Yesterday I preached from Exodus 2:1-10 and Hebrews 11:23-29 on the faithful example of Jochabed. While the children of Israel were slaves in Egypt, a little Hebrew slave girl was born. All she ever knew was slavery, oppression, and hardship. However, she understood her identity as a Hebrew young lady, and as she grew her parents and grandparents invested in her life teaching her the promises of God that were given to Abraham and passed on to Isaac and Jacob. She was taught to love the LORD with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength. She grew older and became a wife to Amram and eventually the mother to three people who are well known in Scripture, including one young man who served as the deliverer and great prophet of Israel – Moses.
Jochebed Obeyed God
As she and Amram married and were blessed with children, the wicked Pharaoh became fearful of the growing population of the Hebrew slaves. He feared his throne would be threatened. So, as wicked kings do, he devised a plan that would eliminate the threat. He called for all of the male children born to the Hebrew women to be thrown into the Nile River and drowned. Imagine as Jochebed and Amram were expecting their baby to be born, would it be a boy or a girl? On the day of the birth, instead of great joy and excitement – Jochebed and Amram were likely filled with fear as they welcomed their new baby boy into the world.
Instead of casting him into the deadly Nile, they hid their son for three months. They did everything possible to ensure that the baby would be safe and protected from the king and his men. However, soon they understood that they could no longer keep him safe. They had looked upon his beauty and in some way that remains a mystery to us, God revealed to them that their boy was special unto the LORD and they trusted the LORD as they made a wove a basket together and covered it with pitch. Jochebed placed her son inside the basket and said goodbye. She placed it among the reeds in a place where royalty often visited and bathed. Soon, the daughter of the king came to bathe in the river. As the basket was discovered, the crying little baby boy was found inside. This was the beginning of what we could call a strange providence of God.
Pharaoh’s daughter sent for a Hebrew woman to come and nurse the baby. Moses’ mother was brought to him. Not only did she spend time nursing her baby boy, but she was also paid for doing so. Many scholars believe that this process continued as she cared for the boy until approximately 10-12 years of age. At the appointed time, Jochebed said goodbye to her son once again as she gave him back over to Pharaoh’s daughter. Jochebed obeyed God – because she trusted in His faithful promise.
Jochebed Did Not Waste Her Motherhood
Jochebed understood her role in life as a wife and mother. She was not trying to escape her calling or evade her responsibility. She gladly poured into her children – including Moses as she was paid a salary for caring for her son. As the years passed by, Jochebed invested into her boy. She taught him the same promises that her parents and grandparents taught her. She told him about the promise made to Abraham and passed on to Isaac and Jacob. She taught him to love the LORD with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength. Jochabed, as a faithful mother, likely warned him regarding the multiplicity of false gods that littered the landscape of Egypt.
After going to live as the daughter of Pharaoh, Moses would have been educated in a completely different culture. He would have been given privileges and opportunities that no Hebrew had ever known before. However, over time, Moses was given insight by the LORD that he was called to a special task. Moses departed Egypt not fearing the king. Moses was unwilling to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter (Heb. 11:24). He chose to be mistreated with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin (Heb. 11:25). Moses considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt (Heb. 11:26).
After a season as a shepherd – God brought Moses back to Egypt to stand before the most powerful man on planet Earth to demand the release of all of the Hebrew slaves. In a drama filled story, the God of Moses overpowered the throne of Pharaoh and humiliated the people and their false gods. After a series of massive plagues, Moses led the people courageously across the Red Sea as God parted the waters before them. Moses led the people as a faithful shepherd through the wilderness. He communed with God and delivered the Law of God to the people.
Moses was a faithful deliverer, courageous shepherd, authoritative prophet, and powerful leader of Israel. He learned to fear the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob rather than the kings of men. He learned such convictions from his mother – Jochebed.
Don’t overlook the importance of a faithful mother. Her value is beyond calculation. Just as Jochebed taught Moses faithfully, we too need faithful women who will live courageously in our present age. We need faithful Christ honoring ladies who will invest in the lives of their children.
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.