“So the anger of the LORD burned against them and He departed. But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow… Then Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, I beg you, do not account this sin to us, in which we have acted foolishly and in which we have sinned. Oh do not let her be like one dead…” Numbers 12:9-12
The question that most grips me concerning Miriam’s life is what happened to her after her fall from grace? This passage goes on to share how Moses stepped up to intercede for his sister and God charges her to remain outside the camp for a week and ends by telling us she was received back into the camp after the week was over, and the Israelites move on from that spot, but what we don’t see is what happens to Miriam after she was received back into the camp! In fact, the next time we hear anything about Miriam it’s this:
“And the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came into the wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh. And Miriam died there and was buried there.” Numbers 20:1 (Eight chapter later)
Wouldn’t you like to know what happen to Miriam in those eight chapters? I do! I do because I’ve made mistakes! My pride has taken over on certain occasions! I have skeletons in my closet—things I have said and even things I’ve done in the past that I’d like to take back or erase from my memory and everyone else’s! And, I know if we’re honest, all of us can instantly think of a moment in time when we fell from grace, when said or did something we still regret today. What happen to Miriam after her fall from grace affects all of us, so I put that question to the Lord this week!
What happens after a fall from grace?
I’m sure if I asked you to think of a prominent person who fell hard, you could immediately think of someone. The world loves to see the mighty fall! We’ll look on in horror and wonder how they ever could have done… , or others may take the smug attitude and claim they “knew they were no good all along!” We are ready to cast out those who do fall and fail to reflect God’s glory, but what we fail to realize in those moments is we are all just one decision away from falling ourselves! So, I put this question to our Lord this week, and He took me to the Song of Solomon. (Song of Solomon 5:2- 6:9)
This book is very different from all the other books of the Bible. It is written like a play. Many scholars believe it is a picture of the Bridegroom (Christ) and His Bride (Christians). It’s most definitely a love story, but in the fifth chapter it begins with the bride asleep and awoken by her bridegroom, and she tells him in so many words that she doesn’t want to get up to let him in, but then changes her mind only to discover it’s too late and he is gone. Two very different scenarios, but in both cases the women have taken their eyes off of God and become full of self. Miriam began speaking against her brother, who God had chosen to lead Israel, and the bride didn’t want to be bothered to welcome her bridegroom, but then changes her mind:
I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had left; he was gone. My heart sank at his departure. I looked for him but did not find him. I called him but he did not answer. (SoS 5:6)
Both have a change of heart and regret their actions; Miriam is received back and the bride sets out to find her bridegroom. Only, look to see what happens to the bride the moment she sets out to find her bridegroom, “The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. They beat me, they bruised me; they took away my cloak, those watchmen of the walls!” (SoS 5:7) The watchmen are those who are put in a position to watch out for us and protect and guide us. Isn’t that what happens all too often to those who have messed up?
No grace for those who fall, no grace offered or given. I’m sure Miriam met up with some of that as well when she was allowed to come back into the camp. It’s just human nature, right? But what were God’s thoughts and actions towards Miriam after that day? This is what I’d most like to know, for I am one who once felt I needed to measure up somehow before I could approach the Lord. Are you like me and wonder what happened when the bride finally found her bridegroom once more? What were his first words to her the moment he sees her after her fall?
Look at Song of Solomon 6:4-9
You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling,
as lovely as Jerusalem,
as majestic as troops with banners.
Turn your eyes from me;
they overwhelm me…Sixty queens there may be,
and eighty concubines,
and virgins beyond number;
but my dove, my perfect one, is unique…”
He was totally enamored, couldn’t get enough of her! No one else mattered to Him, but her! She was completely forgiven; the sin completely forgotten and their relationship was completely restored.
Seeing this in the Song of Solomon, I’m certain this must have been what happened with Miriam as well! The proof is found in Micah 6:4, when the Lord say, “I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam.” The fact that the Lord chooses to list her, along with her brothers as the leaders of Israel, speaks volumes about our relationship. Our God is One who loves big, who disciplines, but also redeems, revives, and restores us to Him when we mess up and repent!
He is an awesome, all consuming and merciful God, who loves us far beyond what we can possibly comprehend! I already knew this to be true, if only I can hold onto this truth the next time I fall from grace…
Linked with: CORNERSTONE CONFESSIONS , TIME-WARP WIFE , WE ARE THAT FAMILY , DEEP ROOTS AT HOME , WALKING REDEEMED , RAISING HOMEMAKERS , GROWING HOME , SIMPLY BETTER , A WISE WOMAN BUILDS HER HOME , OUR SIMPLY FARM , SIMPLY HELPING HIM , READING LIST , OUR SIMPLE COUNTRY LIFE