A Simple Girl Shapes History
“Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months.When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him. Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.” (Exodus 2:1-10)
This amazing incident is the foundation for the history of Israel, Judaism and also Christianity. God uses a girl of about 12 years to bring salvation for the children of Israel and shape the history of humanity.
Slaves in Egypt
Miriam as a small girl should have learnt from her parents and her community that they were slaves to Egyptians, hence powerless. No one could help them. The powerful Pharaoh could persecute these people with impunity. As slaves, they had no human rights or legal rights.
Miriam must have seen that there was no hope for the future. The social, political and economical status of the slaves offered no hope. There was no possibility of freedom.
When there is no hope or help, God brings hope through his people. Miriam was helpless in a hopeless situation, but God made Miriam the ‘hope’ of Israel. Yes, in adverse, harsh and persecuted situations, God makes his people as hope to the community.
Miriam was the right person. Her parents Amram and Jochebed could not take risk as there were other children to look after. Three year old Aaron was too small. Miriam was the ‘hope’ in a hopeless situation.
Wait and Watch
Miriam either volunteered or was sent by her parents to wait and watch. Emotionally and spiritually Miriam would have been deeply disturbed. It was dangerous for the baby boy floating in a basket in River Nile, as well as Miriam who was standing on the shore. May be she was waiting and watching with prayers in her heart for a miracle.
Miriam must have wondered if Jehovah who had promised the Land flowing with Milk and Honey, could do a miracle. Her mind was alert, physically agile and spiritually awake.
Wisdom & Words
God bestowed her with Godly wisdom. When we have Godly wisdom, we have courage, grace, and presence of mind. Miriam understood her mission and call on the shores of River Nile.
Godly wisdom calls for action. Many in her situation would have been overwhelmed by emotion – weeping, groaning, murmuring, and hence experience paralysis of thinking. Miriam was wise to discern opportunities in the midst of helpless and hopeless situation. Godly wisdom gave her this spiritual insight.
Wise people speak appropriate words at the right time. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11) Miriam did not repeat a memorized script from a drama or skit. It was a spontaneous response to the situation. Miriam did not have any right to speak to Pharaoh’s daughter. However, she skillfully and courteously asked whether she could bring a maid to bring up the abandoned boy. Cleverly, she did not reveal her identity or the identity of her mother. Speaking the right word, in the right time and to the right person is Godly wisdom.
Pharaoh’s daughter must have been impressed with the cheerful response of a small girl. She accepted Miriam suggestion of looking for a maid to take care of the Hebrew boy. Pharaoh’s daughter should be credited for her willingness to listen to a small slave girl. A simple conversation changes the history of the Children of Israel.
Miriam’s act was an act of faith. Not knowing what lay ahead, Miriam takes a step of faith. Pharaoh’s daughter accepts Jochebed as foster mother of Moses and pays for being foster mother. God provided miraculously for this slave family so that Moses could grow up healthy and wise to bring out the Children of Israel from slavery.
Miriam’s act was an act of faithfulness. She was in a risky spot; in unfavourable situation; experiencing emotional turmoil; nevertheless she was faithful to the task assigned to her.
The history of Israel was shaped by a small girl who had audacity to become ‘hope’; patient and alert; using divine wisdom to accomplish an unimaginable feat. Moses gets the best education and training of that ancient time from the Pharaoh’s academy in Egypt, indeed Egypt was a world super power at that point of history. God prepared Moses for a great task of delivering the Israelites and providing the Law for God’s people.
Ordinary people doing ordinary tasks with faith and love could shape the history of this world and impact eternity. Miriam was willing and available to be used by God. God wants to use you and me too. What is your response?