Lesson 3: God Is Stronger than Your EnemiesRelated Media
“By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.” Hebrews 11:23
“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.” Micah 6:4
Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you through this lesson.
By Faith…Jochebed & Miriam
A little bit of history
The descendants of Sarah and Abraham—the Israelites (or Hebrews)—settled in Egypt for 430 years. At first, their presence was welcome because the “vice president” of the country was their relative Joseph. But after Joseph died, Pharaohs ruled who did not know Joseph. Fearing the Hebrews’ might, Egypt sought to cripple the growing nation, but those efforts were in vain. God was with His people, and He was preparing to bring Israel out of the land.
Conservative scholars date the “Exodus,” a landmark in Israel’s history, at 1446 BC. Moses was born shortly after a decree to throw newborn Hebrew boys into the Nile, but he escaped death through adoption by Pharaoh’s daughter. About 1486, Pharaoh tried to kill Moses who sought identity with the Hebrews, but Moses escaped to Midian. Forty years later, the Lord appeared to Moses in a burning bush, sending Moses back to Egypt to confront the current Pharaoh.
Through Moses, God showed Pharaoh who was the true God and brought Egypt to her knees. The Israelites marched forth a free people, living proof of God’s gracious salvation. At Mount Sinai, God molded His people into a nation—Israel. The Mosaic Covenant contained laws that governed every part of Israel’s society: civil, ceremonial, and moral. Though some people rebelled against God, He faithfully preserved a new generation of His people through the wilderness. Moses’ mother Jochebed and sister Miriam were influential women during this time.
Miriam’s childhood and her mentors
1. Read Numbers 26:59. Who were the members of Miriam’s family?
2. Read Exodus 1:15-22. Over several generations, God used brave women to thwart evil plans to eliminate His people.
- Who were the women in this chapter exhibiting courage, and what did they do (verses 15-19)?
- What did God do for them (verses 20-21)?
These women who had courage were “mentors” for Jochebed and her daughter Miriam.
3. Read Exodus 2:1-10.
- What do you learn about Miriam’s mom, Jochebed?
- What choices did Miriam’s parents (Jochebed and Amram) make because of their faith?
- How did God reward that faith?
- Miriam is the sister mentioned in this passage (7-12 years of age). As a young girl, what fearful situations did Miriam face?
- How did she respond to them?
4. Read Hebrews 11:23-28. What influence did the few years spent with his family have on Moses?
Miriam had the same home and parents as Moses. Moses, Aaron and Miriam came from a home where parents were walking by faith in their God. This influence helped their children learn to courageously trust God and not give way to fear.
5. Consider the kind of home in which you grew up. How has this affected your ability to courageously trust God and not give way to fear?
“Here was a mother who faced a very real danger (mine is imagined), and yet she trusted God. Her faith was put into action. When we take what we learn in the Word and then turn it into faith-in-action, fear loses its grip on our hearts and we are not only able to live in victory and experience God's abounding peace, but we become a living example to our children.” (Shirley Ann Vels, “Under an English Sky” blog, July 30, 2013)
Miriam - 80 years later
Miriam is now in her upper mid-life, ~87-92 years old! According to Jewish tradition, Miriam’s husband was Hur, an honorable man who joined Aaron to hold up Moses’ arms during a major battle in Exodus 17 and was appointed as a magistrate while Moses was on the mountain (Exodus 24:14).
6. Read Micah 6:4. What does God say about Miriam’s role for Israel?
After the Israelites left Egypt, they traveled east for several days. While camped by the Red Sea, they began to panic when they saw Pharaoh’s army coming after them. But, God’s faithfulness would shine in what He did for them next.
7. Read Exodus 14:10-31. Along with the rest of Israel, what did Miriam experience showing God’s faithfulness?
8. Read Exodus 15:18-21.
- After Moses led the people in a praise song (Exodus 15:1-18), how did Miriam respond to God’s faithfulness (verses 20-21)?
- In what ways is she pleasing God and fulfilling His purpose for her (Micah 6:4)?
- What is Miriam called in verse 20?
Miriam was a female prophet—one to whom and through whom God speaks, revealing Himself and His will especially in the absence of the written word of God. God used a number of women to speak forth His Word at critical times in history—for example, Deborah (Judges 4-5) and Huldah (2 Kings 22).
Prophesying also could involve an enthusiastic praising of God inspired by the Holy Spirit. Such praise involved singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments as here in Exodus 15. This song is the first recorded song in the Bible—a song of redemption. Such celebration was common after victory in battle.
About 2 years later
9. Read Numbers 12:1-15.
- What complaint did Miriam and Aaron have regarding Moses (verses 1-2)?
- How did the Lord respond to their behavior (verses 4-10)?
- What is implied by the Lord’s punishment of Miriam only?
- How did the two brothers respond to their sister’s discipline (verses 11-12)?
- What was God’s answer (verse 14)?
According to Deuteronomy 25:9, spitting in someone’s face expressed contempt. The Lord expressed His contempt for Miriam’s disrespect by the skin affliction, causing her to live outside the community until healed (Numbers 5:1-4). Miriam bucked her authority, claiming equal prominence with Moses. God disciplined her through banishment, opposite of what she really wanted!
10. Knowing women, what was likely the effect of Miriam’s banishment from the camp for 7 days on her?
Sometimes Miriam was a good example; sometimes a bad example. Just like we are, she was not perfect every day. Yet, she had been given a sphere of influence by God. She lived through 38 years of wandering and died at ~130 years old (Numbers 20:1) in their 40th year out of Egypt.
11. Read Hebrews 13:17. What should be our attitude towards authority that represents God?
Though all of us are not leaders, all of us are under some kind of authority in the Church. Fear of losing our status or influence can lead us to be disrespectful to those in spiritual authority over us. If you are jealous, resentful or disapproving of someone in leadership over you, consider whether you try to undermine their leadership by gossip or slander. Ask Jesus to help you stop that today.
Your Faith Walk
12. Consider the situations that could have terrified Jochebed. How did she respond to God by faith?
13. What situations could have terrified Miriam? How did she respond to God by faith?
God loved Miriam’s family. He knew what was going on in their lives. He was able to do something about it. But, God did not give Jochebed her son back permanently to raise nor did He prevent them from having to go through the agony of hiding baby Moses. Miriam was given great responsibility and privilege, yet she also had to live with the public consequences of her sin. During her walk, a loving God said “no” to some things. Yet, Miriam and her family chose to trust Him rather than submit to fear. And, God rewarded their faith with an outpouring of His blessing in other ways.
Likewise, God may not choose to rescue you from your “Egypt.” But, in any and all situations, you can count on these truths…
#1. God loves me
#2. God knows what is going on in my life
#3. God can do something about it
#4. I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do
That’s your walk from fear to faith.
Journal Your Faith Story
Miriam testified about God’s faithfulness through her use of poetry, song, and dance. Since the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit living in believers continues to inspire and gift believers to compose songs, poems, prayers and testimonies that glorify God. Praise helps us to overcome fear.
14. Maybe you have written a song, a poem, created a work of art, or simply sung praise songs to God. Share about a time when you broke out into spontaneous praise to God in one of these ways or another way.
Faith-in-Action: “Apply Faith to Fear”
Miriam experienced that amazing exit from Egypt along with more than 2 million others. When the people were terrified, the Lord fought for them. They needed only to stop being terrified and trust Him. Through Moses’ instructions, the trembling people were able to apply faith to their fear. They confronted it and turned it over to God. Their faithful God took over and proved that He was stronger than their enemies.
Here’s a biblical tool that you can use to apply faith to any fear.
Step 1. Confront it. What fears do you have right now?
List the things that make you afraid. The real fears and the imaginary ones. Which ones are the most likely to tempt you to panic or to be terrified? Focus on those.
Step 2. Ask about each one: What is my worst-case scenario?
Start with one of those fears, perhaps the most terrifying one and ask, “What is the worst that could happen?” Think realistically not hypothetically.
Step 3. Consider: If the worst I can imagine happens, could I handle it through the presence and power of Jesus Christ?
As a Christian, you have the power of the One who created the Universe living inside of you. Ask yourself, “Can He help me get through anything?” The answer is a resounding, “YES!” Hebrews 4:15-16; Ephesians 3:20; Romans 8:26
Step 4. Remember the four truths essential to faith:
#1. God loves me. John 16:27; Romans 5:5, Ephesians 5:1
#2. God knows what is going on in my life. Matthew 6:31-32; Psalm 139:1-10
#3. God can do something about it. Genesis 18:14; Luke 1:37; Mark 10:27
#4. I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do. Psalm 119:68; Proverbs 3:5
Step 5. Pray: Prayer is simply talking to God about anything and everything.
- Thank the Lord for His presence and His goodness and anything else that comes to mind. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
- Ask Him for the courage and peace to ride out the storm. Where the Bible is clear, you can claim God’s promises by faith—such as the promise of peace. John 14:27; 16:33
- Anytime, you can ask for deliverance and protection—but you cannot hold God to promises He hasn’t made. He hasn’t promised immunity from natural calamities, from illness, or from troubles.
Step 6. Live life securely in Him: What actions can you take?
- Take common sense precautions. Be wise in the world. Nehemiah 4:9
- Trust God to show you what to do and give you strength when you are weak.
15. Work through these steps to apply faith to one of your most pressing fears.
Pray about your fears and decisions you are making to trust God in them. Thank God for His grace toward you and His love for you.