On Sin and Repentance

Read: Numbers 12

Miriam and Aaron found an occasion to find fault with Moses. He married a Cushite woman, and she was visibly different from them, and they didn’t like it (the land of Cush is approximately where Ethiopia is today). It was none of their business. Scripture simply says that Moses married her, and one must assume that Moses had God’s approval.

And what did they do? They didn’t dare attack Moses directly. Rather, they tried to do what so many of us do. They began to elevate themselves with human logic. “Moses isn’t the only one God spoke to,” they said. They were right, of course. But only to a degree, as is often our case.

Moses, who was far too humble to defend himself, said nothing. Instead, God defended Moses by explaining that while He did speak with others besides Moses, it was in dreams and shadows. Moses spoke with God directly and face to face. As a judgement, Miriam was stricken with Leprosy, a type in Scripture of sin and its ravaging capability in our lives. (This may indicate that Miriam had started the whole nonsense, but it doesn’t actually say that directly, so I won’t build Theology around that.)

Miriam’s sin affected God’s people as well, as the entire camp was unable to move on until Miriam’s issue was resolved before God.

When will we see that our sin, whatever it is, holds up the work and mission of the Church? Paul’s letter to the Ephesians tells us that we are members one of another. How can we allow sin to dominate us and negatively affect our work for Christ? We need to repent whenever we see this in our own lives.

What does repentance mean? It means we change our thinking, 180 degrees and begin to do the opposite. People always talk about repentance like it’s some nebulous and theoretical or mystical thing we do, but in reality is very practical. Is your issue with theft? Stop stealing. Is it with viewing internet porn? Stop looking at it. Take every thought captive for Christ. We tell ourselves things like, “oh but Jesus loves me (true), and will forgive me if I repent (true). But do we really seek to deal with our behaviour? Numbers 12 is a powerful example of what happens when we give place to sin. We will bear the consequence, and slow everyone else down too.

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