It didn’t matter that Miriam was one of the leaders of Israel with her brothers, Moses and Aaron. With leprosy covering her from head to toe, she was as good as dead. This was the awful price she paid for speaking against Moses because of his Ethiopian wife. Fortunately for Miriam, her brother Moses was very gracious. He prayed that God would heal her, and God answered Moses’ prayer. Still, Miriam had to live with the consequences of her sin. Because of her disease, she had to be cut off from her family and from the entire camp of Israel for a whole week. The nation of over one million people could not travel until she had been brought back into the camp. When she came back, she became a national example of the consequences of speaking against God’s leader. Do you think this affected Miriam’s reputation as the respected prophetess of Israel? You’d better believe it did.

Sin has this effect on us. It is like leprosy which cuts us off from our families and friends. It keeps others from moving forward in their spiritual walk. It brings shame and disgrace upon us and casts a dark shadow upon everything we have accomplished for Christ. We are wise to avoid it like the plague.

How do we know when sin is present in our lives? There are some outward signs of this heart problem: when we spread gossip or hurtful things about others; when we manipulate people and situations to our advantage; when we have to hide our actions from others for fear of getting caught; when we cut corners and cheat to get what we want.

Friend, God has heard everything you’ve said. He has seen everything you’ve done. He knows every detail of your life, from your thoughts to your motives — and He will judge accordingly. Is there leprosy you need Him to cleanse today? Humbly ask Him to search your heart and make you whole again.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder