Saturday, November 26, 2016

Miriam


"Women of Israel's Heroic Age"
Miriam: "Sing Unto the Lord"

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

Her Name Means: ”Bitterness"

Her Character: Miriam showed fortitude and wisdom but her jealousy would be her downfall.

Her Sorrow: That she was struck with leprosy for her pride and insubordination and was denied entry into the promise land. (Numbers 12:12).

Her Joy: To have played an instrumental role in the deliverance of God's people, a nation she dearly loved.

Her Pre-Story: Miriam was the elder sister of Moses by seven years and Aaron by four years, and the only daughter of Amram and Jochebed. She was the first woman in Scripture to be called a prophetess. (One chosen by God to speak His message). We often overlook the amazing fact that Miriam was highly regarded by God. This may seem a strange comment because all we remember is her sin and fall.

Her Story: The story of Miriam is in three segments.

1) (Exodus 2:1-10)
Miriam saved her brother Moses. As a child she assisted in saving the life of her brother Moses. At about the time that Moses was born, a decree had gone out to kill all of the Hebrew male infants in Egypt. To save Moses, his family placed him in a basket and set him adrift in a river. Miriam, walked along the bank of the river, watching over Moses as he drifted downstream. When the Pharaoh's daughter found Moses, Miriam approached Pharaoh's daughter and offered to help her find a Hebrew nurse to help care for the baby. The nurse ends up to be Jochebed, Moses' mother.

2) (Exodus 15:20-21)
The crossing of the Red Sea – and the song of Victory. Years later, led by Moses, Miriam, and Aaron. Miriam became the leader of the Hebrew women when they and their families escaped from Egypt.They crossed what was called the Red Sea. After safely crossing. Miriam has a victory dance with the Israelite women to celebrate the crossing of the Red Sea. (Exodus 15:21) “She sang the song of Moses: but it was also the song of the Lamb.” It is one of the few poems that survive from the ancient world. She is called a "prophetess" in (Exodus 15:20). Despite her personal charisma and power, her story has to a large extent been subsumed into the story of her brother Moses.

3) (Numbers 12)
Her rebellion and punishment. Miriam and Aaron criticize Moses for marrying a Cushite woman,(Zipporah) and then further rebel against Moses, claiming that they are equals as prophets. Miriam had great influence in her sphere as prophetess and leader, but she was not content. She coveted equal power with Moses. Miriam and Aaron were both popular leaders, but they were bound by the Law, represented by Moses. Miriam questioned Moses’ authority, and was punished with a disease that turned her skin white and leprous. Like her brother Moses, Miriam was denied entry into the promise land. (Numbers 12:12).

Miriam passed away at the eleventh hour of the completion of Israel’s journey of forty years (Numbers 20:1). Tradition has it that she was given a costly funeral and mourned for some 30 days.

Think of all she witnessed and was part of: she helped her mother save Moses from death, she saw his rise to power in the family of the pharaoh. She was present when Moses returned to Egypt and was witness to the plagues, the first Passover. She walked through the parted waters of the sea, then danced with the women in joy and praise of God. She was assigned the position of leader by God.

Miriam was witness to the giving of the Ten Commandments, the sin of the golden calf, the march through the wilderness, the manna and quail, the sending of the spies into the land, the budding of Aaron’s rod, etc… Being a part of the family she not only knew about these incidents, but was intimately involved with the decision making, hearing the discussions and personally feeling the results on the leadership. She was there at the giving of the Law and the instructions for the building of the tabernacle. Wow!

Her Place in God's Divine Plan: She is alongside her two brothers in ministry and has a God ordained position of great authority. She led a company of women and they danced, played instruments and sang the triumphant chorus of Moses.

Her Challenges Along the Way: The life they led was hard. Water was always scarce, the food supply was unreliable, and the physical living conditions were rigorous.

Lesson We Can Learn from Her Legacy: What happens when jealousy and ambition get in the way of our success as a leader. It is injurious to our character to be discontented with our own distinction, and to allow jealously desire the higher place of honor which another holds.

Genealogy:

Born: 1397 BC
Spouse: Hur
Children: Hur, Elimelech,  Sheber, Ardon, Jahdai, Hareph, Jesher, Shovav, Uri,  Jesher bin Caleb of Judah, Ploni Almoni. (Father of Naomi · Isaac )
Parents: Jochebed (Mother) · Amram (Father)
Siblings: Aaron (Brother) · Moses (Brother)
Death: 1281 BC. She was buried at Kadesh-barnea, on the mountain of Zin.

After Thoughts:
Miriam has some sober lessons to teach us. Miriam knew what it was to experience hope and despair, terror and deliverance, slavery and freedom, unimportance and prominence. She was a good example and she was a bad example; in fact, she was just like we are! We are simply not perfect every day of every month of every year! God is so gracious with us, and so patient, and so forgiving—but there are times when a loving Heavenly Father must act in decisive discipline, lest the course we have chosen destroy us and all of those who look to us for leadership and guidance.

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