Summary: Miriam, the sister of Moses, was a brilliant woman, and a leader- but, her leadership led to her rebellion. She was taught a lesson by the Lord, and restored. We should lead by listening both to the Lord, and the leaders that He has raised up.
Miriam: The Face of a Leader
Pastor Pete Amerman- Sr. Pastor, Hillside LBC, Succasunna
May 15, 2005
Micah 6:4-“I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam.”
Continuing our series on Unknown Faces from the Bible, remember that there are unknown characters in the Bible whose names and faces we may not recognize, but whose stories are significant in God’s plan and purpose in history. Today, we will look at a woman named Miriam, the sister of Moses & Aaron. Miriam was a key leader in the story of the Exodus of the nation of Israel from Egypt- one who often goes unrecognized as she led alongside of Moses and Aaron. But her leadership had one dark moment in which she lost sight of who she was, and what her role was. Thankfully, she was restored by God, and returned to her role as a leader, and remembered in subsequent years as one who had a significant role in the identity of the nation of Israel. And, today, I would like to especially focus on the women who are gathered here, many of whom have gifts of leadership. May the story of Miriam be an encouragement to you to use those gifts for the glory of God, and the building of His kingdom!
Notice what God said about Miriam in Micah 6:4- “I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam.” When we think of the most significant event in the Old Testament, we would have to say that the Exodus out of Egypt into freedom in the wilderness and eventually into the Promised Land rates as the most significant story- a story that parallels the New Testament story of Christ’s crucifixion to deliver us out of the slavery of our sin, into the freedom of Christian living, and eventually into Heaven where we will live eternally with Him. Now, when we think of who it was that led this Exodus, we would certainly think of Moses; we may think of his brother, Aaron; but, notice that the Lord, through the prophet Micah, also affirmed the leadership of Miriam in this story of the Exodus. God didn’t just say, “I delivered you through the leadership of Moses…” He also said, “I delivered you through the leadership of Moses, Aaron & Miriam.” The Lord Himself affirmed the leadership of Miriam, alongside of Moses and Aaron.
In fact, this passage affirmed that the Lord called each one to a significant leadership role in the Exodus. Moses was the Deliverer and the Lawgiver; Aaron was the High Priest; but, Miriam was the Prophetess and the Poet. She was the expression of the Arts in the story of the Exodus. If the power of Moses’ leadership was in the Law, and the power of Aaron’s leadership was in religion, the power of Miriam’s leadership was in music and poetry. Hers was the power of the heart. Her music and poetic inspiration spoke to the heart and soul of Israel. It shaped its consciousness. It became a rallying point this nation as it emerged from a nation living in slavery into a nation living in freedom.
Let us never underestimate the power that the arts have to shape culture, society- even the church! King David was one of the greatest kings in the nation of Israel- but, one of the most powerful tools that he used as a leader was the writing of Psalms and the playing of music. He wrote over 73 Psalms- and, his Psalms did as much to shape the identity and consciousness of Israel as his military conquests and his political leadership (and, we still remember them and quote them and find comfort in them today, over 3000 years later).
The key leader of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, wrote over 25,000 pages of theology, Bible commentaries, and treatises; but, Luther also wrote dozens of hymns and published the first hymnbook of the Protestant church- and, it was said of Martin Luther that his enemies feared his music even more than his preaching.
When we think of what forces shape our culture today, we may think that much of our culture is shaped by what goes on in the halls of education or the halls of politics or even the halls of the church; but, let us never underestimate the power of what takes place in the concert halls and the art galleries and the movie theaters and television sets to shape and influence culture!
For instance, if I wanted to communicate and influence people into consider the philosophy of atheism, I could do that by teaching in the classrooms of our colleges and universities; but, I doubt it would have much effect. But, if I wanted to introduce it and market it for the culture in general, I would enlist a well known musician, and he could write some words and play it to music would be so gentle and soothing that it would be easy to listen to and taken in by it: