Aaron’s sister Miriam was a prophet. She took a tambourine in her hand. All the women followed her. They played tambourines and danced. Miriam sang to them,
“Sing to the Lord.
He is greatly honored.
He has thrown Pharaoh’s horses and their riders
into the Red Sea.”
— Exodus 15
One of the best devotions I have heard in a long time was given while we were in Egypt, reliving and tracing the Exodus story. Scott Heare, a pastor from San Antonio, Texas, began the devotion time by telling a story that occurred when his wife was in labor with their second child. Expecting a normal delivery with no problems, the Heare’s were suddenly in deep trouble. Without warning, the baby’s heart beat dropped dramatically and the wife’s blood pressure skyrocketed. As the doctors and nurses scrambled to handle the situation, Scott began to fervently pray and ask God to intervene in their situation. Immediately, as he began to pray, God began to give him a peace, that despite the graveness of the situation, everything was going to turn out fine. Despite having some harrowing moments, the doctors were able to stabilize the situation and the Heare’s were able to rejoice with a normal, healthy baby. Scott then said that all of us have had or will have moments in our lives when our backs are up against the wall and the situation will look hopeless. In moments like these, our only hope is to turn to and rely on the God of Heaven to intervene on our behalf. When the crisis passes, then we can rejoice in God delivering us and bringing us out of our tough situation.
Scott then related the story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, with the Egyptians breathing down their necks. From night to morning, the situation went from hopeless to a miraculous rescue at the hand of the God of Israel. The Israelites stood on the bank, with dead Egyptians lying on the shore, and praised God and sang and danced. Then Miriam pulled out a tambourine and began to lead the women in singing and dancing and praise to the Lord for what he had done for them.
What in the world was Miriam doing with a tambourine? When the Israelites left Egypt on Passover, they left in great haste. They just had time to grab a few necessary items and leave. They were headed out to the desert, a place that they had not been before, and the Egyptians were sure to follow. A tambourine, you would have thought, would have been pretty low on the list of priorities of things to take with you.
Miriam, though, packed her tambourine! She sensed that there would be time coming in the future where there would be occasion to rejoice and sing and dance! Although she didn’t know where she was going, or how it would turn out, she was counting on God to miraculously provide! We worship a God who provides a place to dance, even in the midst of the toughest circumstances. Wherever you go, whatever tough situation you find yourself in, God will be with you! Don’t forget to pack your tambourine!!