He was a beautiful baby. Her heart leaped every time she would look down at those precious features. He was different; her spirit knew something was different about this little boy. In the quiet of the night, she gazed upon such innocence, such peace, such pleasure and a small smile spread generously across her face. This one would be a strapping young man, as his need to feed was relentless. Jochebed did not mind as it was one of the ways she quieted his little spirit with those soft caresses, warm milk and her heart beat close to his head.
The smile faded from her mouth as his little eyes closed, full from the warm liquid supplied by his mother, lips pursed and head falling gently to the side, satisfied with a full meal, Jochebed knew tomorrow what was to come. Her eyes glanced at the basket in the corner which lay in wait; suddenly she was filled with an overwhelming sadness and the tears began to flow. Only the God of Israel could make her put this precious baby in crocodile infested waters. “Lord, please, let no harm come to this child.” Determined not to wake the boy, Jochebed held him close, as close as she could, for this night would be over to quickly and he would be gone.
Moses’ mother is mentioned in the book of Exodus. Exodus 2 describes the events of Moses’ birth, his family as Levites and the miraculous unfolding of God’s plan for this child, while Exodus 6:20 reveals her name as Jochebed. There can be several ways to describe this woman: loving, faithful, devoted, courageous, hopeful and brave are just a few. I would definitely describe her as courageous, for hiding a newborn baby would a tremendous task. Just the knowledge of others knowing she was pregnant and then looking on wondering, “Where’s the baby?” could keep anyone on guard.
Obviously she was a loving and devoted mother who wanted nothing more than to keep this gift given to her. I’m not sure she was the first woman to put her baby in a basket in hopes of the child’s safety, but the hope and faith in placing a three month old in a papyrus, tar and pitch is strength only the Lord can give. The more I read, study and write about these women, their testimonies and the challenges each faced, especially with their little ones, the strength to do the very things they did, is amazing! My heart cried out as read this imagining my little Maddie, who looked like an angel, holding her for three months, feeding, loving and caring for her, then praying for the power to place her in a basket in hopes she would be found in reptile swarmed waters is unbearable to think about. Jochebed had no choice, she was in bondage.
Moses’ mother was a slave. Driven daily by scourging whips or ruthless commands, pressed on all sides to carry loads not fit for humans to endure and hopeless to a life of death, chains and bondage, Jochebed’s life is in desperate need of a savior. I am sure the Hebrews prayed for someone to stand for righteousness, the poor and oppressed, giving life to those who have no life. Jochebed is a slave to the ungodly, the Egyptians; she is a slave to building their monuments, their wealth and their freedoms.
Living under such scrutiny, the fear of being found with a Hebrew child could have resulted in death. The fear of living under watchful eyes, working under inhuman conditions, while praying your newborn to be quiet and safe had to be unimaginable. But we have to remember, at times, fear and faith go hand in hand. To fearfully step out in faith when we can not see with the physical eye, is trusting God completely.
Making or getting a basket of papyrus, a weed that grew along the Nile in abundance, carefully coating the case with tar and pitch, Jochebed used her gifts, talents, wit and love to place this little boy along the reeds of the Nile River. As a slave, I am sure the Hebrews were well aware of the Egyptian’s practices and schedules. Jochebed was not a naive woman. She did not place the basket with her baby boy at some random section of weeds by hopes he would be found. I am sure she knew the character of the Egyptians and their families. Maybe knowing the Princess who found Moses would have the heart to take him, Jochebed placed the infant in the exact spot where the Princess habitually bathed by the river. This was by no means random or an accident.
Hearing the lustful cries coming from the basket and sending one of her slave girls to get it, the Princess recognizes the boy as a Hebrew baby. Unable to dispose of the infant, her heart, instead, feels sorry for him (Exodus 2:5-6). Miriam, Moses’ sister, who watched as her mother placed her brother in the reeds, followed behind to see what would happen to him (Exodus 2:4). Speaking boldly, unable to contain her excitement of the Noblewoman taking interest in her brother, she asks, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” The Scriptures are silent as to whether the Princess knew Miriam, for the child spoke to her as if having done so before. As a child slave, she brazenly took the initiative to offer a solution that was against Pharaoh’s orders and the Princess agrees!
Only by an act of God could this possibly play out. The coincidences are too rare, unheard of and impossible to comprehend. The kindness and generosity of an Egyptian to a slave girl, let alone to pay a slave to feed the baby and agree to take him as hers is unfathomable. Not only is the Princess in direct disobedience to her Father, how is she going to justify having a young toddler and raising a Hebrew in Pharaoh’s Palace? By the hand of God, with his creative, powerful and all knowing ingenuity, the Lord opens doors that no man can close (Revelation 3:8)!
Jochebed is given her gift once more. She holds her little one, overwhelmed by the grace of God; sheer happiness and pleasure to nurse, hold and love this boy once again. The Hebrew slave is obedient to the Princess, grateful and thankful for her generous heart, but knowing the boy would have a far better life in the Palace. Jochebed takes the child back to the Princess when he is weaned.
This is an amazing bit of God’s history, but remember all of his history points to his son Jesus Christ. Jochebed can represent all people under slavery to sin. She was oppressed on all sides, so are the ones who obey the desires of the world. Many are blind fully unaware of their spiritual depravity, but each are aware of the pressures this world can throw at us. The world is challenging to live in without the peace of God in our hearts. Society will want to break you, have you chained in following what it wants and you will submit. Just as Jochebed, fearfully and hopefully, broke away from her chains and believed in something bigger, we are to break away from the world and come into the family of God.
Our old way of life, slave to sin and society’s ever changing values could drive any person to the edge. A heart that longs to be different, a heart that desires much more than this life, a heart that seeks after something bigger than itself will find Christ. As Moses was “drawn out of the water”, we too are baptized, drawn out of the water as Christians and new believers, slave to sin no more. We are now living in the Palace!
There is such hope in the Christian faith. You can find joy in the most depressing situations, have the peace that surpasses understanding, know all things work for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose, and believe the Lord will use what the enemy has tried to destroy for good (Romans 8:28, Genesis 50:20). The Christian faith is exciting; we never know what the day will bring when we pray to be a blessing to those around us. The Christian faith is trusting God to provide, having a hope in something we can not see, but know that it is there. The Christian faith is believing there is more to eternity than darkness; the Christian faith is believing you have a purpose and plan, you have gifts and talents God can use and all things work together for good!
This Christian faith encourages us to seek the Living God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, to communicate with the Almighty and worship Jesus as the King of Kings! This Christian faith is powerful, making what seems impossible, possible. This Christian faith is alive and I pray your walk with the Lord is exciting, growing in spiritual truths, abounding more in love and determined to run your race fanning the flame within. For just as Jochebed, God will use anyone with a willing heart, a loving spirit and those seek his face! Praise the Lord!
Let us Pray and CONFESS the Word of the Living God.
El Shaddai, God Almighty,
I am thankful for the women in the bible I can study. I am thankful I can read, meditate and pray on your Word daily. I am grateful for the testimonies of the women you used in mighty ways. My heart is full knowing I to can be used in a mighty way for your kingdom. I know you have a plan and purpose for me, for my children and our family. I know there is power in the Holy Spirit and the Resurrected Lord and I lay claim to the promises written for all Christians.
I know all things work together for good for those who love you and are called according to your purpose (Romans 8:28). I am confident that you who have begun a good work will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). I believe my gifts and talents will be used for your glory (Romans 12:6-8). I believe I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
I pray to be a mother who can let go of her children, giving you full access to your gifts formed and molded in my womb. I am thankful for the ability to have these little ones and I pray they are devoted to you in prayer, living a life spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray for the strength for challenging situations, for the peace that surpasses understanding and the ability to praise your name no matter the case. I pray to live in the world, but not be a slave to sin or it’s ever changing desires. I pray to keep my eyes on things seated at the right hand of the Father, things above and not below (Colossians 3:2). Thank you for your death on the Cross, thank you I am a slave to sin no more, thank you for the hope of Christ and thank you for calling me, using me as a vessel for you Kingdom. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I pray, Amen!