Text: Exodus 15:19-21, Numbers 12:1-16
The first time we are introduced to Miriam, she is listening to her mother's instructions on how she can save her brother Moses. The assignment was very dangerous; every detail was important and one mistake could have ended her brother's life. The second time, Miriam is already a grown woman; the first woman called a prophetess in the Bible! The Hebrews had just crossed the Red Sea in a miraculous way. God had opened the waters in the middle and the people had crossed on dry land. Miriam suddenly becomes a psalmist, singing a beautiful song of triumph. She also helped her brothers Moses and Aaron to lead the people to Sinai. Miriam was a very special woman – smart and thankful!
The next time we hear of Miriam, she's much older. After many years of working among a generation whose hearts were hardened, Miriam's heart has also become hard. She and Aaron oppose Moses' marriage and complain that they are not getting enough credit as prophets in their own right. In return for all her complaining, God inflicts Miriam with leprosy. Due to her disease, she is removed from the camp for seven days.
Don't you think this is a sad way for her to finish the race? This is why we have to guard our hearts from any kind of bitterness or sin. This race is not an easy one. Life is hard sometimes and we have to face things that may discourage us; but He promises that He will never forsake us. We have the Holy Spirit who prompts us to continue to run after Him. How are you going to finish this race? May God help you finish strong, mature, and above all with a heart full of hope and faith in Jesus our Messiah.
In Exodus 15:19-21, Miriam the prophetess takes up a tambourine and invites all of the other women to follow after her. She sings: "Sing to The Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider He has thrown into the sea." We don't know if Miriam was a good singer or not, or if she was simply loud, but regardless she grabs up an instrument and leads the crowd in worship. Miriam writes a song of triumph to proclaim and recount the deeds of The Lord. This song isn't long or verbose or theologically complex. It is simple and honest, something everyone can understand and sing along with. Even though the Exodus has just happened, Miriam immediately begins recounting the works of The Lord.
Remembering and retelling is central to the Hebrew Scriptures. The Exodus is one of those events God is constantly reminding the people of, reminding them that if He can bring them out of Egypt, He can certainly provide for them in their current troubles. Their faith and hope in trouble rested upon their ability to remember. Miriam is an agent of hope by taking up the mantel of reminding the people of God's goodness to them. Though they had left their homes and were now wandering in search of a new land they could hope in their triumphant Lord.
How can you lead like Miriam, reminding others of the faithfulness of God and calling on them to join you in song? What good things had God done in your life that others might be encouraged by? How can you take up your tambourine and proclaim the Lord's works in your life?