Started Well, Stumbled, Restored in the End
We’ve been studying Bible characters. Through them we learn who God is, who we are, and what sin is and its consequence. The Bible teaches that even Biblical characters regularly sin and shows how God deals with them. So today, we will talk about Miriam who started well but stumbled in the end.
1. God grants spiritual access.
“Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.5 Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it.” Exodus 2:1-5.
· Perhaps because her parents were spiritually attuned with God and may have been passed on to her, Miriam took the responsibility of watching over her infant brother Moses.
· And because she was a willing instrument in her teenage years, in her aging life, we see that God granted her some spiritual leadership positions in the Hebrew community – a prophetess and the chief singer in Aaron’s ministry.
2. God calls the imperfect.
“Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. 2 “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this.” Numbers 12:1-2.
· This part of Miriam’s story was written to demonstrate that God can use the foolish things of the world to serve His purpose and plan.
· Miriam was foolish to instigate an attack against her very own brother she helped save.
· Questioning Moses’ credibility to lead is a question of God’s ability to choose.
3. God helps the fallen to walk in peace.
“9 The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them. 10 When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam’s skin was leprous—it became as white as snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had a defiling skin disease. 11 and he said to Moses, “Please, my lord, I ask you not to hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed. 12 Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother’s womb with its flesh half eaten away. 13 So Moses cried out to the Lord, “Please, God, heal her!” 14 The Lord replied to Moses, “If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back.”” Numbers 12:9-10
· This is God’s way of teaching Miriam some lessons on peace and grace.
· To stop her from causing more chaos and help her find peace, she must be isolated from the community.
4. God’s grace restores the fallen.
“15 So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back. 16 After that, the people left Hazeroth and encamped in the Desert of Paran.” Numbers 12:15-16
· God waited for Miriam to learn her lessons through isolation. Her quarantine could have given her some time to think and examine her attitude and behavior.
· God, moved by His love for her, waited for her, and then restored her to the community.
· Like a human father, God disciplines the ones He love.
· Divine discipline helps us to correct our attitudes and behavior spo we can share in His holiness.