“Then said his (Moses) sister (Miriam) to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?’”
Exodus 2: 7
King James Version
“Miriam – A Woman of Discernment”
“Show me Your ways, O Lord, and teach me Your paths;
Lead me in Your truth, and guide me,
for You are the God of my salvation, and my hope is
in You all the day long.”
Psalm 25: 4, 5
What does the word “discernment” mean to me?
“Discernment is the mother, the guardian, and the guide of all the virtues.”
“God is endlessly imaginative, and the function of discernment is to enter creatively into God’s vision for the world and to collaborate with the Spirit in making that vision a reality.”
It is most likely she was a young girl between the ages of 10-13. Miriam, the older sister of Moses, was given the task of standing guard over her brother as he floated in a bulrush ark on the Nile River.
As Miriam watched intently, who should appear but the princess of Egypt herself. As I was reading this story, I thought back to how I acted when I was the age of Miriam. I was a shy, tongue-tied young girl, afraid of my own shadow.
Yet, in this Biblical story, we find that at a very young age, Miriam already had cultivated heaven’s gifts in her young life. As she watched the princess open the basket to see a crying baby, the young Miriam boldly approached this daughter of royalty with a plan to care for the baby. I don’t believe I could have shown the confidence and maturity to be so discerning. But Miriam had been trained well by a mother who led by example. The seeds of hope and deliverance, so long cultivated by her mother were now thriving in the life of Miriam.
The famed British poet, John Milton observed, “Prudence is the virtue by which we discern what is proper to do under various circumstances in time and place.” This was a lesson Miriam had learned well at the feet of her mother, Jochebed.
Even at a young age, Miriam was blessed with the gift of discernment. For a person of discernment is able to accurately read character and motives. But what’s more, once they understand others, an individual with discernment has the ability to select what is an appropriate response. This is exactly what happened with the youthful Miriam, after “discerning” the compassion shown by Pharaoh’s daughter, immediately responded by providing a wonderful offer to the princess for the care and nurturing of this Hebrew baby.
Of all the qualities we could ask Heaven for, discernment should be near the top. In I Kings 3: 9 (K.J.V.), we find that when the young Solomon took over the throne from his father David, instead of asking God for wealth and power, he chose to say to God: “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart… that I may discern between good and evil.” John Cassian, writing in the 400’s noted that, “It is discernment which in Scripture is described as the eye and the lamp of the body; The eye sees through all the thoughts and actions of a man, examining and illuminating everything which we must do.”
May we, like Miriam, always keep our minds and hearts open to God’s heavenly illumination which will help us discern the right and wrong in our lives.
“The discerning heart seeks knowledge….”
Proverbs 15: 14
“My dearest Lord,
be now a bright flame to enlighten me,
a guiding star to lead me,
a smooth path beneath my feet,
and a kindly shepherd along my way,
today and for evermore.”
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus