Pharaoh: the Hebrew word for the title held by the king of Egypt. The king was considered a god by his subjects. (As if!)
Prophet: a person who delivers messages for God.
Leprosy: a skin disease that most likely caused pus discharge (ew!).
Have you ever learned information about someone you thought you knew really well? Information you couldn’t believe…that shocked and confused you? That’s what happened this week to me with our sister Miriam.
I first met Miriam when she was just a girl, racing after her baby brother who’d been put in a basket and placed in the Nile River. The Pharaoh had freaked out because his slave population, who also happened to be God’s special people, kept growing and he was afraid they might rebel. So Pharaoh ordered all Hebrew babies to be killed.
Miriam’s mom had to save her baby so she placed him in the basket and prayed as he floated down river. Miriam raced behind him to make sure he was okay. By God’s hand, Moses was guided to the place where Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing. Although the princess knew this was a Hebrew baby, she adopted him.
Miriam, taking a huge risk, revealed herself to the Egyptian princess and asked if she could find a nurse for the baby. The princess accepted her offer and Miriam’s mom nursed Moses until he was old enough for solid food. Then from the outside as slaves, Miriam and her family watched baby brother grow up a prince in the palace.
We meet Miriam again after she’s grown up. Baby brother’s an adult too with an incredible story. He was chosen by God to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. God miraculously parted the Red Sea so they could cross on solid ground, escaping Pharaoh’s army. Miriam’s joy was uncontainable. She grabbed her tambourine, dancing and leading everyone, singing praises to God who saved them and set them free. Isn’t she beautiful?!
Prophet, but not Perfect
I knew all those things about Miriam, but I was amazed when I learned she was a prophet, a leader of her people along side her brothers Moses and Aaron. God’s special plan for Miriam’s life included sharing special messages and leading people in worship. Isn’t that awesome?
But don’t be too quick to put Miriam on a pedestal. She was human just like you and me. And she made a big mistake that cost her dearly. She complained about Moses’s wife because the woman was a foreigner. God was not happy when Miriam challenged Moses’s marriage so God punished Miriam with leprosy.
Leprosy was an awful disease that people feared. When you got leprosy in those days, you were kicked out of town and people ran from you, afraid they’d end up with oozing boils too.
Moses prayed for God to heal his sister and God did. God forgave Miriam and through this process their relationship was strengthened. Miriam is remembered throughout the scriptures as a great woman and faith leader.
Important Lessons from Miriam’s Life
Miriam was an AMAZING woman, but no one’s perfect. Even famous people make mistakes. As humans, we like to gossip and complain like Miriam did about Moses’s wife.
Ask yourself how many times you’ve complained about others? Have you insulted someone to their face, behind their backs or on Facebook?
If I’m honest, when I speak negatively about others, it’s because I feel insecure myself. I may want to confirm my power, popularity, or goodness.
Miriam’s story teaches us that when we speak negatively about another person, not only do we hurt them, but we insult God! Luckily for us, God is full of forgiveness and love. God gave Miriam a second chance and continued to use her for greatness.
He’ll give you a second chance too if you ask. What will you do with it? Continue to insult others or try and boost them up so they can do the great things God has planned for them?
Recap: What we learned from Miriam
God had an incredible plan for Miriam even as a child. I doubt she understood that protecting her little brother would eventually bring her and thousands of people freedom from slavery. When we help others, we never know what greatness might come from even a small act.
Miriam was God’s special messenger. God made it possible through Jesus for all of us to have a direct relationship with God. When we choose that relationship we become messengers of love, hope, and encouragement.
Miriam was a great leader, but she was not perfect. We learned her complaint angered God. Despite Miriam’s mistake, she was given a second chance and God continued to use her for greatness.
Miriam’s brothers prayed for her while she was suffering from the consequences of her action. Who are the people in our lives who pray, encourage, and look out for us when we are in trouble?
To consider: Pick one…
Commit to speak positively about others for one week and ask a CFF (Christian Friend Forever) to hold you accountable. Talk to your CFF about how you did and how you feel at the end of the week.
Post a compliment on someone’s Facebook page that you may have said something mean about in the past. Be sure to be sincere. Look for ways God has made that person special! Then journal about how you felt.
Consider what message God may be wanting you to share with someone at school, home, in your neighborhood or anywhere else. It may be simple. That’s okay.
Chat it Out
Time to go find someone to talk to about Miriam. Go find your trusted adult and see if they knew Miriam suffered from leprosy. After you do that, chat out these questions.
1. Miriam was a woman I can look up to in the Bible. Who's your favorite woman from the Bible? Why?
2. If you lived in Miriam's time period, would you have done what she did? Why or why not?
3. Did you learn anything new from Miriam? Please share.
Hey girls, believe it or not, I'm not perfect either. I once spread gossip about another girl because she liked the same boy I did. I really regretted being mean and I'm grateful for God’s forgiveness.
FOR PARENTS: I've studied the Bible for years. Yet I was amazed to find something new when I learned about Miriam. Isn't it wonderful how God continues to speak through our lives with His word?