Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Most of us remember the story of how the baby Moses was set adrift among the reeds at the edge of the Nile River. Since this weekend is Mother’s Day, I would like to consider his mothers part in this story. But first, here is some of the background to the story.

The children of Israel, who had originally come down to Egypt in order to survive a famine, eventually found themselves as slaves rather than just foreigners. But the Israelites continued to increase in numbers to the point that they were seen as a threat by the Egyptians. However a careful reading of Exodus chapter one reveals that the Pharaoh was not so much concerned that the children of Israel were becoming strong enough that they might overthrow his armies and take over the country, but rather he was concerned that they may become strong enough to escape from their captivity and leave Egypt. No more slave labor - can't have that. For this reason Pharaoh put out a command that every son born to the Israelites should be killed by casting it into the river. This is where we will pick up the story in Exodus chapter two.
Exodus 2: 1-10

And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink. And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children. Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the women took the child, and nursed it. And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.
It is interesting that in this passage, the name of Moses’ mother is not even mentioned. As I mentioned earlier, this story of Moses is a familiar one for most Christians. When we consider the story, we can’t help but put ourselves in his mother’s shoes. And yet how many of us even know her name? Later in the book of Exodus (6:20), her name is given as Jochebed. 
Now, can you even imagine what this was like for Jochebed? She was expecting a baby, and she knew that if she delivered a boy, then there was a death sentence on him. And indeed it was a boy, so she did the only thing she could do. Jochebed hid the child for as long as she could, which the bible tells us was three months. Can you imagine what those three months were like for a mother. The joy of having a newborn son tempered by the terror of being discovered. We have to assume that if the child had been discovered, it would have been his death.

Its not so hard to see how Jochebed took the risk of hiding Moses for those three months, stressful as it must have been. After all, what other option was there? A mother’s love for her child comes naturally. But what she did next showed not only love, but it showed ingenuity and faith. The bible does not tell us how Jochebed came up with her plan to make an ark and place the baby Moses in it near where Pharaoh's daughter came to bathe. We can only speculate that she was led by God to do so. After all, Moses was the one chosen by God to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt. And if Jochebed was led by God to place her baby into that tiny ark, then she still needed faith that God would protect her son through it.

But then comes the best part of the story. Because Jochebed put her faith in God to protect her baby, God allowed her to act as the nursemaid for her own child, and to be paid for it to boot! When we think about the faith that it took for Moses’ mother to place her baby in that tiny little ark and set it afloat in the river, it is something to marvel at. But, when you think about it, many mothers exercise that same type of faith. They care for their babies from the time that they completely helpless. They do their best to teach that child to care for themselves. As the children grow, they teach them about God the Father and about Jesus his Son. They do their best to see their children develop a relationship with Jesus. But eventually, when those mothers have done all they can, they have to just let those children go, putting their faith in God, that he will watch over them, just as Jochebed did. 
Of course there is another area of faith that applies to all of us, not just those who are mothers. That is the matter of putting our faith in Jesus. But just what does the phrase "put your faith in Jesus" mean? I think most of us have been around long enough, and know ourselves well enough to understand that we have each fallen short of God’s law. What we often don’t realize, though, is just how badly we have offended a holy God. If we consider the penalty paid though, it helps put it in perspective. Our sins are so offensive to God that it required the death of his only son to pay that penalty. Do you think your sins are just a little thing, and yet it took the death of Jesus Christ on a cross to pay for them? Once you do understand how serious your sin is, that is where faith comes in. Faith that Jesus paid for your sins. Faith that the payment was acceptable to God the Father. Faith that you are an heir to the promises of the Bible.

If you have never before done so, won’t you ask God to forgive your sins, and put your faith in Jesus the Christ?

1 comment:

covnitkepr1 said...

For sure...sin is very serious.