Miriam and Aaron had a problem. They didn’t like Moses’ wife. So they decided, “Hey, God has spoken through us. Moses isn’t the only person who hears from God around here. We don’t like the way he does things, so we’ll just handle it from here on our own.” Sound familiar? They knew they were leaders. They knew that God had used them to speak prophetically to the people. But what they didn’t know was that they were in direct violation of God’s protocol.
Protocol is a code of conduct; it involves the customs and regulations dealing with diplomatic formality, precedence, and etiquette. In other words, protocol is the way we are supposed to conduct ourselves. There is a right way to approach God, leadership, and our fellow man. A violation of these protocols results in allowing the spirit of strife loose in our lives.
God came down in a cloud and chastised Miriam and Aaron. Yes, it was true that God spoke to His prophets through dreams and visions, but God spoke with Moses face-to-face. God asked the jealous siblings, “What were you thinking? Moses is the one I have appointed as leader. Why did you think you could speak against my leadership? Do you think I won’t do anything about that?” And He did…Miriam was instantly struck leprous.
Aaron repented for their insubordination, and Miriam was healed after a time of confinement outside the camp. But watch what happened next. In the 13th chapter of Numbers, Moses sends the 12 spies into the Promised Land to bring back a report. We know what happened…ten of them brought back an evil report and the whole nation of Israel rebelled against God, resulting in forty years of wandering and death in the wilderness. Where did that come from? It came from a violation of protocol. The people had been complaining about their leadership from the time they left Egypt. Even their leaders began to complain about Moses. Their words and actions were in violation of God’s protocol.
We must watch our words and our attitudes towards others. If we don’t guard our hearts and our mouths, we open the door to strife. If we break protocol by speaking against leadership, whether it is in the home, the workplace, the community, or in church, then we open the door for strife to destroy us and those around us. Let’s purpose in our hearts to do as the Bible commands: to love and pray for one another and for those in rulership over us. When we DO the Word, we close the door to the spirit of strife in our lives.