One of the amazing women in scriptures is Miriam. Even from childhood, she bravely cared for others. She was a leader, but she was not without fault. Her story begins in her youth when she was given the task of watching over her baby brother. The Egyptian Pharaoh was intimidated by the Hebrews. Like many people who feel insecure, he tried to gain security by putting others down. Since he was a powerful king, he took drastic measures to ensure his throne. He had all the newborn Hebrew boys put to death. Jochebed, Moses’ mother, could not bear to see her son fall to this fate. So she put him in a waterproof basket, set him in the Nile River, and hoped for the best. She set Miriam on guard to watch him and see what happened. Miriam watched as Pharaoh’s daughter felt sorry for this sweet crying baby boy. Miriam, sensing an opportune moment, quickly offered to help Pharaoh’s daughter find a nurse for Moses. Pharaoh’s daughter eagerly accepted the offer. (Exod 2:1-9 HCSB) Miriam was a brave little girl who risked her life to see that her baby brother was cared for. She also had the wisdom to know when and how to act. Had she made herself known too soon, before Pharaoh’s daughter became attached to Moses, she would have been in trouble for trying to save a Hebrew boy. This part of Miriam’s life reminds me that children are valuable. Miriam did not know how important her brother would become in Israelite history. She only knew she loved him and wanted him to be safe. My children are grown now, but there are still many children I know at church and in the community. They are worth my efforts to teach and care for them. I do not know what will become of them, but like Miriam I must do my part to help them.
Miriam was also a leader of adult women. After the miraculous trek through the dry path in the midst of the Red Sea, Miriam followed her brother Moses and led the women in praises to God. “Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her with tambourines and dancing.” (Exod 15:20 HCSB) Miriam once again understood the significance of the moment. She wholeheartedly and joyfully led the women to praise God. Women need women leaders to show them the way. I pray I can be that kind of woman. Respected because of a life well lived. I want to be like Miriam, wise, caring, joyful, and willing to step out on faith.
Finally, Miriam was humbled. In spite of our maturity, there are times when we fail. Miriam was no exception. The surface issue was Moses’ choice for a wife. Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses because he married a Cushite woman instead of a Hebrew woman. However, the deeper issue was that God had chosen Moses to lead the Israelites. “They said, ‘Does the Lord speak only through Moses? Does He not also speak through us?’ And the Lord heard it.” (Num 12:2 HCSB) God was not pleased. The Bible says Moses was more humble than any man on earth. God called them all out and spoke to them and Miriam became a leper. Since Miriam was affected and not Aaron, we can assume Miriam initiated the rebellion against Moses. Aaron is typically seen in scripture as a follower. However, Aaron must have loved Miriam deeply, because he immediately repented of their sin and begged for the life of his sister. Moses also cried out to God to heal Miriam. Miriam was sick for seven days and the whole camp waited for her restoration before they broke camp and moved. (Num 12:1-15 HCSB) In spite of this prideful attack on Moses, Miriam is remembered as a leader in Israel. She is mentioned again in the prophet Micah’s writings. “Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from that place of slavery. I sent Moses, Aaron and Miriam ahead of you.” (Mic 6:4 HCSB) I am so glad God forgives us. He understands our weaknesses and uses us in spite of them. This part of Miriam’s life reminds me to humbly serve God. I do not have to have a position of authority to be a leader and an influence on those around me. I simply have to be a woman who deeply loves and follows God.