I would like to introduce a woman who you may not remember. She was selfless and brave and her choices changed the history for two million people.
To bring you up to speed from last week . . . God had promoted Joseph to Pharaoh’s right-hand-man. He had stockpiled grain in Egypt in preparation for a great famine. His father and eleven brothers moved to Egypt during the famine to keep from starving to death. Four hundred years later Israel’s descendants number upwards of two million, but by this time they were slaves.
Out of concerned that Israelites would outnumber the Egyptian, the Pharaoh commanded the midwives to kill all the baby boys born to the Israelites.
This is where we meet Jochebed the woman for this weeks post.
She and her husband already had two children when she became pregnant with their third. But . . . the horrible decree about baby boys had already been issued.
By faith, when Moses was born, his parents hid him for three months, because they saw the child was beautiful and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. Hebrews 11:23
This was a pretty brave thing to do. If her baby boy had been found, it could have resulted in his death and possibly the death of her entire family for disobeying the Pharaoh. But our Jochebed was brave.
The baby grew and out of concern for her baby, she decided to cover a basket with pitch to waterproof it, place her baby boy inside, cover him and set him assail on the Nile River. The Nile was thought to have healing qualities so royalty of Egypt would come to bathe. The Pharaoh’s daughters came to the Nile and discovered a basket floating at the bank among the reeds. As she uncovered the basket the baby boy gave a tiny cry, stealing her heart. The baby’s sister had been positioned to watch the basket and as the princess drew the basket to shore, Miriam steped up and offered to find a wet-nurse from the Israelites.
For three years, Jochebed nursed her baby boy before she took him to the palace and gave him to the Pharaoh’s daughter forever.
Forty years go by . . .
One afternoon Moses was watching the Israelite slaves work when he observed an Egyptian being unusually abusive. Taking care not to be seen, Moses killed the Egyptian and buried the body in the sand. But someone did see and confronted him afterwards. In an effort to cover his sin, Moses fled to the dessert to hide.
. . . for forty years.
Don’t you know in year thirty-nine Moses must have thought . . . IF I hadn’t killed the Egyptian, I wouldn’t have to hide out on the backside of the desert. But it was the following year when God appeared to Moses in a burning bush. Because when God needed someone to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt He chose Moses. He had spent forty years learning how to survive in desert conditions.
AND when God needed someone to write the first five books of the Bible He chose Moses because Moses was educated in the palace where they are taught to read and write.
So . . . when those tough things happen to you, look at Jochebed’s life. The actions she took had to be hard choices. And from her view, things must have looked beyond even God’s reach. Moses lived in the palace for forty years and then went into hiding for another forty years to avoid prosecution from murder. It certainly didn’t look like God was answering this mother’s prayers.
But . . . God’s great hand and this Mother’s great love brought forth the man chosen to lead two million slaves out of Egypt and teach them to survive for the next . . . forty years.