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The Lord says, “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.” Micah 6:4

In a pivotal moment of human history, a young female slave approached a princess and offered to find a nurse for the Hebrew baby boy the royal woman had found. The baby was Moses; the young female slave was Miriam, introduced in Exodus 2:4 only as “his sister.”

Moses’s life would have unfolded quite differently if Miriam had not spoken to Pharaoh’s daughter that day. Miriam’s courageous act enabled her mother, Jochabed, to spend valuable time with Moses until he was weaned, instilling in her son a knowledge of his heritage.[1]

But Miriam also played a vital role in Moses’s life after he returned to Egypt as the deliverer of God’s people. Exodus 15:20–21 states that she was a prophetess who led the women in a celebration of deliverance after Pharaoh’s army had been destroyed in the Red Sea.

Scripture indicates Miriam was given a leadership role during the forty-year wilderness trek. But early in the journey, God disciplined her when she and Aaron placed themselves on equal footing with Moses. In Numbers 12:1, they complained, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? … Hasn’t he also spoken through us?”

Perhaps Miriam felt that her influence on her younger brother was diminished by his second wife or that he had forfeited his leadership role by marrying a Cushite.[2] Whatever the cause of Miriam’s anger and jealousy, God held her responsible for the insubordination. She was afflicted with leprosy for seven days, then healed (12:13–15).

God has established specific roles for each of us, and he determines our level of influence at any given point in our faith journey. As Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 12, we don’t select our role in the body of Christ—hand or knee, eye or elbow. He calls us to serve humbly where he has placed us without discontent or jealousy.

What role has God given you in his eternal plan? Do you serve joyfully in the limelight and in the shadows?

Dig Deeper

In what ways do you identify with Miriam and Aaron’s discontent in Numbers 12:1–2? What point was God making in verses 6–8? How do you respond to the authorities God has placed over you?

Read Exodus 15:1–21. What does this victory song teach us about God and why we should accept with joy the role he has given us in his eternal plan?

Read 1 Corinthians 12:4–26. How would you describe your role in the body of Christ? Are you at peace with the fact that “God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be”? Why?

Denise K. Loock

This devotion is part of our series Not-As-Famous Men and Women of the Bible.


[1] Moses could have been four or five years old by the time he was fully weaned according to F. B. Meyer in The Life of Moses (Lynnwood, WA: Emerald Books, 1996), p. 18

[2] Cushites descended from Noah’s son Ham. Noah’s son Shem was the forefather of all Abraham’s descendants (see Genesis 11:10–26).


  1. Thank you for a reminder to be humble while serving. God is always glorified
    Kathy Concord

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