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August 23  2020

Exodus 1:8-2:10

Barb Loomis

I would guess that everyone here has held a new baby or even cared for one.  You cannot resist

holding the child close and smelling the baby. Why do babies smell so wonderful?  Then the

child makes little gurgling, cooing noises. It makes you smile and say “awe”.

Parents and others count the toes and fingers. It seems to be part of human nature. You

marvel in the perfection of the ears, and if the hair if the child has hair.   God knows

even the very hairs of your head (Math 10: 30). God knows every part of you and the

child, even your heart.

There was such great joy in my 9-year-old grandson’s eyes when he held his

newborn baby cousin two years ago. His face lit up when the baby grabbed hold of

his finger. Link (my grandson) was shaking just from the touch of that baby.

I am sure you have similar stories.

Now in this time of maintaining safe distance, the stories have change. You

will not see the baby at the hospital. You may only see the baby on facetime. Zoom,

or some other platform.  Some new parents feel isolated without the in-person

interaction of family and friends, without seeing the reaction of others first

moment with their child.  This is our world today.

Just think of the people in our scripture, 350 years before Moses was born

Joseph helped Egypt and many survive a very long drought. This Pharaoh did not

care or know about the past. He felt threatened and enslaved the Hebrew people.

As if slavery was not enough, he decided to reduce their numbers by having the boy

babies killed. He asked this of the Midwives to do this awful deed. When this did

not work, he orders the babies to be thrown into the Nile.


Let’s look at three women in this lesson, Moses’ mother, his sister, and the

Pharaoh’s daughter.

When there was an announcement of a new baby coming, they likely prayed

for girls even with the importance of boys in their culture. We do not find out the

name of Moses mother until Exodus 6:20. Like any mother, Jochebed held and loved

that child at first sight. The Bible tells us she saw that he was a goodly child, (v.2) which implies that there was something very special about him. Every child is very

special to the mother.  For three months she cared for him. She cherished every

smile. She probably cried and prayed often wondering, what she could do to save

her baby boy’s life.  She couldn’t celebrate with her family and friends, only those

that lived in her home.  No one visited to coo and admire her baby.  She had

probably hidden her pregnancy – self isolating for nine months, then for another

three months after the baby’s birth she was alone in her joy and in her fear. The

Pharaoh’s order was for the baby boys to be thrown into the Nile.  By placing him in

a basket coated with tar and pitch, Jochebed was still obeying the Pharaoh, with

hopes of saving her child. There was a great deal of faith and trust in this act.

The Nile is a beautiful and exotic river. There are twelve different species of

crocodile in the Nile.  Crocodile watch everything moving, ready to spring and

devour an unsuspecting animal, fish or human. Do you think that a basket could

protect Moses from the crocodiles? The Nile is filled with many menacing creatures,

crocodiles are only one species that comes to mind.  Jochebed took that risk

because of the time in history that she lived.


Just like Moses’ mother, we did not know his sister’s name until later in the

Bible. We do not know her age, but it is presumed that she is younger than

child-bearing age.  Otherwise the Pharaoh’s daughter and her servants would have

thought the baby belonged to Mariam.  Let’s say she was around ten.  How many

children are stepping into caregiving roles in this world that we live in today? If both

parents work, if it is a single parent home, maybe it is only for an hour or two. There

are likely more children watching younger siblings than you would want to imagine?

When I was around that age circumstance put me in charge of my little sister.  I have

an older brother and sister, but they really didn’t step up. I felt sorry for Marjie.  So I

kept an eye on her and watch out for her. Did I do a good job? Probably not, but she

is alive. In the time of Moses, children had more responsibilities. There were more

expectations. That was one brave little girl to go to the Pharaoh’s daughter to offer

her mother’s service to nurse the baby. I have to believe that the mother coached

her beforehand.  Mariam was brave and she did go.

The last woman in the lesson is the Pharoh’s daughter.  She knew the child

was a Hebrew child. She Knew the Pharoh’s order. Yet when she looked at that

baby, she wanted to care for it. Remember God knows our heart. At probably three

or four, Jochebed “brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son; and

she named him Moses,[b] for she said, “Because I drew him out[c] of the water.””

It does not say anywhere in the scripture that God spoke to Jochebed.  But she

was from a very spiritual culture, so we have to believe she prayed for guidance and



Natural motherly instincts would keep her from willing putting her child in

danger let alone throw him into the Nile. God’s quiet voice had to have been there

through her natural instincts.

She used common sense to hide her child for a short time. During that time the

voice of God, in the form of common sense, likely drowned out her emotional voice.

So that she could use her practical skills like basket weaving and knowledge of the Nile

to form a plan to save her child.

It was probably no coincident that the Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing that day

and Jochebed counted on the woman’s motherly tendency. Finding the baby in the

water was a good omen. The Egyptians gave the Nile godly status representing fertility.

Making Moses a gift from the Nile.

My husband would say common sense and natural instincts are not learned. You

either have them or you don’t. Well, I believe they are gifts from God and are some of

the ways God speaks to us, if we are willing to listen…

How do you hear God, when you are bombarded with news of Covid 19, when

you hear all the political dissent, or when you hear of rioting? Those are just some of

the big items in our life today. What about finances, loneliness, safety and security.

The list keeps going.

Where do you find God’s voice? In the Bible. In Prayer. Conversations with others. Love.

Listen!  Listen closely!  Listen quietly!  Find God’s voice!

Thanks be to God.  Amen.