Of spitting in someone’s face:
The LORD replied to Moses, “If her father had spat in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back.” – Numbers 12:14.
Spitting in someone’s face was considered the ultimate insult and a sign of shame imposed on wrongdoers. The religious leaders spat in Jesus’ face to insult him (Matthew 26:67). God punished Miriam for her smug attitude towards not only Moses’ authority, but also God’s. He struck her with leprosy, then ordered her out of the camp for a week. This punishment was actually quite lenient. A week was the length of time she would have been excluded if her father had spat her in the face. How much more she deserved for wrongdoing God! Once again, God was merciful while retaining an effective discipline.
Don’t take revenge because of:
The men of Ephraim called out their forces, crossed over to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, “Why did you go to fight the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? We’re going to burn down your house over your head.” – Judges 12:1ff
Israel had just won a great battle, but instead of joy, there was pettiness and quarrelling. The tribe of Ephraim was angry and jealous that they were not invited to join in the fighting (although Jephthah said he had invited them). The insults of the Ephraimites enraged Jephthah, who called out his troops and killed 42,000 men from Ephraim.
Jephthah usually spoke before he acted, but this time his revenge was swift. It cost Israel dearly, and it might have been avoided. Insulting others and being jealous are not right responses when we feel left out. But seeking revenge for an insult is just as wrong, and very costly.
Responding positive to:
A fool shows his annoyance at once,
but a prudent man overlooks an insult. – Proverbs 12:16
When someone annoys or insults you, it is natural to retaliate. But this solves nothing and only encourages trouble. Instead, answer slowly and quietly. Your positive response will achieve positive results. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath.”
Evil is an insult against God:
His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” – John 2:17
Jesus took the evil acts in the temple as an insult against God, and thus he did not deal with them halfheartedly. He was consumed with righteous anger against such flagrant disrespect for God.
©Kingsway International Church 1973.