Miriam Speaks

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Who Leads?  Exodus 2: 1-10; 15:20-21; Numbers 12

She has a presence.  Dignified, strong, yet friendly and approachable.  Her manner suggests a maturity from a long life with many pivotal experiences.

“Moses was my little brother,” she begins.  “I suppose I have always felt somewhat protective of him since my mother relied on me to protect him when he was a baby.  That pharaoh, that mad man, decreed that the midwives should kill all the baby boys born to the Israelite women.  The cries of mothers and their babies still ring in my ears,” she said putting her hand to her ears and shaking her head.

Gaining her composure, she continued.  “God favored us—favored Moses!  Who could have imagined that the pharaoh’s own daughter would rescue him and have pity on him?  It was the hand of God, and I knew in my heart that he would be a great man. My mother whispered the promises of God into his little ears every time she had him in her arms.  Even by the time he was weaned and went to live in the palace he knew he was an Israelite, and he knew God had a claim on his life.”

“I saw him from time to time as he grew up.  During his teen years he gloated in his position as the princess’s son, but I always reminded him who he was and whose he was,” she stated emphatically.  “As he matured his intelligence and strength were well-known.  However, I knew that he had come to terms with his status as both a prince and a man called by God.  He struggled with the injustice that our people endured, and in a moment of immaturity and passion, he tried to remedy that by killing an Egyptian overseer who treated us with brutality.”

“Oh, how God worked in those days.  It was a wonder to behold; something we can never forget.  He not only made the Egyptians release us, they gave us gifts to take, and many of them came with us when they saw the power of God.  Moses led us with the very power and might of the Lord.  No one could have done what Moses did without God’s power.  I rejoiced in song with our people when the last Israelite stepped up on dry land out of the sea, as we watched God destroy enemies who tried to stop us.”

She paused in her storytelling, remembering; memories lit up her face.  Then she looked down and took a deep breath before she went on.  “You know? I could have destroyed the whole thing.  With my jealous heart and my bitter words, I could have destroyed my brother and my people!”  She looked up as tears rolled down her face.  “But my tears are not from sorrow, they are from joy—in thanksgiving.   I lift my praise to our God because he had mercy on me. I discovered that the worst enemy was NOT the evil pharaoh, but Satan, the evil liar who seeks to destroy all God’s work and all God’s people.”

“I am older than Moses.  Our brother Aaron and I helped him.   Well, we attempted to help him but sometimes we did not agree. There was a point during that time when I rejected Moses’ leadership.  I was prideful and I tried to gather up opposition to Moses among the camp.  God was very angry; he called Moses, Aaron, and I to meet with him. God reprimanded me and caused me to be covered with leprosy.”  She held out her hands as she continued, “He covered us in a pillar of cloud, and when the cloud went away I was white with leprosy.”

“Moses begged God to heal me and not to destroy me.  After  I had hurt him, Moses still loved me and forgave me.  That showed me he was the better leader, and before God, I was nearly paralyzed with fear. But God had mercy on me.  He put me out of the camp for seven days.  Seven days when I had no one but God.  It was the most important week of my life, because I learned that it was God whom I serve, no myself, not someone else.  The most important thing is that God is pleased with me.”

Lifting her hand in praise, she sang,

“The LORD is my strength and my song,

and he has become my salvation;

this is my God, and I will praise him,

my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

                                                                                      Exodus   15 : 12

You can find a Bible study guide for this story on the Women Speak page.