Summary: Miriam was a very Godly woman who had a special ministry of song in Israel. That didn’t make her perfect, but it did serve to help her even when she stumbled.
OPEN: (I had the people stand as we sang the "Star Spangled Banner")
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof thru the night that our flag was still there
O say does that star spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
APPLY: It used to be - shortly after 9/11 – that people would sing that song out loud at ballgames and other public events… but they don’t that so much any more. I’ve been to little league ballgames and they’ll play the song, but nobody sings.
Why don’t people sing this patriotic song as much as they did several years ago?
Well, I can think of a couple of reasons:
1st - people don’t have the sense of "passion" they once had. Right after 9/11 our nation was shaken their and outraged by the atrocity committed against our people, and their anger translated into a patriotism that was at an all-time high for several weeks.
And the 2nd reason folks don’t sing the Star Spangled Banner as much as they did is - at public gatherings - there is generally no one to lead them. It almost seems like noone really wants them to sing. Thus – people don’t sing the song because they’re afraid they may end up singing it all by themselves.
Here in Exodus 15 the nation of Israel sings a powerful song of praise to God. And they sing with all of their hearts because they sense the passion of the moment. Egypt had enslaved their people for a long, long time . But God had led them out of that slavery with His right powerful hand. In fact, when the Egyptian had pursued them God had opened up the Red Sea to let Israel pass and then buried the Egyptian army in the waters as they pursued.
And, not only do they feel the passion, but there are a couple of people to lead them in their singing.
· First, there’s Moses
Exodus 15:1 says “Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: ‘I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.’”
And this song goes on for 19 verses (that’s a long song)
· Then Miriam picks up a tambourine and leads the women in song and they repeat the first verse of Moses’ song:
"Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea." Exodus 15:21
When I was younger, some Christian college students came up with their own version of this song (based on the KJV rendering of these verses).
“I will sing unto the Lord for He has triumphed gloriously
The horse and rider’s thrown into the sea (repeat)
My Lord, my God, my strength my song
Has now become my salvation.” (repeat)
I don’t know if that’s the melody the Israelites sang that day, but I DO know that the people sang their song of praise with all of their hearts because they sensed the passion… and they had people to lead them in singing
And one of those people who led them in singing was Miriam – Moses’ big sister.
We’re first introduced to Miriam when she’s just a young girl (12/13?).
In Exodus 2 Moses’ parents are faced with a crisis. The pharaoh has decreed that every Hebrew baby boy was to be thrown into the Nile to drown. For three months they hide their baby, but eventually it becomes obvious that will ultimately be fruitless. So they devise a plan. They build a basket and coat it with pitch, they put the baby inside, and then they put the basket in the reeds along the shore to be found.
Exodus 2:4 tells us “(Moses’) sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.
Now, she might have been there because her mother asked her to.
Or, she might have decided this on her own (we’re not told)
But one thing becomes apparent… she’s a very smart girl
We’re told that when Pharaoh’s daughter opens the basket, realizes it is a Hebrew child, and she “feels sorry” for the baby. At this point Miriam comes up asks Pharaoh’s daughter,
"Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" Exodus 2:7
She didn’t ask Pharaoh’s daughter if she wanted to keep the baby.
She didn’t ask if Pharaoh’s daughter even loved the child.