Egypt was being ruled by a Pharaoh that did not remember Joseph. He began to fear that the Israelites were becoming too strong as a people and that they would begin to influence and then overtake Egypt. He put them in bondage, tortured them, and gave diabolical instructions to the midwives that assisted the Israelite women when they gave birth. The command was that if a boy was born he should be immediately killed, but girls would be allowed to live.
The midwives ran into trouble though as they found that God could get around any decree from Pharaoh – a trend throughout the Book of Exodus. The Hebrew women gave birth quickly, before the midwives could get there. The result was that male children were being born, and after their birth the midwives did all that they could to protect and save these baby boys.
Pharaoh was livid and decreed then that any male child was to be thrown in the river. Amazing isn’t it the correlation between Pharaoh and Herod? After Jesus was born Herod had all the male children two years and under killed in Bethlehem. Murdering babies never accomplishes what people hope to accomplish. Beside, God’s will cannot be prevented by mere men, no matter how sinful, despotic, or ruthless.
In these circumstances Jochebed gave birth and she hid her baby boy for 3 months. The Bible says he was “beautiful” and the term means literally that he found “favor,” a term translated other places as having found “grace.” Moses found grace indeed as God had a plan for him and His people.
The result of this grace was that Moses’ parents did not fear the consequences of defying Pharaoh. They loved their son and preserved his life. They hid him as long as they could but soon it became obvious that something had to be done to prevent the discovery of his birth. Their faith was on display here. They trusted God and did what they had to do to save their baby’s life.
The plan was to build an ark. It was a small waterproof basket that could hold baby Moses and float in the reeds on the edge of the river. Of course there were dangers as animals like crocodiles and other predators would find a quick meal in or around the river. This faith from his parents was a faith that God was able to protect. The basket was placed among the reeds and his sister, Miriam, watched from a distance to be sure the basket was safe.
While the ark was floating there Pharaoh’s daughter came to the river to bathe. She saw the ark, sent a maid to fetch it, opened it, and found the baby crying. She knew it was a Hebrew baby but had compassion. She adopted the baby, naming him Moses which means “drawn from the water.” Miriam saw this discovery and volunteered to find a Hebrew woman to nurse this baby and Pharaoh’s daughter agreed.
Imagine the encouragement it was to Jochebed and her faith as she was paid as a servant of Pharaoh’s daughter to nurse and care for her own son. This baby Hebrew boy, saved at birth in defiance of Pharaoh’s decree, hidden among the reeds in a small basket, retrieved by the king’s daughter, nursed by his own mother – this baby became the Pharaoh’s grandson, raised in his courts with all the privileges of royalty.
Moses’ parents feared God more than men, had incredible faith in the midst of overwhelming odds, did what was right and honored God, preserved his life, and as the story unfolds we see the amazing favor that was shown to Moses as God had already chosen to use him to deliver the people from their bondage and take them to the Promised Land. There in that little floating basket, there in the reeds, their faith led to the Exodus, to the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that this people would serve in Egypt for generations and then be set free to claim their inheritance, the Promised Land.
Who knows what God may do as we trust Him with our lives and the lives of our family. Trust Him and expect great things, for we serve a great God.
This is just the beginning of what we will learn about the faith of Moses and his parents as it is recounted for us in Hebrews 11:23-26. Join us this Sunday, February 27, for worship and the message, titled “Faith for Today”, that will help us learn to trust God here and now, right where we are, no matter what we have come from, come through, or are headed toward. Today we can trust God.
LISTEN to this message here: Faith for Today – Heb 11:23-26