Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jewish Homegirl Rocks the Exodus

There are some colorful people in the bible. There's also a bunch of stuff that happens where you can't help but go, "Say whattttt???"

Stick with me here.

Sometimes, I really think too many cheesy version of bible stories make us forget that the people in the bible were in fact, people too! We think of them as superheroes or we overlook them completely.

Let's look at one example out of the book of Exodus.

You may remember a Sunday school story about baby Moses. If you don't, I know there are several animated versions that are decent and I'm sure there's a Veggie Tales version out there somewhere (because talking vegetables just make the Bible more interesting).

Baby Moses is born during this crazy time when all Hebrew newborn boys are supposed to be thrown into the Nile. His mother hides him for as long as she can and then sends him down the river in papyrus basket.

Exodus 2:4 says, "His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him."

There she is! Miriam is Moses' sister. She undoubtedly watched her parents fret over how to hide Moses and then make the agonizing decision to send him out in the basket.

Sure enough, the Pharaoh's daughter finds little Moses. Then, because of Miriam's quick thinking, Moses' mother ends up being payed to raise her own son! (see Exodus 2:1-10 for that little pip of a story).

So have you ever really thought about Miriam? She's not even named initially in Exodus! However, there some things we can learn from Miriam and about the character of God!

1. She was a faithful woman of God

Miriam was a Jewish homegirl. She would have been raised learning all about God and what he had done in Genesis. From Adam to Joseph, she would have known about it.

Interestingly, we don't hear from Miriam after the birth of Moses until the exodus. It's at this point that we have that crazy Red Sea incident. God parted the Red Sea! We often can skip right over that because we've heard it so many times, but don't miss how amazing that is!

So the Israelites make it through the Red Sea and they immediately start praising God. Miriam comes back in at Exodus 15:20:

"Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a timbrel in her hand and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing."

Miriam was one of only a handful of women that was called a prophetess (i.e, BIG DEAL!) She also acknowledged what God had done by praising him (and pretty much rocking out)!

2. She was a sinner

Skip ahead a little bit to the book of Numbers and we find the Israelites still doing there thing in the desert (by thing, I mean a tiresome roundabout of stubbornness).

We find Miriam again in Numbers 12:

"Miriam and Arron spoke against Moses... and they said, "Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?" And the Lord heard them."

You really could end a that last part with a dramatic "dun Dun DUN!" Miriam and Aaron are having a little power struggle here. The first time I read it, it sounded a lot like when people talk about each other and really try to one-up each other, "Well, is Moses REALLY the only one that God talks through? I mean come on! He's spoken to both of us! Why does he get be the one in charge of all this?"

Well God heard her and talks to all of them and pretty much puts them in their place. Then God turns her instantly into a leper! You heard me! She immediately becomes leprous. That means flesh being half eaten away and everything. Pretty gross stuff to say the least.

God mercifully heals her, and Miriam spends the rest of her life in submission to God and Moses.

3. God used her

So we see Miriam is a woman of God. She is also a sinner. As is God's way, he still uses her to fulfill his purpose. Many, many years later, Miriam comes up again in Micah 6:4 when God says,

"For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam."

Miriam was an integral part in Moses' life and the exodus from Egypt. She is an example of how God takes a sinful, imperfect person and uses them to make an eternal impact.

Are you allowing your past mistakes to hold you back from what God is calling you to do?

What do you need to surrender to him in order to fulfill your God-given purpose?

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