Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for May 28

Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for May 28

Avoiding a Critical Spirit

Numbers 12:1–15

I heard of a man who attended a local high school football game. He became annoyed by another gentleman sitting in front of him who incessantly berated one of the referees. The man made his way to the seat beside the obnoxious individual and asked him which of the guys on the field was his son. He replied, “Why do you ask?” The man responded, “So I can criticize him like you have been criticizing my son. He is the referee.”

It seems like everyone is a critic. If we are not careful, we can allow personal opinions and preferences to serve as the basis on which we criticize others. It is one thing to offer genuine, loving, biblical counsel, but it is an entirely different situation when our words attack or belittle someone. Our text this week is a powerful example of God’s thoughts about a critical spirit and how He chose to deal with it.

Comparing yourself to others can lead to a critical spirit. (1–3)

God had used Miriam as a prophetess (Ex. 15:20–21), but she allowed herself to lose sight of the fact that God can use anyone He desires to accomplish anything He deems appropriate. It appears Miriam became jealous and bitter toward Moses and what God was doing in his life. She complained about who Moses married and his role as a choice speaker of the Lord.

You are probably familiar with the small divots on the edge of many interstates and highways. They serve as deterrents from running off the road as well as a signal to get back in your lane. They may rattle your teeth, but they exist for your benefit. If you find yourself comparing yourself or your situation to others, you are riding the divots. Get back in your lane and stick to the task God has called you to do.

Criticism of others can be a form of questioning God’s work. (4–9)

In the simplest of terms, God called Moses, Aaron and Miriam to step out to the tent of meeting. God took Miriam’s critical spirit seriously. He would not tolerate it.

Be careful when you criticize or judge the ones God has in leadership in your church. He will protect His called ones, and He will be the One who judges them with a higher standard. God struck Miriam with leprosy and kept her outside the camp for seven days. It might sound harsh, but it indicates what God thinks of criticism among His people.

Confess a critical spirit and return to God. (10–15)

You will discover in church life that those who dwell on criticism usually contribute little else. If you are busy working, serving, loving and lifting, you will have little time or energy left for critiquing others. A critical spirit indicates a prideful heart, and a prideful heart must repent and return to God.

After seven days passed, Miriam returned to the fellowship with her family and the Father. Numbers 20 reveals Miriam was greatly honored when she died. The prophet Micah honored her as a leader (Mic. 6:4). With God’s help, we can avoid being critics. Search your own heart and ask God to free you from this common and hurtful sin.

By Bobby McKay
Pastor of New Liberty Baptist Church in Morton, Mississippi

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