Open Your Bible
Exodus 2:1-8, Exodus 14:1-31, Exodus 15:19-21, Isaiah 12:2
BY Erin Davis
We assume Miriam was simply the sister who watched her barely weaned brother float helplessly down the river, then witnessed his miraculous rescue by the hands of Pharaoh’s daughter. But there is so much more to her.
It was Miriam who boldly offered to retrieve a nurse for the princess and then ran to her mother to reunite her with her boy. (What a girl!)
Miriam saw her people spared from the twelve plagues that struck all of Egypt. She then fled with her people when Pharoah miraculously let them go.
With dry sand of the Red Sea between her toes, Miriam watched towers of water stand at attention for her people’s passing.
It was Miriam who busted out her tambourine and led the people of God in a holy conga line to celebrate Israel’s deliverance: “Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted; he has thrown the horse and its rider into the sea” (Exodus 15:21).
This is a woman of conviction.
This is a woman of faith.
This is a woman of praise.
But she is not (and neither are we) a woman without need for a Savior.
Numbers 12 feels out of place in the snapshots of Miriam’s life. It reads more like a scene from one of our family vacations. The siblings are at each other’s throats. What about exactly? The Lord’s favor. Who deserves it? Who doesn’t? Who has more than their share?
Turns out even prophetesses are prone to spiritual envy.
With rebellion in their hearts, Miriam and Aaron grumbled. “They said, ‘Does the LORD speak only through Moses? Does he not also speak through us?’ And the Lord heard it” (v.2). The Lord responded in anger, striking Miriam with temporary leprosy. Why? Because here’s the truth about spiritual envy: it uncovers our lack of faith.
When we resent and covet the blessings God has given others…
When we worry someone else’s adequacy is a commentary on our inadequacy…
When we look at someone else’s piece-of-the-kingdom pie and worry we will get the crumbs left over…
When we want to trade in our gifts for something more “flashy”…
Spiritual envy reveals little pockets in our hearts that are still absent of faith, corners not yet convinced that God is faithful and good. We doubt even when we’ve been delivered, after we’ve seen Him make a way where there seemed to be no way. This means we cannot rest on yesterday’s praise, because we will never stop needing Him. Life will never stop giving us opportunities to choose to trust that He will come through.
Yes, Miriam is a woman who lived her life for God’s glory. But He is glorified in her weakness, as is He is in her faith. Her dramatic delivery from slavery points to a more important need. She needed to be rescued from her sinful heart. She needed to be set free from her shame. So do I. So do you. Because Jesus is faithful to do it, let us bust out our tambourines in praise.