By Cheri Cowell—

Miriam was the big sister of Moses, who led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. When Pharaoh decreed the death of all baby boys in Egypt, Miriam’s mother put Moses in a waterproof basket and set him on the river in hopes Pharaoh’s wife would adopt him. Her plan worked, but Miriam made it even better. When Pharaoh’s wife plucked him from the river, Miriam was hiding in the reeds and suggested that a woman from the Hebrew people be found to take care of him. Miriam’s mother must have cried with joy when she learned she’d be the one to nurse and raise her own son in the palace of the King. Miriam is also known, along with Aaron, as one of the three who led the Israelites out of Egypt. In Exodus 15:20-21 we learn that she led the people in song and dance as they worshipped the God who set His people free.


Miriam was the middle child, born between two males. In a male dominated society that meant she was probably often overlooked. Although obviously bright and quick thinking, Miriam most likely didn’t see herself as that important. And even though she saved her baby brother, he was the one raised in luxury in Pharaoh’s palace, not her. Later, when Moses was chosen by the Lord to stand against Pharaoh and lead the revolt, Miriam must have asked herself why He didn’t choose her. After all, she was the one who saved Moses’ life. Then to top it all off, her big brother Aaron was chosen as the first high priest in God’s new kingdom and Moses chose him to speak on his behalf. Why not Miriam?

(re)Purposing Lessons

It is easy to see how Miriam would have felt unimportant and overlooked. Her role in history was huge, but to Miriam it must have seemed like nothing. Miriam saved her brother and made it possible for his Hebrew mother to raise him. Without that single act, Moses would not have had the connection to the heart of the Hebrew people—a connection that would propel him to intervene on their behalf and thus ignite the standoff between Pharaoh and Moses. When God chose Moses and Moses chose Aaron, Miriam could have allowed her disappointment to poison her relationship with her brothers. Because she chose to trust God, Miriam was with Moses and Aaron throughout the nine plagues. She came out of Egypt with them and although called to play a less prominent role than Moses, her role was nevertheless a vital one. Because she trusted God, He rewarded her with a singing and dancing heart.

(re)Purposing Steps

Do you feel invisible? Do you wonder if anything you say or do really makes a difference?

Miriam’s example is one that encourages us on many levels.

  • You may not know how your life impacts others, but He has a plan for each of us and not everyone’s role is center-stage. If your role is not seen by many, know it is seen by God.
  • Miriam used her wit and intelligence to make a difference. What gifts has He given you to serve behind the scenes? Thank the Lord for the chance to serve, even if it seems to go unappreciated.
  • When passed over for a reward, promotion, or even recognition, ask God to give you a spirit of contentment. Miriam could have become bitter. But, because she wasn’t, she was there when the biggest event in Hebrew history occurred. Don’t let bitterness prevent you from being where God has planned for you to be.
  • Miriam’s heart swelled with gratitude, not only for what God had done for her people in setting them free, but no doubt for what He’d done in her heart. Because Miriam focused on what she had instead of what she didn’t, she was able to dance and show other women how to dance and sing to the Lord. Are you focused on what you have? Are you dancing before the Lord because of His goodness? Are you showing others how to dance and sing praises to Him in their own lives?

Our next Profile in (re)Purpose: Phoebe





CheriAuthor, Speaker, and ‘Sidewalk Theologian,’ Cheri Cowell, is the author ofParables and Word Pictures Bible Study. She has a Masters in Theological Studies from Asbury Seminary and lives in Orlando FL with her wonderful husband, Randy.


  1. 4-23-2013

    Some days I do feel looked over as if no one sees me. Out of sight out of mind. Thanks for the reminder that God sees and that is what matters. Great perspective on Miriam. It also reminds not to complain about it as she did at one point and almost lost it all.

    • 4-23-2013

      I usually feel overlooked when my focus is misdirected toward me and what I’m doing and not on others and what God is doing. Perhaps this was Miriam’s secret- she had her focus in the right place. Note to self…when I feel like complaining, check my focus.


  1. Profiles In (re)Purpose- Miriam | Living better at 50+| Online Womens Magazine - [...] Originally posted on My Purpose Now. [...]

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