by Carole Sparks
“By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.” – Hebrews 11:23
Jochebed, Moses’s mother, was incredibly confident, creative and courageous!
First, she hid her baby for three months. Babies cry. Sometimes they cry loudly. They get sick. They make messes–some very stinky messes. For ninety days, every time Moses cried and every time she washed his diapers in the river, Jochebed risked discovery and death along with her youngest child. In faith, she knew he was special and that God had an important plan for this little boy. She was willing to take the necessary risks to see that plan fulfilled.
When Moses got too big to hide and his crying became too loud to muffle, Jochebed made a plan. Pharaoh had commanded the Hebrews to throw all the baby boys in the Nile River (Exodus 1:22), so, in her own way, Jochebed obeyed. She gathered all the supplies and surreptitiously made a little “ark” (the same Hebrew word as in Noah’s ark). Into this papyrus and pitch basket she placed her beautiful, precious, healthy, innocent, helpless, beloved baby boy. Then she set it afloat on the river, despite all the crocodiles, the changing currents, and the risk of capsizing.
Considering all the forethought she demonstrated, I don’t think Jochebed simply walked down to the river and deposited her precious cargo at some random point along the shoreline. I think she scouted the terrain first. Surely, she knew where Pharaoh’s daughter liked to bathe. It wouldn’t have been difficult to place him just a little upstream of that spot. She probably also knew that no one in all of Egypt except his own daughter could get away with disobeying Pharaoh’s command.
But Jochebed didn’t stop there. She sent her daughter, Miriam, to complete their subterfuge. Just after the princess pulled the baby from the river, this young Hebrew girl wandered by and offered to find a wet-nurse for the baby. Perhaps Miriam took the initiative, but more likely her mother instructed her to approach the princess. I’m surprised Pharaoh’s daughter wasn’t suspicious, actually.
We know the rest of the story. Moses grew to maturity in the palace and eventually (after some significant mistakes and delays) proved himself to be the special one that Jochebed knew he would be from the beginning.
Imagine just for a second: What if Jochebed had been afraid to defy Pharaoh? What if she let her baby boy die like all the others? If you take out God’s sovereignty, we would be left with a Bible that contains only Genesis!
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. –Nelson Mandela
In those first months of Moses’ life, God supplied Jochebed with everything she needed to act according to His will:
- She had confidence her child was a special part of God’s plan.
- She had the courage to defy Pharaoh even when it could have caused her own death.
- She had the creativity necessary to make and carry out an ingenious plan.
Several hundred years later, God used the prophet Jeremiah to tell His people (who were in exile again), “I know the plans I have for you—plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). We like to stop there and bask in the existence of God’s plan, but the next two verses (29:12-13) describe the people calling on Him, coming to Him, praying, seeking, and finding Him. God’s promises often anticipate an active response from us. Jochebed knew Moses was special, but she didn’t just sit around and wait on God to act. She made a plan. She knew she had an active part to play in the salvation of her people.
Has God revealed a portion of His plan to you? Do you know something about His will based on His character and Word? If so, meet Him on the way. He will supply you with the confidence, courage, and creativity you need to fulfill His will!
Carole is passionate about God’s Word—about how it can change our everyday lives! After years of globetrotting, she now lives, learns, and loves (plus a good bit of writing) in the hills of East Tennessee. Connect with Carole through her website, or her blog.