Yes, you read that right. There are women leaders in the Bible, and one of them is Miriam. She was the older sister of Moses. Many believe that she was with her mother when they floated the baby Moses in a river to save him from the pogrom in Egypt (see Exodus 2:1-10). Together with her brothers Moses and Aaron, they formed the leadership triumvirate the led God’s people out of Egypt. Miriam was the very first woman who was called a prophetess in the Bible (Exodus 15:20).
However, as a flawed leader, Miriam is not immune to falling into sin. While traversing the Sinai desert en route to the promised land, the spirit of envy and jealousy consumed this female leader. In typical fashion, her jealousy was directed towards a person closest to her, in this case, Moses. She was, in fact, able to convince her brother Aaron to side with her. They said to the people, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” (Numbers 12:2). They envied the exalted status of Moses as the primary leader of the young nation. Again, as is very common today, they even used Yahweh’s name to put a veneer over their wicked thoughts.
As Christian leaders, we experience the risings of envy and jealousy. For instance, a ministry leader may envy the teaching talents and success of other leaders in his or her church. A Christian manager may feel jealous of the lion’s share of attention a colleague may be getting in the workplace.
How we handle them will determine our effectiveness as leaders. We must remember that all our talents and resources are gifts of God by grace. We are merely stewards of them. It is God who gives the increase in whatever ministry or work we engage in. We must humbly bow to His kind providence in our lives.
Miriam learned this the hard way, as we often do. Right after uttering her bitter words, the Bible says, “And the LORD heard it.” In the presence of the people, God defended Moses. As to Miriam, in an instant, she became leprous (Numbers 12:10). Thanks to the mercy of God, her leprosy lasted for only seven days.
What a blessing that Christians are saved not by our merits, but by the righteousness of Christ alone.
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