This isn’t exactly how my study guide for the lesson on Miriam looks, it is similar. The guide has small “icon” picture guides for the three sections that did not copy over from the word document. I have a guide for all the women in the OT and a few in the NT. If you live in a nearby place, I would be more than happy to teach a class of ladies for a few weeks. Think on that. Here is Miriam:
Exodus 2,15, Numbers 12, 20, I Chronicles 6:3, Micah 6:4, Deut. 24.9
Preparing my heart to hear God’s Word: What would you consider the two strongest, positive points in your life? _______________________________
What would you consider the one prominent negative point in your life? ___________
Which do you think you will be most remembered for—the positive or negative?______
Relating God’s Word to my heart: Of all the preaching you may have heard in the past on Miriam, were the points made on the strength of Miriam or on the murmuring Miriam. My guess is that we are more prone to remember her murmuring than her strong leadership ability.
When we first meet Miriam she is an outgoing, brave child who is assigned the task of overseeing the plight of her baby brother adrift on the NileRiver. Her quick suggestive action made it possible for the family to stay together at least for another three or four years.
A long period of silence occurs until we read of her again in the Bible. We see her next in Exodus 15:20 when she is leading the Hebrew women in praise and worship after the victorious crossing of the Red Sea. The King James Version identifies her as a prophetess. (one whose responsibility is “to preach pure morality and heart-felt worship of Jehovah, and to act along and coordinately with the priesthood and monarch in guiding the state aright and checking all attempts at illegality and tyranny.”
This speaks well of Miriam! By the time we hear of her leadership in Exodus 15 we can estimate her age well into her sixties.
The weakness of those who bear the strong, active choleric temperament is often a judgmental attitude. Such weakness is manifest in Numbers 12 when Miriam shows her distaste and judgment of Moses and his Ethiopian wife. She goes beyond a casual criticism to biting, harsh condemnation. She slipped out of Spirit control into flesh control. The results:
- Aaron weakly follows her
- The Lord intervenes
- God’s work is stalled for a period of time
- Moses shows his brotherly understanding and forgiveness.
Miriam witnessed Moses during the plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea, the Ten Commandments established, and the Tabernacle worship enacted. Yet, she did not seem to fear him—probably because she saw him as her brother rather than God’s Man. Thus, Jesus warned: “. . .Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house.” (Matt. 13.57)
Miriam, Page 2
Numbers 20:1 records the death of Miriam. She lived a long and fruitful life; yet seemsmosremembered for her bold murmuring. That fact is a sad commentary.
Deuteronomy 24:9 is a stern reminder to all of us, not just the Jews. There are stern consequences for allowing the flesh to take control and become a critical believer. The sternness of the reminder is equal to the like stern reminder of “. . . remember Lot’s wife.”
Hope lies for all of us who might be prone to lay down criticism of God’s Man when we are reminded that God protects God’s Man and distributes consequences to those who wield the sharp tongued sword! At the end of the consequence, and confession of sin, we can be useful and must not be careless again.
Strong leadership tendencies should never be squelched. They should be cultivated as much as any other worthwhile conduct. Micah 6:4 reminds us that Miriam stood along side her brothers, Aaron and Moses, as a daring leader of the Exodus.
Living God’s Word:
What leadership tendency do you have? Are you using it wisely?
What leadership tendency do you see in the life of someone near or dear to you?
Could it be possible that God wants you to channel that leadership ability toward service for God? _______ If so, plan how you will direct that person’s views and energy toward usefulness in God’s kingdom. _______________________________
Bibliography: The Holy Bible, Scofield notes; God’s Word for Windows, (Eaton’s Bible Dictionary version) Every Woman in the Bible, (Thomas Nelson, 1999) The Spirit Controlled Woman, Beverly LaHaye, Harvest House Publishers, 1976) God Speaks to Women Today, Eugenia Price, Zondervan Publishing, 1964
(My lessons are copyrights. However, if you use them without permission, only you and God will know. I don’t sell them, but I do appreciate recognition)