Miriam makes her first appearance in the Bible in Exodus 2:4 as a little girl who watched over her brother to ensure he remained safe. He was in fact Moses, however (not to be outdone by her younger sibling) she also grew up to be gifted in her own right and functioned as a prophetess (Exodus 15:20). In line with this supernatural power, Miriam’s example is a great revelation to us all especially in the area of celebrating milestones. Want to listen to this devotional instead? No problem, just press play on the audio below. Feel free to download also:
The book of Exodus details the events of the children of Israel’s experience before, during and after slavery in Egypt. They had been slaves for 400 years under a grueling and cruel regime. As a result, God called Moses to lead them out to a promised land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:7-10; Exodus 3:17). Unfortunately, despite many conversations, warnings about God’s wrath and actual plagues due to Pharaoh’s stubbornness, their emancipation was not immediate (Exodus 6-12). In fact, even when they were given permission to leave they lived in constant terror of being captured and enslaved again because Pharaoh tried to go back on his word and pursue them. As a result, they were never truly totally free until after God allowed them to cross the red sea safely but caused Pharaoh and his entourage to drown when they tried to do the same (Exodus 14). Seeing that God had given them the desires of their heart, Miriam grabbed her tambourine and lead the women in what I envision as the equivalent of a conga line. In other words, they danced, praised and celebrated God for what He had done for them (Exodus 15: 20-21).
Many of us have aspirations regarding where we want to be in future. For a number of us, this perceived promised land is rooted in a place of discontentment and dissatisfaction with our present circumstances, similarly to what the Israelites felt in Egypt. The motivating factor in these situations is usually a drive to leave our own versions of Egypt and obtain access to a greater level of freedom and opportunities, just like Miriam and her people wanted. For most this transition is also not immediate. It usually requires discipline, sacrifice, time, energy and sometimes a financial investment to achieve, which is why it tends to be referred to as a “grind”. Along this long and winding road it can be very easy to be so blinkered in the pursuit of our vision and the fact that we are yet to reach it, that we don’t register how far we’ve come since we first started the journey towards it. This is not what Miriam did, however. She didn’t care that they hadn’t actually reached the promised land yet. She simply celebrated a milestone. The point was that they weren’t where they use to be and were now a step closer to the promised land. Her praise was for progress and forward movement.
What about you, lovely? When was the last time that you acknowledged your progress and celebrated it? When was the last time you simply said “thank you” to God rather than asking Him for anything? Do you have an attitude of gratitude? What can you do to ensure that you have monuments to look at as a reminder of God’s goodness the next time you feel discouraged? Here’s one suggestion, grab a pen and write a list of every reason you have to be thankful. Chances are you’ll realise that you’re doing better than you’ve been giving yourself credit for. You may not be where you want to be but, thank God, you’re not where you used to be.