Teens of the Bible: Miriam

Miriam's Story::

Miriam is introduced to us as an older sister to a baby Moses. She was seven years older than Moses, and even at a young age took on what we would now consider adult duties. Miriam was born at a time when the Jews had just begun their enslavement under Pharaoh. it was a bitter time for most Jews, and so her parents gave her a name that means "bitterness." At the young age of five she began helping her mother with midwife duties.

In her early childhood, it was apparent that Miriam was a prophetess. The gift of prophecy was very apparent when she predicted that her mother would bear a son that would free the Jews from their slavery. She was given the name Puah, which means "whisperer," in honor of her whispered prophesies.

The prophecy concerning Moses was going to prove true, but it could easily have been doubted when Pharaoh gave his order to kill all the newborn baby boys in the realm. However, since Miriam and her mother were the principal Hebrew midwives, they risked their lives to save the boys born during that time. During that time, most men planned on divorcing their wives to prevent any boys from being born, however, Miriam, at only six years old, reminded her parents that they would be preventing all children from being born…not just boys. Even at a young age, God gave her wisdom.

Yet her parents decision to marry and continue having children resulted in the birth of Moses.

He was hidden for several months, but there came a time when he could not be hidden any longer. At this point, her mother placed Moses in a basket on the Nile river. Miriam followed the basket, believing fully that her brother would be found and cared for. She was right, because Pharaoh's daughter was the one that found the basket and took in the baby.

Miriam, the quick thinking young person that she was, brought Pharaoh's daughter Moses' mother as the boy's nurse.

While Miriam continued to spend most of her teen years enslaved by the Egyptians, she was there by her brother's side when he returned to free the Hebrew slaves. She was there when her prophecy came true and God fulfilled his promise. She would watch her people make good choices and bad. She would be one of the three shepherds leading her people through the desert to the promised land.

Unfortunately, Miriam also made her mistakes. She spoke unkindly toward her brother when he divorced his wife in order to put all his attention on fulfilling his duties to God. She was struck with leprosy, which her brother successfully appealed to God to heal. However, she would never actually enter the promised land.She would die one year to the day before her people crossed the Jordan into the promised land.

Lessons from Miriam's Life::

Miriam is a great example of how God can fulfill his purpose in different ways during the different stages of our lives. From her childhood through her old age, Miriam was a beloved figure among her own people. To this day, she is a popular figure in Judaism.

Her are some lessons we can learn from Miriam's life:

  • Be fair with your criticism. You don't always know everything about every situation. Before we speak with harsh words about anyone, we should think carefully and consider that there are more sides to every situation. We don't always have all the facts.
  • Women can be God's servants, too. Women sometimes have a harder time finding modern role models in biblical history. Women in those times did not have the freedoms women today experience. However, we see through Miriam that God can use anyone in any circumstances.
  • Learn to be humble. Miriam made mistakes, just like the rest of us. However, when she faced punishment for those mistakes she didn't get defensive. She repented for her sins. She prayed for forgiveness. She took her banishment and used it to reflect on her actions. We can sometimes do the same tho think about the decisions we've made.
  • Be free with your joy. We can get so caught up in the seriousness of our faith that we forget to experience the joy in it. Miriam's song is one of pure joy, and she reminds us that there are so many reasons to celebrate in the Lord. We should never forget to express those moments and revel in God's glory.
  • Live life fully. God has a plan for each of us, and that plan doesn't usually involve us hiding in a corner not living our lives. Miriam lived her life fully. She had her ups and downs. She experienced joy, torment, heartbreak, and love. She didn't run from responsibility, but embraced it. Even though she may not have entered the promised land, she lived a full life fulfilling God's purpose.