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WILL NOT FORBID THE PROPHETS.
And it came to pass, that when the spirit rested upon "them, they prophesied."
You will remember my observing on a former occasion that the word "prophecy” does not always imply the gift of foretelling events, and in this instance we may suppose it only meant the power by which they were now enabled to declare to the people the will of God.
“But there remained two of the men in the camp,"and the Spirit rested upon them, and they were of them “ that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle, "and they prophesied in the camp.”
“And there ran a young man, and told Moses. And “ Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his "young men, answered and said, My Lord Moses, forbid
A circumstance somewhat similar to this, is related in St. Luke's Gospel, where a man being accused by John of casting out devils in the name of Christ, Jesus said unto him, “ Forbid him not : for he that is not against us is for us."(I.uke ix. 50.)
“ A man can receive nothing except it be given him “ from Heaven.”(John iii. 27.) Moses knew that though there might be an apparent irregularity in his proceeding, yet that the power which they possessed proved they were sanctioned by God.
“ And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake ? Is it out of consideration for me that you are led by a feeling of jealousy towards them, thus to notice their conduct ? Would God that all the Lord's people were pro“phets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon " them !”
It was a similar feeling of love and charity towards his brethren, that led St. Paul to exclaim “I would that ye “all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied.' (1 Cor. xiv. 5.)
“ And there went forth a wind from the Lord and “ brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp.”
MIRIAM AND AARON REBEL.
The request of the Israelites was granted, yet they had little cause to rejoice, for “while the flesh was yet between “their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord
was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the
people with a very great plague ; so true is it, that God knoweth best what is good for man!
May this awful event teach us to be contented with the portion allotted to each of us in this world, and not to distrust the power of the Almighty to provide us with all that may be necessary.
When our Saviour commanded us to pray for our daily bread, he also commanded us to add "Thý will be done."
“therefore take no thought, saying, what shall we seat? or what shall we drink ? but let us “ seek first the “kingdom of God, and his righteousness ; and all these 'things shall be added unto us." (Matt. vi. 31. 33.)
In reading this portion of Scripture where so many instances are related in which the rebellious spirit of the Israelites broke forth against their leader, it is impossible not to be struck with the forbearance and firmness which Moses displayed on the most trying occasions, never yielding to their importunities until he had laid his petition before the Lord, and sought assistance from the only quarter whence he knew he could obtain it. The time however was now come, when his feelings were put to a severer test than on any previous occasion, his own brother and sister regardless of all sense of duty and propriety, availing themselves of the pretext of his having married a woman not of his own nation, to find fault with him. Forty years having elapsed since that event had taken place without their having ever noticed it, we may be sure it was not the true cause of their complaint, which in reality arose from their jealousy towards Moses on account of the authority he possessed over them. Miriam, you may remember, was called a prophetess, (see Ex. xv. 20.)
147 and doubtless on that account, considered herself as peculiarly exalted above the rest of the children of Israel ; and Aaron probably entertained the same sentiments with regard to the station he filled as high priest.
“And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by “Moses ? hath he not spoken also by us ? And the Lord “ heard it.'
“Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased.” (Luke xiv. 11.)
The Lord God did not now as heretofore wait to be entreated of Moses. He saw his chosen servant falsely accused and reviled by those who ought to have been foremost in his defence; and condescended to "come down”. himself, and expostulate with his sinful creatures ; appealing to their own consciences to convince them of the magnitude of their sin, and confirming his servant Moses in the authority with which he had invested him, thus proving to them that he was no common prophet.
“And he said, Hear now my words : If there be a. “prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself “known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him “in a dream.”
“My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all “mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even "apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude “ of the Lord shall he behold : Wherefore then were ye “not afraid to speak against my servant Moses ?”
“And the anger of the Lord was kind led against them.”
** The Lord lifteth up the meek; he casteth the wicked “ down to the ground.” (Ps. cxvii. 6.) Awful and instantaneous was the punishment inflicted
“The cloud departed from off the tabernacle," a signal token of God's displeasure, “and behold, " Miriam became leprous, white as snow.
The leprosy was one of the most dreadful diseases to which in those days man was ever subject, both with regard to the nature of the complaint and the consequences it entailed upon the sufferer, who being thereby looked upon as
MOSES A TYPE OF OUR SAVIOUR.
unclean (see Lev. xiii. 3.) was not only excluded from all participation in the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish religion, but even obliged to live by himself, avoiding all communication with other men. Hence it was a disease held in especial abhorrence by the Jews, and more than one instance occurs in their history, when it was inflicted upon them as a judgment.
No mention being made of Aaron's suffering any punishment, we may conclude either that “God unto whom “all hearts are open,” saw that his conduct was less sinful than Miriam's, or that he forgave him on account of the penitence and humility he shewed in his subsequent conduct towards Moses.
We cannot read this chapter, in which the meekness of Moses is so conspicuous, without observing the striking similarity of this feature in his character, to that of our Saviour, who when he was reviled, reviled not again, but “committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” (1 Pet. ii. 23.) Nor let us forget the important lesson it teaches us, to bear patiently the injuries inflicted on us by others, and to "pray for them, which despitefully use, and “persecute us." (Matt. v. 44.)
“ Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and shall “say all manner of evil against you falsely for my or sake.”'
“Rejoice, and be exceeding glad : for great is your re“ ward in Heaven: for so persecuted they the Prophets “ which were before you.'
Spies sent into Canaan-Their false report Remonstrance of Joshua and Caleb-Intercession of Moses-The Israelites turn back-are defeated by the Amalekites-Rebellion of Korah-Aaron's intercession-Aaron's rod.
The Israelites were now approaching that land which had so long been the object of all their hopes and fears.
With "a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm “ and with great terribleness, and signs, and with won
ders,”(Deut. xxvi. 8.) had the Lord brought them forth out of the land of bondage, and though from their rebellious conduct many had forfeited the privilege of entering the land of Canaan, yet did God “remember his holy pro"mise, and Abraham his servant,” (Ps. cv. 42.) and the assurance he had given him that he would put his seed in possession of the land.
" And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which "I give unto the children of Israel.”
It has been supposed by some, from what is said in Deut. i. 22. that the Israelites distrusting the power of God to protect them against their enemies, took upon themselves to send the spies to search the land of Canaan : but even if we had not been told the contrary in this chapter, we can hardly suppose Moses would have expressed the satisfaction he did in the following verse, where it is written “the saying pleased me well.”
He was no doubt gratified by their prompt obedience to this command of God, which need occasion us no surprise, for as