Miriam is a significant character in the Bible. We see three glimpses of her life, all of which give us great opportunity to learn from both her highest and lowest moments.
She is first mentioned in Exodus chapter two as a young girl. We find her standing at a distance watching to see what would happen her baby brother (Moses).
Many of us are very familiar with this passage of scripture. We can only imagine the emotions that Miriam experienced as she watched and waited. The Nile was a dangerous waterway and she had seen her mother’s actions. It was time to let go and trust God, but she longed to see what they all hoped for, a miracle.
Indeed there was a miracle and the baby was ‘pulled from the water’ and saved by the Princess of Egypt, no less. Then, the opportunity to intervene presented itself and Miriam, who stood watching did so. Everything changed when this bold little girl spoke up!
We find her again in one of the most dramatic moments recorded in the Bible. The Hebrew slaves have escaped from captivity. They’ve finally been set free! But then, their captors had a change of heart and pursued them. The sea stood before the Israelites and they were trapped.
It’s a remarkable, faith building account that has been often recounted by teachers and preachers and parents as well. The suspense was high and as God intervened, the miracle was breathtaking.
Moses leads a song of praise and victory and at the right moment, Miriam sang her own song of worship. She not only sang, she danced! She led the other women to do the same!
The little girl that once stood watching on the bank of the river Nile, now stood by another body of water, the Red Sea. She witnessed another miracle and she once again took the opportunity to speak up. She is a poetess, a prophetess and a worship leader. Her words impacted lives!
And then, there was another day, a day where her words led to severe discipline at the hand of God. How could this be? This bold little girl whose words were instrumental in saving her baby brother and ultimately the Hebrew nation. This grown woman who knew how to worship and lead others to do so.
There are many opinions of the hows and whys. But here’s what I know. When her heart and words became critical, there were dire consequences.
God was not pleased. Marion was punished and punished severely. She faced shame and humiliation as well as impending death. Her brother whom she had watched over so lovingly as a baby, the same man whom she stood beside and sang praises, intervened on her behalf and prayed asking God for mercy.
Mercy was given. Forgiveness was extended. Death was avoided. A lesson was learned.
This lesson is one we can learn from as well. There are times to speak up! There are times to rejoice and lead and raise your voice. There are other times when we need to carefully examine our hearts and our words before we face disastrous consequences that critical comments can deliver.
I know, I truly do. I understand, I assure you. There’s so much wrong going on in the world! So much hatefulness, so much unnecessary confusion! And there are most certainly times we should speak up!
If your words offer a solution to the problem you see, speak up. If you can encourage another person, speak up! If you have a praise, speak up! If you can make a difference, speak up!
But if your words only point out the problem, if they only complain, if they only spread more hate, lies, gossip, despair and criticism, it is a time to be quiet.