Miriam in the Bible can teach us a lot About Positivity. She faced painful situations with grace and faith and her story shows how God honors those things. Let’s look at how we can do the same.
What Miriam in the Bible Can Teach Us About Positivity
A few weeks ago I was talking with my friend, Joanna, sharing about some of my recent struggles, especially with my attitude.
“I’ve always known you to be a positive person,” Joanna told me.
I chuckled, “That’s because most of the time we spent together was before John and I adopted seven more kids!”
When Joanna and I met, I only had three children. In that season of life, I was busy raising kids, volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center, and writing.
I was busy, yes, but when John and I started adopting kids from hard places we transitioned from “busy” into survival mode.
Overwhelmed with the added chaos and mess (not to mention kids’ outbursts and anger), I found myself complaining a lot. So much so that I knew things needed to change.
That’s when my family and I took drastic measures and attempted to go a year without grumbling—and I wrote about our year in a book, The Grumble Free Year.
It wasn’t an easy year, and our attitude-adjusting journey has made me sympathetic to women in the Bible who’ve faced challenging circumstances and didn’t handle them well. Women like Miriam in the Bible.
Who was Miriam in the Bible?
Miriam in the Bible may best be known as the big sister who helped save her baby brother from certain death. Daughter to Amram and Jochebe, and sister to Moses and Aaron, we first meet Miriam as a young girl who watches her baby brother being placed in the Nile in an effort to save his life (Exodus 2:4).
The next time we see Miriam in the Bible, she is a leader along with her brothers, taking the Israelites across the Red Sea into freedom. Exodus 15:20 says, “Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced” (NLT).
She led the now-freed nation to sing before the Lord, exclaiming his triumph over the Egyptian horses and riders hurled into the sea.
We know nothing of her life between Miriam the child and Miriam the prophetess in the Bible, but while Moses was a desert shepherd, she lived with her people in Egypt. And to be labeled a prophet, God must have used her greatly there.
If I were to guess, those around Miriam no doubt witness her strength and godliness during their captivity. And in their moment of freedom, Miriam might have believed that the hardest portion of her life was behind her.
Yet, as I’ve also discovered, while it’s easy to trust God for big miracles, harder is walking through the daily grind of life.
I tell my kids often that we are prone to complain when have unrealistic expectations and are hungry or tired. And even though the Israelites were now free from Egyptian rule, they still had a desert before them.
In the book of Numbers, we see the Israelites complaining a lot. They complained about the hardships, and they longed for the food from Egypt.
Miriam, still a leader, complained too. She and Aaron criticized Moses because he’d married a Cushite woman. Miriam also felt overlooked and unappreciated.
Along with Aaron, she complained, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he spoken through us too?” (Numbers 12:2).
In the verses to follow, God put brother and sister in their place. God clarified his special relationship with Moses (baby brother), and after God’s presence departed, Miriam looked down to see her skin as white as snow from leprosy. This is a long way to fall from the revered prophet who’d led the people in worship at the sea’s shore.
Thankfully, God’s punishment lasted for only seven days, but I imagine Miriam had a better understanding of God—and her position as a servant-leader—after that.
Guess what! This post is part of a series on Great Women of the Bible.
Be sure to check out all of the other posts in this series here: 15 Great Women of the Bible Every Christian Woman Should Study.
4 Things We Can Learn from Miriam in the Bible
1. God Can Use Us in the Midst of Hardship
As a child, Miriam in the Bible was a key factor in Moses’ rescue. Her quick thinking allowed Moses to be raised within their family home by offering their mother as the baby’s nursemaid.
Later, after she saw God triumph over the Egyptians, Miriam led the people in worship. Her praise exalted God and put to words the gratitude of the people.
If it hadn’t been for these impossible odds, the Israelites wouldn’t have understood the power of their God. And Miriam’s song still
reverberates through history.
2. Just As Our Praise Elevates Our Spirit, Our Pride Can Bring Us Down
Miriam in the Bible got into trouble when she stopped pointing out all the good God had done and instead pointed toward the (perceived) faults of others. As an older sister, Miriam wasn’t happy in her brother’s choice of wife. And she didn’t appreciate how baby brother Moses was getting all of the attention.
Comparing ourselves to others and wanting more of the glory never leads to anything good.
3. Our Complaining Hurts People, Especially Us
I’d like to hope that Moses’ and Miriam’s relationship was mended after that, but the Bible doesn’t say. We do know that Miriam had to live
outside the camp with a dreadful disease for seven days. She also had to live the rest of her days knowing how much she’d displeased God with her complaints.
Miriam’s attempt to put Moses in his place brought on God’s punishment externally, but we mustn’t ignore what it had already done to her internally. It’s not fun trudging around with a grumbling heart.
And it wasn’t just Miriam with the problem. God’s Word says, “All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!” (Numbers 14:2, NIV).
As hard as the desert was, the complaining brought everyone down. Numbers 14:29-30 says, “In this wilderness, your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun” (NIV).
Their grumbling not only cost them their joy, but it also cost them the Promised Land
This post originally appeared here: https://equippinggodlywomen.com/faith/miriam-in-the-bible-teach-positivity/
What Miriam in the Bible Can Teach Us About Positivity
My new book, The Elder Sister is Miriam’s story.
When Miriam’s mother gives birth to a perfect baby boy, her family feels something other than the usual joy that comes with new life—they feel dread. Egypt’s pharaoh has decreed that every boy born to a Hebrew woman is to be cast into the Nile and drowned. But through the wisdom of El Shaddai within her, Miriam and her mother know that to save this baby they must let him go.
Now, decades later, Miriam learns her brother has returned to demand that Pharaoh let the Hebrew people go free. But as supportive of Moses as Miriam desires to be, something other than the Voice stirs within her. After her years spent as a leader and prophetess among the Hebrews, can Miriam set aside her pride and accept the calling God has given her—and her baby brother?
Order The Elder Sister here: The Elder Sister