"Lessons from a Mother of Faith"
(Mother's Day Message, delivered Sunday, May 13, 2001 at Bethany Bible Church. All scripture quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version.)
And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank. And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him. Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children." Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you? And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go." So the maiden went and called the child's mother. Then Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed him. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, "Because I drew him out of the water" (Exodus 2:1-10).
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Here's a story that everyone loves. One reason that people love it, no doubt, is because it tells of the birth of one of the greatest heroes of the Bible. Personally, the 'kid' in me has always enjoyed it because it's a great adventure story. And it's certainly appropriate to study on Mother's Day because it speaks of the wonderful love, courage, and sacrifice of a women for her precious child.
But if we treat this story merely as an entertaining and exciting adventure, or as if the most important thing it does is extol the beauties of motherhood - then we will have seriously missed the point. The the greatest thing about Moses' mother was not her instinct of motherly protection; nor was it her remarkable courage; nor was it even her creativity in solving a perplexing problem. The most outstanding thing about her was her faith in God. And that's not just my opinion; that's the verdict of the Holy Spirit Himself. He included this woman - along with her husband - in the "Hall of Faith" passage contained in the Book of Hebrews. Her greatest legacy in the Bible is her faith; because it's in Hebrews 11 that we read, "By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents ..." (Hebrews 11:23).
We're not to merely see this story, then, as a heart-warming tale of motherhood. We're surely to see it as that; but we're to see it as far more than that. We're to see it as a story of courageous, gutsy, no-nonsense faith in God at a time when faith in God was really all there was to have. We're to see it as an example of the kind of faith God wants to see in us. "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Rom. 15:4).
If you look at this story as anything less than a call to meet the challenges and trials of life with the same sort of firm, courageous faith in God that this woman displayed, then you're seeing far less in it than God wants you to see.
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The Bible gives us a little background about Moses' family, and about this remarkable woman of faith. Moses' father, Amram the Levite, had sought out a wife for himself from among his own family line; and so, he married his relative, Jochebed. The Bible records for us only three children that she bore to Amram. First came a girl named Miriam (Num. 26:59), and then, her younger brother Aaron. And then, three years after Aaron (Ex. 7:7) came the baby we know as Moses.
Amram and Jochebed had their first two children during very bad times. But it was into particularly brutal and terrifying circumstances that their third child was born. The Jews had been living in Egypt for four-hundred years. Originally, they had been welcomed into the land as the off-spring of Joseph - the mighty co-regent over Egypt - centuries before (Gen. 47:5-6). But over time, as they began to be greatly blessed of God, they grew dramatically in number. Eventually, they became an exceedingly mighty people group; and the land of Egypt became so filled with them that the Egyptians were a minority in their own land. The Bible tells us;
Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, "Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land." Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens (Ex. 1:8-11).
I believe that there was much more behind this scheme than what meets the eye. From the perspective of the king of Egypt, this was merely a practical matter - a matter of subjugating a very rapidly growing people group and keeping them under his control. But from the standpoint of the devil, this was nothing less than an attempt toward completely destroying Jewish people and, in the process, thwarting of the plan of God to send a Savior into the world through them.
You see; God had long ago made a promise to the world through the Jewish people. He made this wonderful promise to Abraham - the very first Jew: "I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen. 12:1-3). That "blessing" to all the families of the earth was a reference to Jesus, the Savior of the world who was born in the flesh from the Jewish people. (God's promises of blessing to the Jewish people has never changed, by the way. He still loves the sons and daughters of Abraham, even to this very day. And now that the Savior has come, they will yet prove to be an even greater blessing to the world one day in the future - Romans 11:12!)
Abraham believed God's promise with all his heart; and God passed that promise on to his offspring. Throughout the succeeding generations - and even during the time of their oppression in Egypt - the Jewish people kept hold of that promise; trusting that God would preserve them and protect them, and eventually fulfill His promise through them. But because of that promise from God, the devil has always harbored a deep and seething hatred for the Jewish people. That promise of "blessing" to the world, you see, is also the promise of the devil's own eventual overthrow and destruction (Gen. 3:15). And so, he has always been the great, behind-the-scenes instigator of every effort to oppress the Jewish people and wipe them off the face of the planet - including their oppression in Egypt!
The plan of the Pharaoh didn't work, however. God's hand was on the Jewish people; and the more they were oppressed by the Egyptians, the more they multiplied and grew. In fact, they grew to the point that they became a cause of dread to the Egyptian nation.
And so, the Egyptians turned up the heat even more. They made the lives of the Jewish people "bitter with hard bondage - in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor" (v. 14). And it was at this point in the story that things took a particularly diabolical turn;
Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah; and he said, "When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, the you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live" (vv. 15-16).
This wasn't an attempt at 'ethnic cleansing' on the part of Pharaoh. Rather, it was a plan for the complete absorption of the Jewish people into the Egyptian culture. The Pharaoh's plan was to kill an entire generation of male Jewish children, and then make it necessary for an entire generation of Jewish girls to intermarry with the Egyptians. The Jewish nation would then, essentially, become assimilated into Egypt, and would cease to have been a distinct people. His plan was: "If you can't beat them, then make them join you!" The king of Egypt would, then, have secured their loyalty and have expanded his own nation. And of course, behind all this, the devil would then have corrupted purity of the Jewish race, and would have made God's promise of a Savior - and the devil's own eventual overthrow - an impossibility.
But this plan didn't work either. The midwives reverenced God; and they wouldn't put the Jewish baby boys to death. And so, the Pharaoh turned to his own people. "Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, 'Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive'" (Ex. 1:22). In other words; since the Hebrew midwives wouldn't kill off the Jewish baby boys born of their own people, the Pharaoh ordered all the Egyptian people to march into the towns and villages of the Jewish people and do it for them.
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Reviewing this history helps us to understand the dreadfully brutal times in which Jochebed lived, and into which her baby was born. It's hard to imagine what it must have been like to have been a new mother in those days; and how frightened any Jewish mother would have been for the life of her precious baby. Imagine the oppressive sense of terror and grief that would have overwhelmed hundreds of thousands of Jewish households during those brutal days!
But reviewing this history also helps us to appreciate what a woman of courageous faith Jochebed was! Her faith wasn't in anything vague or obscure; but rather was - if I may put it this way - a "manly" faith; a rugged, unshakable faith in the solid promise of God to her ancestor Abraham. She believed that God would indeed keep His promises to her people; and that they would indeed be the ones through whom God would provide a Savior to bless the world.
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You and I may not experience the same sort of trials that Jochebed suffered; but her story of faith has much to teach us about the kind of rugged faith God wants to see from us. We dare not ignore the example that Jochebed gives us of faith in God in trying times - a faith that displayed itself in her trust in God for the life of her precious child.
The first thing we see in this story is Jochebed ...
I. TRUSTING GOD DURING TIMES OF RISK (vv. 1-2).
The first mention of Moses in the Bible is pretty simple: "And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son." There's nothing really very dramatic about this introduction, is there? In fact, we wouldn't even have known that it was describing the birth of Moses unless we had read on.
But knowing, as we do, the times into which he was born; and the terror that reigned around him, we know that he was born into a situation of grave risk. Moses, Jochebed's precious baby boy, was born under a sentence of death. He was an illegal baby - a male child of the Hebrews, whose very existence was a crime against the Pharaoh. By order of the king of Egypt, the most powerful ruler on the earth, he was immediately to be scooped up and thrown into the river by the hands of the Egyptian people. Anyone who would refuse to do so was making themselves a rebel against the king of Egypt; and anyone who would dare to hide the child or keep him alive, in defiance of the inhumane orders of this cruel king, was placing himself or herself under the sentence of death as well.
But then, this was a particularly remarkable baby. The Bible tells us that when Jochebed "saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months." The Hebrew verb that's used to describe Moses means much more than that he was a very attractive baby. It meant that there was an excellency about him - something about him that was particularly striking. We're not meant to understand by this that, as soon as Jochebed saw her baby, she was so overcome by what a cute baby he was that she just couldn't help but hide the adorable little thing and keep him alive -because, frankly, that would have been the same thing that any Jewish mother would have felt toward her brand new baby. Nor are we meant to understand that Jochebed was being somehow "shallow", and that she kept her baby alive simply because he was a really good-looking one - as if she would have thrown him in the river if he had been an ugly baby.
No; Jochebed and Amram could see that this was a truly remarkable baby boy - that something of the grace of God was truly upon him. Just how evidently remarkable he was is hinted at to us in Hebrews 11:23. It says there that they saw that he was "a beautiful child"; and in the original language, it uses the word to describe him that can be translated "pleasing" - in almost an elegant way. And it says very specifically that they "saw" that this was true of him in an objective sense - not merely that he was exceedingly beautiful as a matter of their own rather subjective opinion. Anyone who would have looked could see that there was something special about him. In fact, we get an even greater hint of his uniqueness in Acts 7:20; where it says, "At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God ..." In other words, his mother and father could plainly see that this was no ordinarily child, but one that was particularly blessed with God's favor; one upon whom the hand of God had unequally rested; one that was manifestly "pleasing to God".
What precisely was it about this child that indicated his uniqueness? What exactly did Jochebed and her husband see? I wish we could know; but God has not chosen to tell us. Perhaps it was something that the Holy Spirit had indicated to them deep in their spirits - similar to the way the Holy Spirit spoke to godly old Simeon and the prophetess Anna when they saw the baby Jesus in the Temple, and revealed to them that He was the Savior of the world (Luke 2:25-38).
In any case, Jochebed knew that this child was uniquely blessed by God; and however it was that she knew this, we all know that she was right! She knew that this child must, at all costs, be kept alive. And so, we read that "she hid him three months".
Somewhere in the home of Amram and Jochebed - perhaps in a secret place within the walls, or under blankets and garments - they managed to keep the baby boy concealed from his potential murderers for three long months. Imagine the quiet fear that would come over them every time they heard a knock on the door; or the uneasiness that would grip them whenever the baby cried! What they were doing was extremely dangerous; and it would have meant immediate death for the boy - and perhaps for themselves - if the anyone had found out.
But Jochebed knew that there was something uniquely of God upon her child; and her faith in God moved her to risk hiding him and keeping him alive - no matter what the danger or personal cost to herself.
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I wonder; does your faith in God ever move you to take any risks for Him? Is there some new, unknown, perhaps even dangerous area that God is calling you into to? Is there a place outside your comfort zone that God is asking you to step into? And are missing out on what God wants for you, because you've chosen to play it safe instead?
I believe that every new thing God calls us into involves a certain amount of risk - sometimes even dangerous risk. I was reading the other day about Holly Miller, the young missions student from Multnomah Bible College. She was in Indonesia on a short-term missions trip in early April; and while walking home with some friends after an evening event, she was bitten by an Asian pit viper. She began to react to the bite immediately; and missions staff and friends quickly drove her to the nearest hospital - an hour away - praying and singing "Because He Lives" over and over. Holly died in a hospital four hours later, holding the hand of a friend who was praying for her.
For Holly Miller, stepping out into the place God was calling her to serve involved risk. But she was prepared to accept that challenge of faith, and to walk into whatever danger-zone God called her into. Sometime before she left for Indonesia, Holly had said, "I love praying and talking to God. I enjoy learning more about Him and finding insights while reading His word." The following words were found written by her hand; "I am learning to trust Him in all things and to be patient and rest in contentment in His arms." Her teachers said that she had a key quality of a great missionary - she wasn't afraid to try something new, if God was calling her to it. Just before she left for Indonesia, she told one of her friends at the college, "You need to be prepared that I might die ... I'm prepared to die."
Holly could have stayed home where it was safe; but instead, she took the risk. Faith had a price tag; and she was prepared to pay it. It's pretty apparent that she knew that a risk was involved before she left; but then, where there's no danger or risk, there's certainly no need to have faith. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me ..." (Psalm 23:4). For Holly, that valley was literal; but she went without fear.
Jochebed knew that God was going to do something through this remarkable baby of hers; and she knew that protecting him involved a dangerous risk. And yet, she had the courage of faith to trust God in a time of danger; and go with Him into the risky area He was calling her to - even if it meant her life. In this, Jochebed - and Holly Miller - are great examples of trusting God during times of risk.
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A second thing we see is Jochebed ...
II. TRUSTING GOD WHEN THINGS WERE OUT OF HER CONTROL (vv. 3-9).
We're not told exactly what happened; but it's very apparent that Jochebed was no longer able to keep her baby concealed. She had successfully kept Moses hidden for three long months; but somehow something went terribly wrong. Since only Jochebed is mentioned in the story, I suspect that her husband Amram was not at home during this time of crisis. Perhaps while Amram was out slaving away under heavy labors, someone saw Jochebed with the baby; or perhaps someone heard the child crying and began to get suspicious. It may even be that a neighbor informed on her; and now, the authorities were on their way. In any event, it would appear that Jochebed was about to face this crisis on her own; and if she didn't act quickly, the baby would be apprehended and thrown into the river. There was nothing else she could do; the baby simply had to be gotten out of the home or he would be lost.
But how could she get the baby safely away from home? Where could she take him? In desperation - she developed the only plan she could think of, and trusted God to see it to success. There was no other place to hide him but in the river itself! She would get ahold of an "ark of bulrushes" - a basket made out of papyrus reeds; perhaps one that she already had in the home. She would make it water-tight by coating it with tar and pitch, place the baby into it, sealed it up, and set the baby adrift on the river among the reeds. You can almost see her frantically preparing this basket to receive her baby before it was too late; and you can almost her her crying frantically, and praying to God to protect her little one from what seemed like almost certain death.
If you look closely at this passage of Scripture, you can see two precautions Jochebed clearly took in doing all this. First, she sent the baby Moses adrift on the river; but made sure that the basket was set among the reeds. This meant that she set the basket close to the river-bank; and not to far out into the river where it could be easily seen. And second, you can see that she sent her eldest child Miriam out to follow the basket and watch what happened to it.
But even with these precautions, think of all the things that were outside of her control! She had set the basket upon a river, where it could easily have drifted out into strong currents and be toppled over; or where the child could have easily been eaten by crocodiles; or where it could easily have been spotted by a passing Egyptian. Would little Miriam be able to keep an eye on him without, herself, exposing the baby to detection? And think of the baby himself! How far down river would he drift? How long would he be in the basket? Would he be warm enough, or dry enough? Would he be found in time to feed him and keep him alive? And if they did find him, would they care for him and attend to his needs? Who would nurse him? Would he fall into compassionate hands; ... or would he be found only to be murdered?
My suspicion is that only a special strength from God could have enabled this poor mother to put her beloved baby in a basket and send it on the water; so much out of her control.
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And yet; look at how much the providential hand of God proved to be upon him! Moses' floating crib came to rest among the reeds, just where - of all people - the daughter of Pharaoh, the daughter of the very one who had commanded the death of all the Jewish baby boys, was coming down to bathe. In the providence of God, the princess and her maids saw the basket among the reeds; and when they brought the basket to the princess and opened it, they discovered the baby.
And look at how, in the providence of God, it was right then that Moses began to cry - not only when it was safe for him to do so; but when it was perfectly timed to melt the heart of the princess! (Whenever I read those words, "And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept"; I think, "Wow! Good timing, Lord!!"; because it says right then, "So she had compassion on him." God knows how to appeal to a young princess's natural inclination toward a crying infant, doesn't He?)
The Bible says that the princess and her maids immediately noticed that he was a Hebrew child; perhaps because they saw that he was circumcised. The princess apparently exclaimed out loud, "This is one of the Hebrews' children!" And again, we see the great providence of God; because there was Miriam - right on cue - to ask, "Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?" When the princess gives her permission, who else does Miriam call but the baby's own mother!
Now; I can imagine Miriam running home, almost out of breath, telling her mother what had happened and how the princess wanted her to come and nurse Moses. But what a mixture of emotions must have been running through Jochebed at that moment! There would certainly have been relief and great joy in knowing that her prayers had been answered and that her baby was safe. But then, she would have realized that her baby was in the arms of the daughter of the very king that had ordered him to be killed! Was Moses really, truly safe? And would he be safe if she came and nursed him? Could she keep from revealing what she had done? And, for that matter, would she herself be safe as well? If she were apprehended or killed, what would happen to Moses?
With faith in God's providence, however - and I'm sure with much prayer - Jochebed obeyed the call of the princess. Some scholars have suggested, that this princess was unable to have a child of her own; and so, she was able to persuade the Pharaoh to allow her to adopt Moses. And it may even be that Pharaoh saw certain advantages over the Hebrew people in having a Jewish child grow up in the royal household. When Jochebed finally came, the princess told her, "Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." And because it says in the text that Jochebed, after he had become old enough, brought Moses back to the princess, I suspect that Jochebed took Moses back home to nurse him and care for him!
Imagine the remarkable providence of God that Jochebed must have reflected on that night! How could she help but laugh and cry at the same time?!! She had taken the challenge of faith, and had entrusted Moses to the providence of God when things were out of her control; and the providence of God, He gave her baby back to her in a way that was even greater than before. Moses had begun the day in terrible danger of being either put to death by the Egyptians, or of being lost to the currents of the river; but now, he was not only extraordinarily safe - because he was under the protection of the household of Pharaoh - but he was also back in his own mother's arms. And what's more, she was even getting paid by the household of Pharaoh to take care of him! Is God's providence amazing or what?!!
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Eventually, Moses was raised in safety, in the household of Pharaoh. His life was spared, the devil's plan was thwarted, and he was able to fulfill his God given destiny as the deliverer of his people and the great law-giver of God. And I suggest to you that none of this would have happened if Jochebed hadn't been willing to trust in God's sovereign care over the things that were outside of her control.
As my wife and I discussed this story, she told me something that, I think, helps us appreciate this particular lesson of Jochebed's faith. She said, "If a wealthy person were to walk up to me and say, 'I'm going to make an offer to you: I will give your children everything they'll ever need. I'll give them the very best home. I'll provide the best and most nutritional food for them. I'll clothe them in the finest clothes. I'll give them the best activities to engage in, so that they'll be healthy and strong in body and mind. I'll even provide them with the very best education they could possibly have, and send them to the most prestigious and expensive schools in the world. I'll do all of this for them free of charge, and then pass on the full riches of my vast wealth to them as their inheritance. And what's more, I'll do all of this while you - as her mother - are allowed to live with them, love them, and care for them as always. I'll do all of this for your children; but there's only one condition: you may never again pray to God for them. From this day forward, you may never again utter a prayer to God on their behalf' ... If such a person made such an offer to me, I'd turn them down. I'd let my boys suffer the loss of all those other things, if I could only keep on praying for them; because nothing else that anyone could ever do for my children will ever match the eternal blessings God, in His providence, can give to them in response to my prayers for them."
Dear brothers and sisters, what do you do with things that are outside of your control? Do you pray? Do you entrust the circumstances that whirl about yourself and those you love to the providence of God through your prayers? Can you point to anything in your life that you accept as outside of your control, and confidently entrusted to the providence of God? Or do you reveal the true level of your faith in God by trying to control everything yourself?
One of the great lessons Jochebed has to teach us is how to trust God when things are outside of our direct control. The Bible says, "Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass" (Psalm 37:5). May God help us to trust Him as Jochebed did!
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You would think that, after all this, Jochebed would have demonstrated all that there was to demonstrate of an outstanding faith in God. But there remained yet one more great test of her faith; and in some ways, it seems to me to be the most difficult test of all - particularly for a mother. We, finally, see Jochebed ...
III. TRUSTING GOD WHEN IT WAS TIME FOR HER TO LET GO (v. 10).
The Bible describes Jochebed's last act toward her son in these words: "And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, 'Because I drew him out of the water' (v. 10).
Between verses 10 and 11, forty years of the life of Moses transpires without description. But we know that, during all that time, he was brought up as a prince. The great treasures of Egypt became his to have, if he but chose to take them. He came to be taught as a prince would be taught; and grew to be schooled in all the wisdom and learning that the mighty Egyptian culture could give him. He was to receive the very best that belonged to this world; and was to grow up to be mighty in word and in deed (Acts 7:22).
But Jochebed could only see it all from a distance; because when he had grown, and when the time was right, she returned her own precious boy - the child of her own womb - to the princess that had laid claim to him. He would be raised as the child of the daughter of Pharaoh, not as the child of Jochebed; and he would bear the name that the princess, not Jochebed, would give him.
I can't imagine the pain that Jochebed would have felt in doing his - not only the emotional, but the spiritual pain as well. She had seen, when he was born, how something of the remarkable favor of the God of Israel had rested upon him. She had received her son back as if from the dead through the providence of this mighty God. She had cradled him in her arms, and sang the songs of Israel to him at night, and whispered the promises to Abraham to him as he fell sleep. She had felt his warm cheek on her own, as she prayed that God would keep him always in His care - even when he was out of her arms. And then, one terrible day, she had to tear herself away from him and give him over to a pagan woman, who would raise him in a pagan culture, to be a rule over the very pagan nation that was oppressing the people of God. Perhaps, though, she believed that God was going to use him one day to deliver his people from bondage; and perhaps this hope was something that, somehow, she passed on to him while she could. Acts 7:25 suggests this; because it's there we read that, even while still a prince in Egypt, Moses "supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand ..."
And yet, here we see the final test of Jochebed's faith - to entrust her son to God's care when her care could no longer be given. He was going to forever be out of her hands; and she had to turn him over to the hand of another. We read of no resistance on her part to this, though. We don't see that she fights against it, or tries to keep her child to herself. When it came time, she let him go. But I don't doubt that she prayed for him every day of her life from then on, do you?
And look at what happened! None of those years that Moses spent out of her hands were wasted. It was in the plan of Pharaoh to train Moses to be a prince of Egypt; and yet, all along, it was in the plan of God that all of Moses' equipping and training as a leader would be used to prepare him to deliver the people of Israel out from under bondage to the Egyptians and into the land that God had promised them. It was God's plan that Moses would receive all this education and learning in order to make him the human instrument through which He would give us the Old Testament books of the law. It never would have happened if Jochebed had not let him go, and entrusted him to the hand of God when the time came.
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How about you? Is there something in your life that you're refusing to let go of? Is there something in your life that God is telling you that it's time to turn over to Him. Is there something that He is calling you to pull your hands off of and release to His sovereign care? Or, is there someone in your life - someone precious to you - that you are having a hard time releasing and entrusting to God? Are you perhaps even causing harm to a work of God by hanging on to someone or something long past your time?
Sometimes, the hardest tests of faith come to us, not when it's time for us to rise up and do something, but when it's time for us to pull our hands away and stop trying to do something. Such tests come, not when it's time for us to take control of a situation or person, but to release the control of that situation or person to another, and have faith in God that He will make it right.
There are times when, if we're listening, we can hear the Spirit of God gently saying to us, "Be still, and know that I am God ..." (Psalm 46:10). There are times when He tells us that the work is not ours, but His alone. We can take Jochebed's example of faith as a great encouragement to us at such times. When we feel the call of God to let go of what He wants us to quit hanging on to, we can trust Him to do far more with it than we ever could.
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Here's three great lessons of faith, then, from a great mother of the Bible: (1) that we can face times of danger confidently, if we have faith in God's promises; and (2) that we can be at peace when the circumstances around us seem to be out of control, if we have faith in God's providence; and (3) that we can let go of the people or things that it's no longer right for us to hold onto, if we have faith in God's unending grasp on them.
May God help us, for His own glory's sake, to learn these lessons of faith from Jochebed.
(copyright 2001 by Pastor Greg Allen and Bethany Bible Church. Reproduction without permission, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.)
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