I just read parts of this story to answer questions I was doing a book study on worry. As I read it I realized the amount of faith Moses' mother had in God to take care of her son. To set the story, Exodus 1 explains how the Israelites were becoming large in number, living in Egypt. The new Pharaoh was afraid the Israelites would outnumber and overpower the Egyptians. Not only did Pharaoh make the Israelites work ruthlessly as slaves, building and working the fields; but called all the Hebrew midwives to kill any son born to an Israelite. The midwives, Shiphrah and Puah feared God more than they feared the Egyptian King, therefore they did not listen to Pharaoh. The fact that the narrator of Exodus didn't even mention Pharaoh's name, but mentioned the midwives' names, shows how much he respected their honorable act. After Pharaoh knew they were disobeying him, he called all his people, " Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live." (Exodus 1:22) A man from the house of Levi married a Levite woman, Jochebed. Levites were from the tribe of Levi, son of Jacob. They were recognized as followers of God and many had priestly duties. The two conceived and bore a son. Now Jochebed knew that her son would be thrown into the Nile to be killed, so she hid him for three months. After three months she made a sturdy basket, laid him in it and put the basket in the reeds by the riverbank. Let me stop for a minute. Could you imagine the thoughts that went through her mind as she laid him in the basket? What was she thinking when she walked away from her three month old son? Granted, he would be killed if the Egyptians had found him alive, but still- to give up your child and leave him in the hands of whoever found him. Being from the house of Levi, I do assume that she was a follower of God, and her trust was in Him to take care of her son. When Pharaoh's daughter found the baby crying, she took pity on him and cared for him. Now the boy was only three months old- still needing breast milk. Pharaoh's daughter sent for the baby's mother. At that moment, I think I would have been afraid for my life as well as my son's when they realized I had hid him to save him from the Egyptians...little did she know what God was intending to use for His purposes! Pharaoh's daughter paid the
boy's mother to nurse the child until it wasn't needed anymore. Now these days, many mothers if they can nurse, will nurse nine or twelve months. In this time however, it may have been longer. Regardless, Jochebed had possession of her son again, only to know that she would be giving him back to Pharoah's daughter. The day came when Jochebed brought her son to Pharoah's daughter and gave her to him indefinitely. Can you imagine what that was like? Remember how abusive Pharoah was to the Israelites in making them, the Bible says, "ruthless slaves". She was handing her son over to her enemy. Yet she had faith that it was for his good. My son Oskar is 16 months. Probably of close age to Jochebed's son. My heart would ache to be without him. My mind would race with images of what the Egyptians might do to him. The Bible doesn't paint us this picture of the emotions she went through, but one can only imagine. I wonder if she had a name for her son. It was Pharoah's daughter that gave him the name Moses, which means, "drew him out of the water."
I'm sure after Jochebed saw that Moses was well cared for and had life much better than she in a palace, she had peace that God had protected him and would use it for His purposes. I'm sure she still had nightmares of her decision and days of weeping in missing her son, but she could rest in knowing she did the right thing.
Well, God did have plans for Moses, didn't He? Moses became a very important man who God used to lead the Israelites out of the Egyptians hands, beginning their journey to the promise land. He wrote the first five books of the Bible, also known as the Pentateuch, which includes Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Many know him for writing the Ten Commandments.
Isn't fascinating to know the plans had for Moses before his mother placed him in the reeds? That her placing him in the reeds was actually part of God's plan? How in possible desperation Jochebed was, God used her for his purposes! What kind of faith she had to trust in the Lord and his plans.