August 23 2020
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
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
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.