Close your eyes (or keep them open if you can read better that way) and imagine this story. It is probably a story familiar to you. The time is circa 1600 BC, when an evil Pharaoh ruled the nation of , one that ordered the killing of all Hebrew baby boys. The location is on the edge of the great , near the Pharaoh's bathing place. A baby is floating in a basket. His name is Moses. He is hiding in the rushes, where his mother placed him. Pharaoh's daughter is bathing nearby. She sees him and commands one of her maids to fetch him. She opens the basket and upon seeing him cry, she has compassion on him and decides to keep and raise him. But how will she feed this young child? She cannot nurse him herself. She looks up and upon seeing no relative of the child nearby, she takes Moses back to the palace and hires an Egyptian woman to nurse him for her. Having adopted him as her own son, he eventually becomes the next Pharaoh of ruling more cruelly than his grandfather, eventually wiping out the Hebrew race.
"Wait, wait!" you say. "That's not how it happened." You would be correct in that reaction. In the real historical account (found in Exodus 2), Miriam, Moses' older sister, watched him by the water and saw the daughter of Pharaoh pick him up. His sister then asked Pharaoh's daughter if she wanted her to find a Hebrew woman to take care of him. Upon her answering yes, Miriam brought a woman, none other than Moses' own mother.
This does not at first seem very significant, but on further study the importance jumps out at you. In the culture at the time of this story, children were not weaned until the age of five. This was more than Moses' mother just getting to feed him. He lived with her for the first years of his life, also being taught in the Biblical principles by his parents. By the time he was five, the Word of God was probably heavily ingrained in his mind. This must have had a tremendous impact on his life in the palace and made him the person that God needed him to be in order to eventually lead the people out of Egypt.
But the first scenario that I presented you with is a possible one if Miriam had not fulfilled her role in the family. What if when asked to watch him, she had said that she was invited to a party and went there? What if she had disliked him because he was a boy and not wanted to watch him? What if she shunned the role of older sibling and ignored the responsibility? What if she had decided to bring some friends along and they were having such a good time that they ignored watching Moses? These outcomes seem absurd and unlikely, but they do not sound so different from the excuses we use ourselves when asked to watch or go places with our siblings.
This story of Moses teaches me so much about the importance of being a good sibling. It inspires me to be a good influence on my siblings, to teach them the ways of God and help lead them in their life decisions. I want to create good bonds with my sisters and brother, so that when we grow up, we can work together for the Lord like Moses, Aaron and Miriam did.