Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Jochebed: A Portrait of Selflessness and Courage

A man from the family of Levi married a Levite woman. The woman became pregnant and had a son. She saw there was something special about him and hid him. She hid him for three months. When she couldn't hide him any longer she got a little basket-boat made of papyrus, waterproofed it with tar and pitch, and placed the child in it. Then she set it afloat in the reeds at the edge of the Nile. The baby's older sister found herself a vantage point a little way off and watched to see what would happen to him. Pharaoh's daughter came down to the Nile to bathe; her maidens strolled on the bank. She saw the basket-boat floating in the reeds and sent her maid to get it. She opened it and saw the child--a baby crying! Her heart went out to him. She said, "This must be one of the Hebrew babies." Then his sister was before her: "Do you want me to go and get a nursing mother from the Hebrews so she can nurse the baby for you?" Pharaoh's daughter said, "Yes. Go." The girl went and called the child's mother. Pharaoh's daughter told her, "Take this baby and nurse him for me. I'll pay you." The woman took the child and nursed him. After the child was weaned, she presented him to Pharaoh's daughter who adopted him as her son. She named him Moses (Pulled-Out), saying, "I pulled him out of the water." Exodus 2:1-10 (Message)

We are introduced to a woman named Jochebed in Exodus 2. She stands out as one of the greatest mothers revealed in the pages of Scripture.  Her selfless love and sacrifice made possible the exodus of God's people from Egypt and literally changed the course of history. 

We learned the story of Moses in the basket early in our religious education.  As we colored in the basket and the faces of Moses and his sister by the water we may have missed the fact that he was spared from death by the commitment, courage and creativity of his mother Jochebed.  God’s plan for Moses was dependent on her.

While we are captivated by the cunning it took to insure her presence in the life of her son, we need to also recognize that she never lost her conviction about who God was and His purpose for His people although living in a pagan world.  As she raised Moses, she taught him the stories of Jehovah God and His choosing of His people.  Her values were imparted to him as she nurtured him in the palace of the pagans.

Jochebed was a woman motivated by a strong faith in the will of a Sovereign God!  Her faith was so strong that she was named, along with her husband, to God's Hall of the Faithful in Hebrews 11:23. She needed this kind of faith to accomplish what she did for the Lord and for her son.  It took faith to place the child in the river. This was the same instrument which was being used to drown the other babies. (So Pharaoh issued a general order to all his people: "Every boy that is born, drown him in the Nile. But let the girls live." Exodus 1:22)  It took enormous faith for this mother to take her hands off the life of this child and leave him to the will of God.

Jochebed’s son became a great man of God. He was the one man whom God had chosen to be the deliverer of the people of God and the one who was destined to be known as the Great Lawgiver Of Israel.  I would imagine that Jochebed never realized his potential when he was a baby. I suppose that she lived the remainder of her life and never knew what God did with the life of Moses.  In her own way, Jochebed rises as high as any mother in the Bible. This mother's love and sacrifice were vindicated in the way God greatly used her son!

Parents, you never know who you are raising!  The lesson we learn is that God just wants us to be faithful so that He can take what we have planted in our children and use it for His glory and His kingdom.  Jochebed stands, even after all these years, as a true portrait of a godly mother. I wonder how we parents stack up against her witness today?

Scripture to Claim:
Hear, my son, your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck.  (Proverbs 1:8-9)

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