“Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses . . .” Numbers 12:1a
As an extroverted Southern gal I was born to chat it up be it family or strangers. Laughing with friends is therapeutic sharing life, crazy kids and Pinterest experiments gone horribly wrong.
Yet gossip can slither into innocent conversations. Life and lots of mess ups have taught me there’s a fine line between chatting and gossiping. The tipping point from sharing to slandering is sometimes hidden in honey dripped words of “concern.”
Y’all I don’t mean to be that person but sometimes when I see someone taking another vacation or posting her newest purchase I’m not sharing her good fortune out of joy. And truly there’s so much in my life for which to be grateful. But so quickly that loss of contentment in my comparison invites in gossip.
That’s where we find Miriam.
She secured a spot in the Old Testament Hall of Fame as the original baby whisperer keeping her brother Moses safe in a basket on the Nile banks. Later she’s recorded as the first worship leader getting the women to sing and praise God after He parted the Red Sea.
Miriam was an “It” girl of Israelites – total paparazzi material today.
But while conversing with her older brother Aaron about Moses’ new wife the conversation turns on Moses. Comparing how God had previously spoken through the two of them as “proof” God didn’t speak through Moses alone. That her prophetic gifting was just as important in a “who does he think he is” sort of chatter.
Comparison . . . Discontentment . . . Gossip.
Once Miriam took her eyes off His glory in her life and started comparing it to another, it shifted the spotlight to show what she didn’t have instead of illuminating all the blessings she did have.
Contentment ends where comparison begins.
In the life of Miriam we see the almost deadly consequence of loose lips and spirit of discontentment. God literally swoops down to call her out on the carpet then banishes her outside the Israelite encampment plagued with leprosy – a miserable death sentence.
As Miriam’s skin rots away the absolute kick to the ego is Moses of all folks begging God to save his big sister’s life. God granted Moses’ plea – but not before sequestering the Biblical gossip girl outside camp for seven days. Embarrassment, shame, fear. Final details on Miriam don’t highlight the great, but rather the gossip. Her legacy is immortalized in hurtful words.
Miriam has become my own stop, drop and shut up reminder how idle conversation can quickly morph into comparison. It is indeed a blessing God lets me live inside the camp even though many a day I should be kicked to the outcast curb for words that aren’t nice. May I speak of my blessings always, comparing only where I fall short of His glory.