The Seven Things God Hates: #7 – The Troublemaker

“Vengeance is Mine.”

Deuteronomy 32:35 (New King James Version)

There are seven things that God hates. Number seven is a person who stirs up conflict in the community. The full list is found in Proverbs chapter 6. Some would say hate is a strong word. The dictionary defines it as “intense or passionate dislike”. God hates all sin, yet those seven are emphasized. 

Numbers chapter 12 gives us a window into the heart of God and shows how God’s mercy is still present even in His vengeance towards those who practice sin. 

Drama puts it mildly! Numbers chapter 12 opens with Moses at odds with his siblings.

Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. So they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. – Numbers 12:1, 2

Miriam and Aaron had no problem overtly disrespecting Moses’ foreign wife. They were already angry about a crucial decision he had made regarding Israel’s organization based on the advice of his father-in-law—someone they viewed as an outsider! (Exodus 18:8-27) Instead of consulting with them first, Moses had acted independently. This was especially difficult to swallow considering that these two were second in command behind only Moses himself. Can you imagine how this must have felt? Might make you wonder if Miriam and Arron were justified in their criticism of Moses.

Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth. – Numbers 12:3

As a woman, for a while it was hard for me to understand what I considered to be Moses’ indifference towards his wife’s pain. Assuming she was bothered by this at all. As the assigned protector of his home, why didn’t Moses have a more visceral reaction? Why not speak up in her defense? With Miriam and Aaron’s influence, one could assume that others were empowered to join in the mistreatment. Moses was so quick to rescue a stranger from the abuse of an Egyptian guard but was slow to protect his own wife from the racist comments of his siblings? (Exodus 2:11-12)

After some thought, it became evident that Moses was living out his conversion to the point of now being known as the most gentle man on earth. In this situation, he was being obedient to the counsel we find in Deuteronomy 32:35 and Romans 12:19-21, which gave room for God to put His righteous justice on display.

Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!” So the three came out. Then the Lord came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. Then He said, “Hear now My words. If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings. And he sees the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?” So the anger of the Lord was aroused against them, and He departed. – Numbers 12:4-9

There was something beneath the layer of racism and the controlling spirit in the hearts of Miriam and Aaron. God, in true fashion, made them grapple with the root cause that was creating a wedge within this family – jealousy. Aaron and Mariam were jealous about the close, face to face, relationship Moses had with God. Oftentimes, how people treat us is a reflection of how they view themselves.

And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper. So Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned. Please do not let her be as one dead, whose flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother’s womb!” – Numbers 12:10-12

In Numbers 12:11-12 we see Aaron taking the punishment given to Miriam very personally – but if you look closer at this story there’s an important reminder for all of us about how our admonishments should be handled. 

Despite this seemingly harsh consequence, the leprosy wasn’t ultimately intended to hurt Miriam but rather to lead both her and Aaron toward repentance and greater character growth! If you ever have the opportunity or responsibility to correct someone else’s behavior, remember the bigger picture. Our ultimate goal should always be their spiritual improvement and salvation.

It’s interesting that Aaron asks Moses to intercede on their behalf to take the punishment away. There are countless cases in the Bible where the oppressor turns around and asks the oppressed for help in the face of their judgment. Galatians 6:9 says “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” When it counts the most, our witness will shine as bright as the sun, mirroring our Savior’s character.

Reflection

Why does God hate a person who stirs up conflict in the community? It may be because of the impact. Despite this hate, He actively pursues restoration. Even in the midst of God’s punishment, we can find evidence of His mercy. There’s an interesting dynamic that’s brought out in verses 13 to 16 between Miriam, being a leader, and the entire camp. It sets a standard, a conduct of honor, for anyone who has accepted Christ as Lord. 

So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “Please heal her, O God, I pray!” Then the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again.” So Miriam was shut out of the camp seven days, and the people did not journey till Miriam was brought in again. And afterward the people moved from Hazeroth and camped in the Wilderness of Paran. – Numbers 12:13-16

Leaders: When you fall, you stall the progression of the entire company.

In Miriam and Aaron’s story of pride and jealousy, we see them transform from stewards of progress to masters of self-interest. For any leader that succumbs to this, it’s not just your journey that suffers; it’s the entire collective that faces the repercussions. The stagnation of the company as a result of your mistake reveals the delicate balance of power and responsibility that lies within your hands as a leader.

From the Divine perspective, a true leader is one who embodies the virtues of servitude, wisdom, and humility. Guided by these principles, you can use discernment and understanding to keep the right perspective when it comes to the actions and intentions of your co-leaders. You can harness your influence to uplift those around you and create an atmosphere of support and growth.

Most importantly, you’d recognize that the personal God that we serve speaks to each person differently and seeks to have a unique connection with you that is incomparable to anyone else. He loves you and will do whatever He can to mold your character to perfection.

Company: In the case that your leader falls, support them into restoration as far as humanly possible. (Romans 12:18)

We’re all guilty. We’ve all, at some point, been too quick to look at leadership and point out what could have been done better or how certain things could have been avoided. What is often forgotten is that those who aren’t in positions of leadership have the luxury of privacy. It’s easy to point out the wrongs of others when your own is tucked away out of sight of public scrutiny. Yet God sees all.

The mercy and grace and patience God shows us on a daily basis is the same mercy and grace and patience we are called to show others. Even leaders. They need twice as much prayer. Twice as much support. And sometimes, twice as much grace especially if they own up to their mistakes. We must have a sense of loyalty and compassion for our leaders and show them Christ in the same way that we expect them to live for Christ. And even though setbacks can be unpleasant, out of them can come opportunities to turn their fall into a powerful testimony of God’s restorative power.

Numbers 12 shows us the dangers of jealousy and how it can lead to hatred, division and strife. It teaches us that no one is above reproach, and even leaders can make mistakes. It’s important to treat others with the same respect and kindness that we would want for ourselves. We should learn to appreciate and value people for who they are, how God is working in their lives, and not let our biases and prejudices cloud our judgment.

Remember

God hates a person who stirs up conflict. If you are guilty of this, know that God is forgiving, extending grace and restoration. Seek Him today. If you have been affected by someone who caused conflict, remember that vengeance is the Lord’s. Allow God to fight the battle to bring restoration to those who have hurt you and bring blessings to you. (1 Peter 3:9)

3 thoughts on “The Seven Things God Hates: #7 – The Troublemaker”

  1. This is very insightful. One thing That you highlighted is that God’s punishments have always been intended for our growth and character development. Where today we might not become lepers, I believe God uses daily lessons, the things we might find uncomfortable or inconvenient or even frustrating, as his way today to aid in character development.
    I would love to know you thoughts on this regarding ‘cancel culture’ do you think cancel culture is more along the lines of the spirit of being a troublemaker that God hates or do you think that this might be one of the ways that we are called to recognize where we need to grow?

    This was such a great read. I’m looking forward to the next one!

    1. Hey Keanne, thanks for your comment! Great question. I think the spirit of cancel culture is more rooted in public shamming than rehabilitation. Rather than holding people accountable for moral infractions, livelihoods are taken away from those who veer off the status quo. While I can agree with the sentiment of not supporting a person who is actively doing egregious things, an important question is what’s the point of the punishment? To get back at someone who has offended others or to help restore morality in an individual? If it’s the latter, cancel culture needs to be accompanied by the necessary elements for growth and reconciliation, including forgiveness and a level of grace.

  2. Incredibly insightful! I’ve been studying Isaiah recently and it’s clear that theme of restoration & redemption is throughout the Old Testament.

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