“And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, ‘Heal her now, O God, I beseech Thee.’ And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again.”
Numbers 12: 13, 15
King James Version
“Miriam – Her Power Restored”
“Respect – is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.”
Do I uplift others in my life by respecting their God-given talents and abilities?
“Without respect, love cannot go far or rise high; it is an angel with but one wing.”
“Love’s trinity, self-perfect, self-sustaining; love which commands, enables, and obeys; you give yourself, in boundless joy, creating one vast increasing harmony of praise.”
English Hymn Writer
I’m certain there are people who have lived throughout history whom we would all enjoy meeting. I wish it had been possible for me to meet Helen Keller, someone I greatly admire.
In my long list of the people I would have loved to meet, Dr. Paul Brand is near the top. Born to missionary parents living in southwest India, he was encouraged to become a physician like his father. However, Dr. Brand at first followed a path that led him to train as a carpenter and builder, skills which became integral to his work with leprosy patients.
After completing medical school at London University, Dr. Brand and his wife Margaret, also a physician, returned to Vellore, India in 1946.
This was where the Brands came across “leprosy beggars,” individuals who were deformed, blind and crippled by the disease.
Up to this time, there was a great deal of misunderstanding about the cause of leprosy deformities. In medical circles, common thought was that the hands and feet of infected people, “simply disintegrated or rotted away” because of the disease process.
Through extensive research, Dr. Brand identified that leprosy chiefly attacks the nervous system, with resulting tissue destruction because patients lose the “warnings of pain.” Dr. Brand called this effect the “gift of pain,” for leprosy destroys the sensation of pain in affected parts of the body and “pain-deprived people inadvertently injure and destroy themselves.”
I share this interesting medical information with you because it strikes directly at the heart of our devotional for today.
As we have learned, Miriam was called a “prophetess” by God. She was gifted to be a prophet of praise – lifting the hearts and voices of the children of Israel to heaven in praise and hope to their Father.
But just like leprosy damages the nerves of our body, so a spirit of negativity damages the nerves of our soul.
In leprosy patients, the body becomes numb to pain. When we harbor a spirit of murmuring and negative thoughts we numb our souls to the power of praise.
At first, when we see Miriam struck by such a damaging disease as leprosy, it is easy to think that God dealt too cruelly with one of His daughters. But when I realized that Miriam’s bitterness and complaining did to her insides what leprosy did to her outside, it is understandable that God used such a vivid example as a lesson for His children down through history.
Praise God, He didn’t abandon Miriam or leave her to the ravages of leprosy. Over the course of a week, she, day by day, became “clean.” What’s more, all of Israel waited to begin traveling again until Miriam was restored to the place God had given her within the leadership of Israel. Miriam’s mistake of negative grumbling, complaining, and disrespect, did not destroy her ability to be used by God in the future.
Why? Because praise heals! As Miriam again took up the mantle of praise, laid on her by God, she was made whole to be the person God intended.
Unfortunately, it is very easy for all of us to fall into the trap of disrespectful murmuring. I found myself doing this very thing earlier this week. What I have personally recognized is that when we disrespect others with our negative complaining, we can’t help but yield a harvest of destruction in our own hearts and souls.
By returning to a state of heavenly praise, healing will be rained upon us as we receive our Father’s blessings.
“Show proper respect to everyone….”
1 Peter 2: 17
“Who Am I”
“I am a little thing with a big meaning.
I help everybody.
I unlock doors, open hearts and dispel prejudice.
I create friendship and goodwill.
I inspire courtesy and admiration.
Everybody loves me. I bore no one.
I violate no law. I cost nothing.
Many have praised me.
No one has ever condemned me.
I am pleasing to those of high and low degree.
I am useful every moment of the day.
I am Respect!”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Dorothy Valcarcel has a 25-year career working with charitable organizations worldwide. Her experiences have taken her into ghettos, orphanages, domestic abuse shelters and food kitchens. The insight she gained, along with her own personal struggle to overcome challenging disabilities sustained in a life-threatening accident, are the catalyst for Transformation Garden - a website designed to encourage women in their walk with Jesus. Dorothy is the author of the soon to be released book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, published by Revell.