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Why would God punish Miriam for grumbling against Moses?

Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite.  “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this. Numbers 12:1-2
            Moses was a leader of around two million people walking through the desert.  Tensions were high and the people needed unity.  For Moses’ sister, Miriam, to stir a divisive attitude against the man God called to lead a nation could destroy the spirit in the camp.
            Punishing her with leprosy sent a message that no one, not even Moses’ sister, can get away with slander.  The situation showed how humble Moses was and qualified him to be God’s leader—he pleaded for his sister’s healing and saved her life.
            We have the freedom to speak but we must be careful what we say, especially toward God’s leaders.  Causing division can seriously damage God’s plans.