Miriam

Scripture References: Exodus 15:20, 21; Numbers 12:1-15; 20:1; 26:59; Deuteronomy 24:9; Micah 6:4

Introduction

  • Miriam was the daughter of Amram and Jochebed. She had two brothers Aaron and Moses. She helped her mother in rescuing her brother Moses. She was a Prophetess and led the women in singing after their deliverance from Egypt.

Qualities of Miriam

Positives

  1. She was Protective and wise.

We studied about Jochebed how she left her baby boy in the reeds of the river Nile.  Exodus 2:4 says, ‘And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.’ This verse shows her deep concern for her little brother. She was so protective about him and was concerned to see what will happen to him. Her action was quick and wise in helping Pharaoh’s daughter by bringing her mother to nurse for her own child. She was not that old to act so quick in that situation, she was a young girl but she acted mature. All this points out her upbringing and her walk with God as a child.

2. She led the women of Israel in Praise and worship.

We see in Exodus 15:20,21, how Miriam carries her instrument and all the women went after her singing praise unto the Lord. Miriam didn’t utter a word unto the women but her action spoke a lot. She was so influential through her action and thus she sets a good example to all the women through her life.

3. She was a Prophetess

We are introduced to Miriam in Exodus 2 as a small little wise girl and in Exodus 15:20 we see her as a Prophetess. Through this we get to see her growth in her spiritual life. A Prophetess is someone who reveals God’s word to the people. This gift of her tells us about her relationship with God.

4. She used her talents for the glory of God.

We see in Exodus 15, the song of Miriam. We see her playing the instrument, she had some musical talents and she used them all for the glory of God.

5. She learnt from her mistakes and never committed those mistakes again.

We all sin. But we know how a believer and an unbeliever responds when God disciplines us for our sins. When a believer sins and when he/she faces God’s discipline, a believer repents and doesn’t commit those sins again. We see that in the life of Miriam. Once she realises her mistake, she remained silent for the rest of her life, submitting herself to the leadership of Moses until her death. 

Negatives

  1. She looked down on Moses because of his wife.

Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married. A Cushite is from Cush, a region south of Ethiopia, where the people are known for their black skin. Moses married a Black African woman. We see, she thought light skinned Hebrew woman to be of higher race than this Cushite woman who was black. But, God approved of this marriage because God didn’t punish Moses but punished Miriam. Since she was so worried about the skin colour, God gave her the worst skin disease- Leprosy.

2. She was Jealous on her own brother.

In the positive , we saw her as a protective sister setting a good example but as time passed she sets a bad example of being jealous on her own brother. We see in Numbers 12, Miriam and Aaron comparing themselves with Moses and  they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the Lord  heard it. As a child we didn’t observe this nature of Miriam though Moses grew in the royal palace and she being under slavery but as she become influential (Prophetess) she started comparing herself with her brother Moses and as a result of it she was punished by the Lord.

3. Nature of Pride

In the same chapter Numbers 12, we see Miram and Aaron saying, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it.  (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.) The way she questioned shows the nature of Pride in her and the following verse talks about the humility of Moses which summarises that she was proud of herself.

4. She was an instigator.

We know how both Aaron and Miriam spoke against Moses, but God punished Miriam and not Aaron. Maybe it shows that she was the first one to start or ignite and because of her, Aaron would’ve also joined in rebelling against Moses. We see this character in Aaron, for he always pushed to sin because of other’s pressure even in making the Golden Calf. God punished the people who pushed Aaron to sin.

Lessons learnt from the life of Miriam.

  1. We should like Miriam trust God and act wisely when difficult situations arise and by God’s providence it would bring good results for the glory of God.
  2. We must use whatever gifts and talents that God has placed in us to the fullest for the Glory of God.
  3. From the negatives we learn, that our God is a gracious God at the same time he’s a consuming fire as mentioned in Hebrews 12:29. Many a times it might be a small sin or mistake for us just as what Miriam would have thought, but it invoked the anger of the Lord and as a result God punished her severely by giving her the deadly disease leprosy. God is patient with us that doesn’t mean we take him for granted. It must be our prayer that we must not invoke God’s anger through our words or actions. Also, we must not lead others to sin through our words or actions.
  4. We must not look down on anyone because of their colour or status but to love everyone as we’re all created in the image of God.
  5.  We must not allow the nature of Pride to take root in us. When we allow it to grow it will destroy us completely. We must always be sober and not think highly about our own self.
  6. Another important lesson we must know is to tame our tongue. In James 3, James warns us about taming the tongue. James 3:5, Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!  We must be watchful on the use of her tongue.
  7. No matter whatever gifts God has given us, he has always called us, woman to be submissive to male headship both at church and at home. We are called to support and submit to male headship. Rebelling against that is sin. Today we see in the name of feminism, women are fighting both in the world and in the church that they have equal rights and they can do whatever men does. That’s wrong and that’s against God’s creation. In creation God created Man as a head and women to be his helper, doesn’t mean that we’re not equal in God’s eyes, but God has given different roles for Men and Women. Men are called to head and to lead, whereas he has called women to help and be submissive to male headship.
  8. Last lesson that to learn positively is that even if we sin, we should repent and not commit that sin again. We see though Miriam sinned, later we see her realizing her mistakes and not committing that sin again and learnt to be in submission until her death.

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