When God spoke through the prophet Micah to remind them of his faithfulness to them in times past, he said, “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” (Mic. 6:4, NIV).

Broken by the curse of slavery, the Israelites had cried out to God for generations for liberation from the oppression of the Egyptians. The brutality began when Pharaoh became afraid of the sheer number of Israelites in the land. He ordered that every newborn Israelite boy should be killed immediately. When Moses was born, his mother knew it was merely a question of time. So she placed him in a basket on the Nile, hopeful and prayerful that her son would escape. When Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses, a young woman stood watching and waiting. Bravely she approached Pharaoh’s daughter and arranged for her baby brother to be nursed by their mother.

Years later she stood with her brother again, this time to lead God’s people out of Egypt into their freedom. The passage above from Micah teaches us that, many generations after the Exodus, Miriam is clearly seen as a key leader among God’s people at this definitive stage of Israel’s history. She is also described as a prophetess—one who communicates God’s heart, perspective and counsel on a situation and (to use Paul’s definition in 1 Cor. 14:3) comforts, encourages and strengthens the community. In addition, Miriam is a worship leader, leading God’s people with Moses in music and dance after the Egyptian armies are finally defeated in the Red Sea (Ex.15).

Jo Saxton is the author of More Than Enchanting: Breaking Through Barriers to Influence Your World. Taken from More Than Enchanting by Jo Saxton. Copyright Second Edition (c) 2016 by Jo Saxton. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426. www.ivpress.com.