Monday, October 17, 2022
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada

“Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced. 21 And Miriam sang this song:”Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;he has hurled both horse and rider into the sea.” Ex 15: 20-21

he evil that men do lives after them;The good is oft interred with their bones.”William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar. When I read that in a literature class in my high school days it was just to pass the exam. Decades have passed, I have metamophosized from practicing Chemical Engineering to Jesus Engineering and reading the above scripture about Miriam reminds me of how true that quotation can be.

As a Pastor, like many others I have had cause to use Miriam who was not only Aaron’s sister but also elder sister to Moses to preach. Like others, the emphasis is usually on Miriam’s gang up with Aaron to challenge Moses and in the process she became leprous. “Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite woman. 2 They said, “Is it true that the Lord has spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it.” “And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.” Num 12:1-2,10.

What the Holy Spirit taught me this morning is not to justify the racial profiling by Miriam or the open rebellion because she was jealous of her brother, but for us to learn to live a scandal free life because people will always remember the evil you did more than your good deeds.

Miriam’s forgotten good deeds did not start with mobilizing women to sing in praise of God and rejoicing with Moses for the heroic performance and miraculous deliverance of the Israelites from the Red Sea. No. Let’s see the beginning: “And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.” “Then said his sister 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?” Ex 2: 3-4, 7. The sister being referred to here is Miriam. Miriam watched over Moses at the critical stage of his life. Miriam in her boldness suggested to Pharaoh’s daughter to get Moses’ mother to care for him in the palace. In a nutshell Miriam was instrumental to Moses’ survival and her mum getting paid! But how many people credit her for this historic and heroine deed? That is life for you.

Let’s see more people that suffered the fate of Miriam: Samson and John Mark.

Samson is most often remembered for his illicit and sexual affairs with Delilah and his tragic end than the fact that he fulfilled his purpose of judging Israel and defending them from the tyranny of the Philistines for 20 years! Samson stands as one of the saddest figures in the Old Testament, a person who started with great potential but squandered it on self-indulgence and sinful living. Remarkably, he is listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, honored alongside Gideon, David, and Samuel. In the last moments of his life, Samson returned to God, and God answered his prayer. But people remembers Samson and adultery than fulfilling destine- he played to their hands . Don’t!

John Mark is often remembered as the unruly youth that had the opportunity of going on the first missionary trip with Paul and Barnabas, he was rejected during the second missionary trip and caused a sharp division between Paul and Baranabas “And having put-to-sea from Paphos, the ones around[a] Paul came to Perga of Pamphylia. But John, having departed[b] from them, returned to Jerusalem” Acts 13:13. How many remember how this youth retraced his steps, developed himself and eventually wrote one of the synoptic gospels- the gospel of St Mark!

Time will fail me to mention David, a man credited with great exploits in establishing Israel as a formidable nation, but will always be remembered for his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and killing Uriah .

I am sure you know how many good deeds you have done for others to make their lives better. Maybe paid school fees, offered accommodation, trained your junior ones, helped your in-laws. Changed the trajectory of your relations, church members, colleagues, classmates for good and no one notices. But the slightest mistake you make becomes headline news or as they say in our generation goes viral.

Conclusion: There are some lessons you must learn today through the Holy Spirit. Firstly, Continue to do good even if nobody remembers or appreciates you, heaven has a better record. Secondly, make a practice of doing good and avoid scandals, because people will remember your bad behaviour than your good ones. Thirdly, if you are doing any bad thing now stop it, prefer to write your name in marble than in the mud. Fourthly, make a conscious effort to leave a legacy of dignity, great deeds that generations will remember you for!

I also encourage us to make conscious effort to remember the good deeds of people rather than harping on their fault or mistakes. Broadcast their good deeds, don’t emphasize their weaknesses and failures, because what you sow is what you will reap! Always remember people have a propensity to remember your evil deeds than your good ones.