"And I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam."
—Mic. vi. 4.
I Am interested in the inclusion of Miriam's name. Long generations after her death, God commemorates her deeds no less than those of her great brothers. For in His Kingdom there is neither male nor female, and the woman is as essential and as helpful as the man. How it illustrates His forgiveness, too, that He recalls about Miriam only that which is good ! There was a mournful episode in her history, when she spake against Moses, and when, for a little while, the frightful scourge of the leprosy fell upon her. But this is forgotten, and nothing is recounted except her brave leadership of Israel. Who is so liberal-hearted as God, and so rich in magnanimity ? My sins He writes on the sand, and the flowing waters of His mercy and grace soon obliterate the indictment. My services, small as they are in comparison with what He deserves, He writes on the undecaying page of His Book of Remembrance, and they live abidingly in His thought and heart.
What gives Miriam a right to the immortality of Moses and Aaron?
Her patriotism does. The fires of an unquenchable affection for her afflicted countrymen burned in her breast. When, after his forty years' silence and schooling in Midian, Moses reappeared as their deliverer, perhaps it helped to gain him credence and welcome that, during his absence, his sister had been preparing them to receive the word of Jehovah. She could not suffer their wrongs in patience. She hated the tyrant with righteous hatred. And I, too, would learn the lofty and steadfast patriotism which plans and strives and labours to emancipate my land from every evil force that holds it in vassalage.
But behind the patriotism is her religion. On the Arabian shores of the Red Sea, with Pharaoh's vaunting pride for ever humbled, and with his chariots sunk in the pitiless waves, it is to the Lord that she ascribes all the glory. She cherishes the firmest faith in His presence and might and championship of His people. And is not that the best love of country which discerns Him standing always behind the shadow and keeping watch above His own? I would summon my neighbours to behold Him. I would urge them to crown Him with honour and praise.
And, added to patriotism and religion, is her queenly endowment of poetry and song. It was she who led forth the maidens of Israel with timbrels and dances, she who taught them the majestic hymn of victory, she who gave their lips and their souls the notes and chords of triumphant thanksgiving. What a faculty the singer's is, and what a constraining and impelling power the singer wields ! If these are mine in any degree, God help me to use them for Him—to wed great thoughts to melodious words, and to peal them forth on His behalf. Then, like Miriam, I shall take rank with lawgiver and priest.