May 9, 1993
Needless to say, I have been living in the book of Exodus for about two years now. I spend probably 20 hours a week in it
for my own study and information. The SS lessons are an outgrowth of that study.
Because I am studying Moses and the nation of Israel from Exodus, when I considered something for Mother's Day, Moses' mother came to mind. I have little doubt but that she is in the ranks with Mary, the mother of our Lord.
This morning I would like to give you some simple points about Moses' mother. These are things that should encourage every mother in here today.
Exodus 2 shows us that even out of the most hideous of evil, the killing of innocent babies, the mighty hand of God prevails. Out of this evil, comes a mother who stands for God. Because of the stand of one mother, a child comes upon the pages of history whom God will use to destroy the power of the world, give His law through and lay the basic foundation for redemption of God's people of all time. At the peak of the world's power, a godly mother who is not afraid of wicked men is brought into view. Her son goes on to destroy the very power of Egypt. Of course, the parallel between Moses and Christ is striking.
Exodus 2 shows that all the world's wisdom will be to their own destruction in God's good time.
V. 1, God's miraculous deliverance starts with a very common statement of marriage and the birth of a son (although marriage is becoming more and more uncommon). Marriage had been going on since Adam and Eve, yet in this very common occurrence, the seed of a earth-shaking event takes place: a godly marriage and a woman becoming a mother. Moses is born.
This couple has three children: the older was a daughter, Miriam, and the younger, Aaron. Miriam was probably 15 years older than her youngest brother, Moses, and she felt a responsibility for him for the rest of her life. In fact, she got into big trouble latter when she expressed her displeasure over Moses' new wife. Aaron was 3 at the time of Moses' birth, so evidently the command to kill all the boys was a recent one because Moses' parents did not have to hide Aaron.
Vs. 2, 3, show us that every Hebrew parent was faced with a very difficult decision: would they obey the state and sacrifice their sons to the state by casting them into the river, or would they attempt to save them?
Because a mother feared God more than man, one child was permitted by God to live.
V. 3, bulrushes... a reed sturdy enough to make ocean going vessels. Moses' mother placed her 3 month old son in the small boat which she had acquired. She placed the ark among the flags along the river so it would not float downstream. She knew the princess would come to this location in her pagan, Egyptian ritual.
V. 4, Moses' mother had faith, but she also had extremely good common sense; she left the baby's sister to watch out for her baby brother's safety.
V. 5, the baby's mother has done all she could, now Divine Providence takes over. The hand of God brings Pharaoh's daughter to the spot where the baby lies.
V. 6, we are told that the princess recognized that this abandon baby was a Hebrew and had compassion on him.
Vs. 7-10, even though the baby was a known Hebrew, he is still made a member of Pharaoh's household with a religious name, Moses.
It was probably obvious to the princess what was going on when Merium appeared. She knew that this teen-age girl was the baby's sister and that the woman was the baby's mother. But three things overrode her good sense in the mater:
1) over-confidence in the power and influence of Egypt: no doubt Egypt saw this 3 month old baby as no threat because he was only one out of a great many. And Moses probably would have been no threat to Egypt if his mother had not been allowed to train him up in these very early years.
I have no doubt that a major reason for the state's desire for a "head start" program is so the state can get the children away from the parents even sooner.
2) superstition: Egypt's religion considered the Nile a god; therefore, by the baby being in the river, Pharaoh's daughter (and Pharaoh) would have said, "Did not my god, the Nile river, give me this child? What do we have to fear from this Hebrew?"
3) the third influence which caused her to accept the forbidden child would have been the Lord
Some couple general points from this chapter:
1) It is an interesting coincidence that Exodus 1 closes with the command for the parents to cast their new-born sons into the River Nile. According to Edersheim, the Egyptians worshipped the Nile as a god. Thus, the command of the king was to sacrifice the Israelite sons to the god of the Egyptians, ie. the Nile.
2) This chapter of Exodus shows us that even though evil men appear to be establishing the course of history, it is actually God's Divine Providence that controls all events according to His own sovereign purpose. He is at work in every action of evil men. Their best-laid, wicked plans will be used against them.
3) This chapter also shows us that abortion was routine in antiquity as a common means of population control. But this mother would have no part of it. In fact, secular history (Josephus) says that Egypt gave Israel a choice; kill the male babies or the parents be killed. But Moses' mother was a woman of faith
4) God takes normal, everyday events in the life of a mother, and turns them into world-changing actions through her children.
Great things in world history start as small, ordinary events. Certainly, we desire to see God move against evil in some great, earthshaking event, such as the giving of the law at the mount, but that world-shattering event started here in v.1 with a godly marriage and godly motherhood.
As these parents were faithful before God in this small area, 80 years latter the earth shook when God gave the law through their son.
Everything about her can be summed up by the statement in Hebrews 11:23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandments.
By faith... Not only Moses' mother had faith to stand against the pagan king's commandments, but also Moses' father. We are not told what part his father played in Exo 2, but we are told that he played an important part.
1) Moses' mother DID NOT turn him over to Egypt willingly, but by faith, she believe that God would take care of him. His parents wereforced to either cast him upon the mercy of God on the river in hopes that someone in Pharaoh's house would find him, or lose him to death.
His parents were between the devil and the deep blue sea. They were between casting Moses upon the river at the mercy of the world or death
In a word: We cannot cast our children to the mercy of the world and expect God to take care of them as He did Moses. His parents had no choice; We do have a choice at this point in history! Only as we are faithful to God, to the very best of our abilities with our children in training them for God, can we expect God to work.
A) Moses' parents faith caused them to be not afraid of the pagan king's commandments. This alone would exclude a very large portion of Christianity today.
But we are seeing a rebirth of this kind of faith in the home school movement. The pagan state is threatening the parents that if they do not commit their children to statist education, the parents will go to jail. But vast numbers of parents fear not the state's ungodly claim on their children. Christian faith overrides fear of man.
B) Moses' mother had faith:
But what set her apart from the other mothers of Israel is that she putfeet to her faith. She did all she could for her child and left the results in the Lord's hands, by faith. James tells us that faith without works is dead.
Faith requires action: without action, Moses would no doubt have been destroyed. How many Israelite mothers said, "I have faith that God will protect my child;" how many said, "Well, in my heart I have committed him to the Lord, and whatever will be, will be?" Then they took no action?
The result of such foolish thinking would have been death to the child. Then they would have said, "God did not honour my faith," or, "It was in the hands of God that He took my child." No! In such cases the death of the baby would have been the parents fault. Moses shows us that every step possible must be taken, then the results left in God's hands.
Moses' mother had done all she could to protect her son, then she committed him into the hands of the Lord. Her action is not unlike Abraham's action with Isaac, and the Lord honours her action as He did Abraham's. She receives her son back from the dead. When she received him back, she did all she could to train him in a godly fashion.
2) The amazing thing about this situation of Exodus 2, is that if Pharaoh had not commanded the death of every boy baby, Moses' mother would not be a key figure in God's plan of redemption. If Pharaoh had not commanded that all Hebrew babies be cast into the river, Moses' mother would not have hid him where Pharaoh's daughter could find him.
We live in an extremely evil day that sees all the forces of the world at war against God's people. The war is causing mothers and dads to take stands that they would never have taken otherwise.
3) though not directly connected with Moses' mother, we should mention Moses' sister, V. 4. She appeared idle, but she was doing everything: she was watching. She stood afar off, yet was close at hand. She appeared idle, but the baby's life and the life of a nation depended upon her faithfulness. We should be extremely cautious about judging appearances.
There is a time to look and watch; there is a time to act and speak. May we have the grace to know the difference in our lives.
Furthermore, Moses' sister did not know the scope and meaning of her actions. Very few of us realize the scope and magnitude of our actions; therefore, we must always do our very best.
4) Moses' mother did not allow circumstances to discourage her.
A) Evidently she was the first one to try this method of saving her son. The rest of the sons either had been drown in the Nile or hidden in another manner.
B) She planed ahead; she prepared her son to be discovered during a religious ritual of the Egyptians. For the Nile to yield a male child during a religious ritual would be seen as a very happy omen. The Egyptian princess would be very protective of him.
C) Moses' mother may have considered her place in history very insignificant, but she had the key. Her faith caused her to take every step to protect and train her child properly.
D) As mothers have from the time of the first mother, she worked unknown in the background, and controlled history. Her name is not even recorded here; we do not learn her name until we get well into Moses' life, Ex 6:20 (Jochebed).
I believe that the greatest work in the world is done out of public view. Mothers may feel that no one notices them; that their long hours, tears, prayers and hard work with no thanks are all wasted. But God know and is keeping score.
E) Jochebed's faith was not revealed until 40 years after she, by faith, placed her son in the river. You mothers here today, you may feel that your faith is wasted, but you may not know for many years. Moses' mother did not reap the result of her faith for 40 years.
Can you expect better? How discouraged did she get during this time? How much prayer did she exert for her son? Did she live to see her son make the right choice?
Furthermore, mothers, it may be only one child, but God can take the one and destroy the power of evil with that one. 5) lastly, Moses' mother had courage: She laid her son upon the Nile because she had first laid him upon the divine care and providence of God. She was able to calmly place him in this very dangerous place because she had first placed him calmly before the Lord. She did in her heart what Abraham had to do many years previously with his son, Isaac.
When we are right in the heart with our Lord, we will be right in our actions with the Lord.
As we look at Scriptures, we see a consistent principle in situations such as Samuel & Isaac: we must let go the child and cast him upon the Providence of a Merciful God. This principle of sacrificing all to God, not only applies to our most prized possession, but it applies to every possession.
I know parents who refused to die to their children; they refused to take the best path for their children because they did not want to be separated from them. Now they are separated from that child permanently as the child serves the world, flesh, and the devil. I advised them to turn lose of their children, but they refused. Then later, they have had to turn lose, and the children are not worth a flip.
Moses' mother did not do anything that is not required of every parent. That is: do all they can according to the word of God with their children, be faithful by God's grace and then commit the child to the hands of the Lord.
A mother's hard work may seem all but forgotten, but what she instills in her children can change the world for good or for evil.