Just before the spies were sent into the Promised Land, there's an account in Numbers 12 that Miriam and Aaron "criticized Moses because he married a Cushite woman." The history behind Moses' apparent lapse in marital judgment was probably greatly influenced by the fact that he had in essence been an Egyptian the first 40 years of his life and then spent the next 40 years in the boonies. We don't know who this wife was, but moreover there's no explanation as to why Miriam would have had a problem with this. Or maybe there is....
In the very next verse it tells us that Miriam and Aaron said, "Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn't He spoken through us, too?" So, you're probably wondering, what in the heck does this have to do with Moses's Cushite wife? Nothing! And that's the point. Here's one more classic example in history of someone complaining about THIS when they're really actually fuming over THAT! Convincing ourselves that THIS is really THAT. It happens all the time. Let me explain.
Often we find ourselves venting, fuming, giving someone an earful over what so-and-so did to us - in English we call that gossiping - and in actuality, it's just a symptom of a much greater self-induced disease called bitterness. We allow this thing - whatever was done to us or said about us or how we were horribly mistreated - to sit below the surface and turn into a fortress of soul decay. We think that this "sweeping under the rug" is a sure-fire way to just not think about it, forget it, and pretend it never happened. Are we serious? Never in the course of human history has it worked that way. Never!
Miriam was incensed that Moses was getting all the face-time and the "glory" for communicating with the Lord and on his behalf - he got the lead anchor spot and she was still doing the community service bit that follows the forecast. She was not happy about this. In fact, she was down right mad. And because she sat on her anger long enough, it turned to bitterness. And God noticed! He pays attention, you know. When you and I find ourselves in these insignificant moments in life (so we think) that's when the Lord has His eyes peeled and sits back to watch how one of His kids will handle this internal moral dilemma. He wants to see if we'll have the courage - or guts - to point to the real wound and call it what it is. And so often we don't do this. Because it's easier to point to something else - some other scrape or scratch - while the real cancer remains, eating away at our soul.
The Lord means business. He slapped a shameful case of leprosy on Miriam. He doesn't seem to do that very often these days. Instead, He simply allows the Holy Spirit to quietly whisper...very quietly...but very clearly...until we're finally ready to say, "I surrender".
Are you wounded? Are you hurt? Are you rotting away? Will you call it what it is and let it go? Or will you keep pretending...and let it keep decaying and molding and destroying who you are? Don't do it. Don't wind up "excluded from the camp" with your heart a million miles away.
Been there? I have. I would love to pray for you!