Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. Exodus 15: 20
Upon reading this passage, my thoughts go to the events leading up to this celebratory song and dance. Prior to this, Miriam is referred to as “the baby’s older sister” who watched from the reeds at the edge of the Nile while Moses floated in a basket, his future unknown. Many years later she is referred to as a prophetess, so clearly she was gifted with more than the average spiritual and moral insight. But my question is this……how did she know to pack a tambourine?
As I think back to the exodus scenes in DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments”, I don’t particularly remember a frenetic rush to pack and leave Egypt. Pharoah let the people go, yet clearly the sense of urgency was there. The people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. At some point, Miriam had to decide what to pack and what to leave behind. No, she didn’t have TSA rules to adhere to, but preparing for a new life of freedom in a new land must have been daunting.
The courage and faithfulness of the Israelites to escape the land where they were oppressed is truly inspiring. And Miriam literally made a name for herself. She wasn’t just Moses’ or Aaron’s sister, here in Exodus she was mentioned by name! She was a woman to be reckoned with, not afraid to act boldly in the pursuit of righteousness. First, as she spoke to Pharoah’s daughter, suggesting she find a Hebrew nursing mother for her baby brother. Second, as a leader of a celebratory march after successfully walking through the dry ground of the Red Sea, leaving Pharoah’s horses, chariots, and horsemen hurled into the sea.
Miriam’s ability to live and act on her faith, and then give that glory to God in song and dance is a faith practice worth modeling. As Lee Ann Womack says, give faith a fighting chance, and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I Hope You Dance!
And don’t forget to pack your tambourine!
Here’s a prayer for today: Holy One, help us to pray through words, through music, through faithful actions and love. Amen.
Today’s devotional comes from Immanuel member Kelly Black.