“Then Miriam, the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.'” (Exodus 15: 20-21)
Do you know the song that was written from these words in Exodus? I learned it thirty years ago in Stuttgart, Arkansas, when I was a teacher at St. John Lutheran School. Nelda Braunschweig and her daughters sang it when our young faculty gathered at Nelda’s house on Sunday evenings for supper. I have not forgotten the words or melody of this song, and I still hum it in good times and in bad times. The Braunschweig girls sang this song with such zeal, and their love for the Lord was so evident. They had no idea of the impact this song would still have on me years later.
In her youth, Miriam was probably the sister who watched over baby Moses when his mother hid him in a basket in the Nile River. The king of Egypt had proclaimed that Hebrew baby boys should be killed, but she protected her brother. It was this sister of Moses who spoke to Pharaoh’s daughter and offered to bring a Hebrew woman, Moses’ mother, to nurse him. Imagine the courage that it took for this young girl to watch over her baby brother and speak to Pharaohs daughter.

In their adulthood, Miriam, Moses, and Aaron served as leaders of the Israelites. Miriam is described as a prophetess, and she is the first woman who was identified this way in Scripture. When the armies of Pharaoh were closing in on the Israelites, the Lord allowed the Israelites to walk through the Red Sea on dry land before Pharaoh’s armies were vanquished in the rushing waters. “Then Miriam, the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing” (Exodus 15: 20). Miriam led the women in singing and dancing.

Here’s my question. Where did Miriam get a tambourine? Did she just happen to have one in her purse? If Miriam hurriedly packed to flee, wouldn’t she have grabbed food, clothing, and necessities of life? By the way, the other women also had tambourines! How could they have known that the time would come when they would use their tambourines?

Where did Miriam get such a strong hope to see that there would be dancing and celebration in the future? Miriam had to know that there was no hope for her and the Israelites to go around the problems and pain of slavery. When they faced the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s armies close behind, she had to see that there was no hope for going around such a barrier to get to freedom. However, there was hope! God’s hope provided a way to go through the problems and pain of slavery, and God provided a way to go through the Red Sea. Miriam and the women were prepared with their tambourines in hand to give praise to God.

We do not have to worry about Pharaoh’s army chasing us today, but we have plenty of battles ahead with the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh. Our hope in Jesus doesn’t help us go around the problems and pain of this world. However, our hope in Jesus helps us go through the problems and pain of this world. We have an eternal, life-saving message to be celebrated with people throughout this world, and leading with God’s Word is a powerful way to influence lives. When Christian women and men sing and dance together in sharing the Gospel message, just think of the people who will be affected in the ways they think, act, and develop.

When the Braunschweig girls were singing, I didn’t sing along. Why not? Perhaps the devil was saying, “Don’t sing. In this world, people don’t start singing praises to God in their kitchens.” Perhaps it was my own sinful flesh that reminded me that I couldn’t sing as well as the Braunschweig girls. It doesn’t really matter anymore, because today I am singing! Seize your “Miriam Moments” for such a time as this!