Front row seats are the best. I’ve only had them for a major occasion once or twice, but sitting close to the front at a sporting event or concert is my preference. The front row offers the best views. Sitting close lets me see in better detail the events in front of me. It also offers me the opportunity to be more involved in whatever it is I’m watching in some way. There’s a responsibility that comes with getting the front row seats.
Miriam may be a rather obscure person in the Bible, but her contribution to the story of God and His people is significant. Her courage to stand and watch to see what would happen to her infant brother, Moses, as he floated in a small basket down the river shows us a woman of compassion (Exodus 2:4). Her boldness to approach Pharaoh’s daughter and ask if a Hebrew woman could nurse the baby for her, and then to get the baby’s mother to do so demonstrates wisdom in applying the providence of God to daily life (vv.7–8).
Yet, apart from this brief appearance in the beginning of Moses’s story we don’t hear much about Miriam. But she is there. Like the rest of Israel, Miriam endured the harsh conditions of Egyptian slavery. She saw the unparalleled power of God from the front row as the plagues descended upon Egypt, one after the other. She probably had meal-time conversations with Moses and Aaron about what God was doing in the midst of these monumental events. She trusted God in the midst of the Passover, posted the blood above her door, and was ready to leave Egypt as the command came. She marched with Israel on the way to the Promised Land while the great Red Sea stood in their path.
Exodus 14 tells us she was there when God ripped the sea in two and them to walk on dry ground with an ocean barrier in front and an Egyptian army behind. She was there when the water swallowed up her enemies. She sat on the front row as God powerfully poured out His mercy and grace on Israel and rescued them from their slavery. The details were riveted in her heart and mind.
It makes sense then that from the front row she led the Israelits in praise. Miriam may be one of the first worship leaders in the Bible. There, with tambourine in hand and a praise choir of women alongside, she sang a new song of worship to God: “Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted; he has thrown the horse and its rider into the sea” (Exodus 15:21). The front-row seat brought a great opportunity to participate in the moment of praise to God.
Miriam’s life asks me (and perhaps you) this question: Where has God allowed me a front-row seat to see His glory and then offer Him praise, all because I’ve seen the details up close and perhaps better than anyone else? May we learn to worship and lead others to do the same, because we have seen Him do great and mighty things.
Written by Jeremy Writebol