the Israelites. 

I’m sure we have all heard many Aesop’s fables, I’m going to share a humorous one. This fable is about Hares and Frogs. The hares lived with low spirits and lacked courage because their lives were in constant danger from foxes, lions, bears and men. One day the hares saw a troop of wild horses stampeding about, and because of their great fear of being killed by other beasts, they decided to drown themselves. They thought it would be better to drown themselves than to continually live in a state of fear. However when they got to the bank of the lake, the frogs who were sun bathing leaped into the water. “They’re actually afraid of us,” cried one of the hares. “We scared them!” The hares then abandoned their suicide plans and spent the rest of their days sitting around the edge of the lake frightening frogs. 
 

The Hares & Frogs

 
The way human beings reacts to things in life is often the same as how the hares did. Humans respond to their environment in anger or hostility and resort to self-destruction or destroying others. An example of this in the bible is Israel’s response when Moses went to the mountain to meet with God. After Moses had been gone for many days, despair set in amongst the Israelites. They began to feel sorry for themselves, they were lost in lust and destruction. 

Unfortunately, that was the evil sight which greeted Moses as he came down from the mountain. God was very angry that he wanted to destroy his own people. They were not grateful for what He had done for them, all they did was complain. But the twist is that Moses prayed and God spared Israel. 

Exodus 32:11-14 (NLT)

But Moses tried to pacify the Lord his God. “O Lord!” he said. “Why are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land of Egypt with such great power and such a strong hand? Why let the Egyptians say, ‘Their God rescued them with the evil intention of slaughtering them in the mountains and wiping them from the face of the earth’? Turn away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster you have threatened against your people! Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.You bound yourself with an oath to them, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven. And I will give them all of this land that I have promised to your descendants, and they will possess it forever.”So the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people.

The reaction that Moses had in time of crisis was the wisest one – he prayed. In times of crisis, How do you react? Who do you turn to?   When trouble comes, we would be much wiser to pray than to react with hostility or give into despair. Prayer should always be our first reaction to any crisis. 

It is honouring to God when our first and immediate response to any situation is to consult him. As Christians we are told to “acknowledge Him in all our ways” and “Seek first the Kingdom of God”, we can accomplish this by making him our first consultant and advisor. That way he will be able to direct our path, just as he promised. If we properly engage in prayer, we are more likely to be kept out of crisis. 

If you haven’t done so already you can read the post entitled “Steering Wheel or Spare Tyre?” it elaborates more on prayer being our first resort. My prayer is that we all make it a habit to turn to God immediately in times of crisis. Go onto the tab “A Walkthrough the Major Prayers in the Bible” to view all the posts related to this series. 

Stay blessed,

Dara x