Her name means “rebellious.” She was the responsible older sister who had guarded a helpless little brother and later had to learn an important lesson about complaining about God’s way of working.
Her story: Exodus 2:1-10, 15:1-21; Numbers 12:1-15, 20:1, 26:59; Deuteronomy 24:9; 1 Chronicles 6:3; Micah 6:4
Miriam was Aaron and Moses’ older sister. When Moses was born, she guarded him after their mother put him in a reed basket and into the river for safety. Miriam courageously intervened when Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby and asked if she could get someone to care for the child. Then, she ran and got their mother. Over forty years later, when the children of Israel escaped through the Red Sea, Moses led the men of Israel in a victory song praising God and Miriam led the women in a corresponding victory dance. At one point during Israel’s wandering in the wilderness, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses primarily because God communicated with Moses directly and they felt slighted. God called all three siblings into the Tent of the Meeting and stood in the doorway to speak to them. God told them that He revealed Himself to prophets, to them, in visions and dreams, but He spoke face-to-face with Moses. When God was done talking to them and moved out of the doorway, Miriam had leprosy. Aaron repented to Moses and Moses cried out to God to heal her. God told Moses to isolate Miriam for seven days. The entire nation of Israel waited for Miriam to be healed and to come back into the camp. Miriam died in the wilderness and was buried there.
When God speaks through the prophet Micah, He says, “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.” Miriam was acknowledged as a leader like her brothers.
Her legacy for us: Miriam was a responsible leader in her own right. However, she became disgruntled and murmured to Aaron, she tempted him to grumble too. God met her face-to-face to correct the situation and taught an important lesson. Miriam became a living reminder of the power of words and consequences of grumbling against what God is doing.
Our response to Him: When do I forget the power of words and grumble against Your plan? When I don’t understand Your plan, teach me to come to You and ask for clarification and instructions. Please help me sift my words so I speak words of life.