So are you thinking “But I don’t know anyone named Miriam?
Miriam was Moses’ older sister. Like Moses and their brother Aaron, she helped lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Not only was she a leader but she was also a talented songwriter as expressed in “The Song of Moses and Miriam.” Exodus 15:1-18. Read the beautiful lyrics here.
Clearly, Miriam was anointed, gifted, equipped, capable and called. But she wasn’t perfect. Who is?
Miriam wasn’t crazy about her sister-in-law and she was envious of Moses’ position. She didn’t mind saying so.
“Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses. They criticized him because he married an Ethiopian woman. 2 They said to themselves, “Moses is not the only one the Lord has used to speak to the people. He has also spoken through us!” The Lord heard this.” Numbers 12:1-2
God hears everything.
Of course, He, being her Father, was displeased but like any parent, He disciplined her from a place of grace and love, firm but forgiving.
One thing I’ve learned when reading a Bible event is to look for myself within the story and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the lesson I need to learn from it and He always does.
I wish I could tell you I’ve never been critical or envious of others but that would be a lie.
I am however incredibly grateful for grace, fully convinced God loves me enough to convict but NEVER condemn me.
After reading Miriam’s experience my heart was pricked because I’ve been critical and envious, even if just in thought only.
Just because we don’t say it doesn’t mean He doesn’t hear it.
“The Lord—knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath.” Psalm 94:11
It’s easy to scroll social media or be around others smiling while silently criticizing them or feeling envious of their experiences.
How can I ask God to bless my life then in my next breath criticize “her” life silently or aloud, her choices and failures, how she dresses, talks, acts, worships, believes, posts or votes, her car, house, weight, tastes, friends, etc?
And it is in those moments I remember Miriam.
Miriam’s story reminds me of my massive need for God’s discipline and His grace that comes through Jesus Christ.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb 4:16
So ultimately Miriam experiences a seven day period of leprosy and has to be isolated which was customary in that day.
But that’s not the end of Miriam’s story!
At the end of the seven days, she returned to the camp fully healed by God physically and I would also like to believe healed spiritually as well.
That pause gave her the opportunity to consider the cost of criticizing and envying others while also experiencing complete restoration, forgiveness and freedom by a loving Father. It was a tender, teaching moment between a Father and the daughter He adored.
I don’t want to be so consumed with the criticism and envy of others that I neglect my relationship with Him or fail to answer when He calls.
I’ve done this only to end up cold, spiritually shivering, feeling a void and emptiness that only His presence and grace can fill.
Thankfully God loves us enough to confront, forgive and restore us while teaching us from the lives of those who lived before us.
Paul said it beautifully “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” I Cor 10:11
So this week should we have the chance to criticize or feel envious, let’s remember Miriam and toss the thoughts and hush our mouths.
But should we fail, let’s not hesitate go to Him seeking forgiveness remembering “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.” Ps 86:5 and “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” Ps 103:8