Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Day 6 Miriam

The sound of the tambourines, along with voices lifted high echoed through the canyons of the desert.  The prophetess led the women with dancing and song, hearts full of joy. Freedom! Her voice lifted up to the Heavens as she sang to those who followed, “Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.  The horse and its rider he has hurled in to the sea.” (Exodus 15:20-21). Her spirit was thankful, and she could not contain her excitement.  Miriam sang louder, danced faster and beat her tambourine encouraging the others to follow. Little did this woman of God know, gone would be the tambourine and music, song and shouts, but pain, embarrassment and humility; for not too far into the future, she would be an outcast leper, humbling herself under the mighty hand her voice now praised.
According to Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4:1, we all have gifts and talents God has given us to use for his Kingdom and purpose.  Some are called to teach, preach, oversee, give, encourage, pray or missions. As servants of Christ, we are called to do something.  I enjoy encouraging other women to have a deeper prayer life, read and meditate on the Word of God and make sure the calling of their faith.  Tommy is called to give.  He is one of the most generous men I have ever met and taught me to give more to those in need.  I can see in my children different strengths each of them have.  Nicholas has an excellent imagination and loves to play with the little children; he would be an amazing Youth Pastor.  Maddie has been gifted with intelligence, prayer and God’s spirit to love.  She can memorize anything, pray over everyone and we encourage her to pray about the mission field where she can help many women in need.  Matthew is a talker! Tommy and I pray over him to use his unbridled energy, desire to communicate and his love for others to spread the Gospel of Christ as a pastor, missionary or evangelist. 
I know my gifts and talents under the boundaries God has set for me, I desire to thrive and use those gifts to my utmost ability. I have learned not to overstep my boundaries by testing God, jumping into something that I am not qualified for or am gifted in. I love to sing, but I can never imagine stepping on stage with a microphone and leading worship.  I enjoy our pastor’s preaching and teaching, thankful for the countless hours of study, but I would never step into a pulpit and teach every Sunday service.  First, I was not called for that position, although I do love teaching women and studying God’s word; second, I would not assume to think it was acceptable with God. 
The Scriptures describe Miriam as a prophetess.  She led the women in song and dance, exhorting and encouraging them along the way in the wilderness.  God used this family of siblings in an insurmountable way, but Miriam over stepped her boundaries and maybe assumed too much.  I know God used Miriam for her gifts and talents, I know he used her to give a word to those in need, and I know Miriam loved her brothers.  For remember, it was she who followed the basket to watch and see what would be the fate of her sibling.  It was Miriam who so wisely asked the Princess if she could bring a Hebrew mother to feed the baby.  God had given this young woman a gifted spirit of wit, thinking on her feet, of praise and leadership. 
Watching her brothers lead, Miriam I am sure walked beside them and spoke the word of the Lord to those given unto her.  She was witness to amazing acts of God, praised and worshiped El Shaddai, but was also witness to death and destruction for those who were disobedient.  Now, I am not sure if Miriam imagined her falling to disobedience or assumed she was in the same “friendship” with God as Moses.  But she learned a valuable lesson when she spoke against her brother for marrying a Cushite woman. “Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite.  “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this (Exodus 12:1-2). 
The Lord’s anger burned against both Aaron and Miriam, but only she was casted outside the camp for seven days with leprosy.  This tells me a few things about the Woman of God.  She may have been the instigator who brought this ungodly union to Aarons’ attention and encouraged him to remember God speaks to them as well.  Her heart was different than Aaron’s, for only she was thrown out for seven days with white covered skin.  Leprosy in the bible represents sin and Miriam sinned against the Lord.  I assume Aaron’s heart was truthfully not aggressive towards Moses, for only Miriam felt the humility of out cast (Exodus 12: 4-15).
We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  I do know it seems more tragic when a prominent Christian figure falls into disgrace, for we can quickly cast judgment or wonder how could this happen.  I am sure the Israelites looked on and several notions crossed their mind.  One could have been, if a leader of God’s people could be punished with leprosy and sat outside the camp for a week, then obedience is better than our pride. Maybe the second thought, God is no respecter of persons.  We are not to mistake his kindness, mercy and grace for weakness. 
I encourage you to pray for those in leadership along with those in your congregation.  Temptations are real for all Christians.  Whether it be a spirit of pride, lust, covetness, unforgiveness, theft, or anger we all need to lift each other in prayer.  Miriam assumed too much with her pride and was painfully reminded, being put cast out, but my sister, she also lacked compassion for this Cushite woman.  Moses can point to our Savior in so many ways.  Marrying this Cushite woman is no different, for Christ came to the Gentiles, all nations and all those who call upon his name (Romans 10:9). Miriam did not have a heart for this woman and we need to be reminded as Christians to open our arms to all people, not just the ones we seem fit to accept. 
A family member of mine told me about a situation in her church.  The pastor disguised himself as a homeless man.  I mean he put dirt on his face; hair was a mess, dressed in filthy clothes and smelled as if he had been on the streets for a while.  When attempted to walk through the church’s doors on Sunday morning, he was asked to leave.  Can you imagine?  If we do not open our arms to those in need, then who is the church for? Is it not for the sick and those who need a doctor? (Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31) This Cushite woman can represent those outside the family of God and Miriam can represent the Pharisees who thought themselves to grand to associate with those far less than themselves.
Remember, we are called not to play favoritism for God is no respecter of persons.  We were all called,once in filthy rags, outsiders to the faith, but Christ in his merciful love opened his arms and took us in, changing us to be more like him.  Miriam was used in a powerful way for God.  Her testimony of strength in tremendous testing and trials, highs and lows from slavery to freedom, but overstepping her boundaries and assuming too much with God’s provisions cost her the promised land.  I pray for her strength and to love my siblings as she loved her brothers, but also to never take God’s love for granted and to open my heart to all of God’s children.

Let us pray and CONFESS the Word of God:

            Thank you for the gift of Jesus Christ.  Thank you I can praise your name as Miriam did with song and dancing, lifting Yeshua on high! I am thankful for the gifts and talents you have given.  Help me to use them for your kingdom and glory.  If I have not given you my all, show me where else I can serve, teach, give, encourage, pray or go to encourage others in their walk with Christ.
            My heart’s desire is to serve you (Psalm 37:4). I pray to never overstep the boundaries you have set forth for me.  I pray to never lust, covet or desire what another sister of mine has; for her gifts maybe different than mine.  I pray to mimic John the Baptist, “A man can only receive what is given to him from Heaven.” (John 3:27).  Help me to think on what I can do for you and not on what I am unable to do for you.  I pray to appreciate all of the “body parts” in the church where you have creatively given each person different abilities to spread the Gospel.  Help me to keep my eyes on things above seated at the right hand of the Father (Colossians 3:2).  I pray to fan the flame you bestowed on me, where I am right now, but determined to go deeper in the knowledge of you.
            Show me how to love all of your people, even those who are different than me.  I pray to never be lukewarm or forget how to open my arms to those less fortunate.  You are no respecter of persons, help me to not judge someone quickly (Acts 10:34-35).  I pray to show no favoritism (James 2:1) and love all those you have placed in my care and around me. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I pray, Amen.

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