We have learned some key things from our study of Jochobed regarding her care for Moses.
Today we will consider how and what she did with the opportunity provided to her. Let’s look at the story once again.
Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?” And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the maiden went and called the child’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.” Exodus 2.1-10 NKJV
Wow! Can you imagine? She puts him in hiding until she could do so no longer, then sets him on the river. What was she thinking? How long could that have worked? I doubt if she thought it was perfect, but it was an effort. At least she didn’t give up altogether and let the soldiers take him. It was the best she could do. God did the rest. Let’s remember that. It is significant. We do not have to provide all the protection, all the deliverance, all the care. We build a basket, place him in it, hide it, doing the best we can to shield him from his enemy — He does the rest.
Just look at what He does! God plunders the enemy — pharaoh’s money pays Jochobed’s wages! Not only is she able to continue nursing him and caring for him with the pharaoh’s protection, but she gets paid for it! Not a bad deal — sort of.
There is initially great joy at this beautiful boy’s safekeeping. But cold reality soon sets in. She must nurse him, care for him, then give him up to her enemy. How can she do this? What must she do to prepare him? What must she do to prepare herself?
Jochobed gains my deepest admiration at this point. Oh, she’s been good up ’til now, no doubt. A real winner already. But now it gets really tough — and she proves to be up to the task.
Put yourself in her position. Many women would make this decision: “I will provide physical sustenance, but I will not get emotionally close to this baby. That will hurt too much. After all, I will be giving him over to her in just a few short years. It will be easier for me if I remain detached. I will keep my distance.”
Did you catch those words “it will be easier for me…?” Those words are destroyers, not builders. Those words usher in compromise, not excellence. Those words allow harm instead of protection. Don’t let those words dictate your actions — ever. Jochobed did not. How do I know? Consider the following.
By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. Hebrews 11:23-27 NKJV
As a child, Moses was sent to Pharaoh’s house when he was probably 4-6 years (that was the typical age for weaning a child in that culture.) Yet we see that as a man he was well established in knowledge of who his God was, who his people were, where his allegiance should lie.
How was this accomplished? Jochobed had a limited window of opportunity. And believe it or not, so do we. We must win their hearts, earn their trust, establish their allegiance to God at an early age if possible.
Imagine Jochobed’s choices: either remain emotionally aloof for her own sake or pour everything she had into him for God’s purposes. It seems she chose the latter, not withholding love but investing great care, taking every opportunity afforded her. She prayed over him while she nursed him, stories of God’s great faithfulness were told while she changed him, words of his own destiny as an Israelite were shared while she stirred the stew with him playing at her feet. She knit her heart to his, consequently knitting the heart of her son to her very own God. She wisely stewarded this precious life which God had granted into her keeping for a few short years, regardless of the pain which she would soon know.
She is to me a wonderful hero.
My heart swells with painful emotion just imagining that fateful day when she would escort him to Pharaoh’s courts. Was she silent as they walked? Perhaps. Most everything had been said over and over again in preparation for this eventful day. Now she was considering what words of farewell should be spoken — she wanted to carefully choose those precious words that would forever remain as her parting thoughts to this beautiful son.
At last they arrived. Looking long at Pharaoh’s daughter, she gives a sober nod of acknowledgment. The time has come. She knew it would, had hoped that somehow it wouldn’t. But it has. Turning to him, this boy of hers, she tenderly gives him that final and meaningful embrace, whispering into his ear a few carefully crafted words — one crowning reminder of her love and more importantly, God’s love. She hopes these parting phrases will forever resonate in his being. As she releases him, she smiles bravely at Pharaoh’s daughter, thanking her for the opportunity to serve her. Giving her son one more assuring glance, she turns and leaves him forever. Because of her deep love for him and his needs, she refrains from looking back, hoping to lend her strength to him one last time. Now the tears well up as she courageously walks away. When alone at last, the floodgates of emotion are released. This pain will last a lifetime.
Whew. My heart. Oh, my heart. But her job had been done faithfully. God would use all those words, stories, kisses, embraces. God would faithfully recall every whispered prayer. God would remember the destiny He had planned for this young man who had been saved from his enemy so that such destiny could be fulfilled.
This is the kind of sacrifice every mother must perform, for every child is endowed with great destiny — greater than you or I can imagine. We have been granted the privilege of protecting and nurturing that destiny. It’s also true that every child has an enemy, God’s enemy. We must open our eyes and see the danger. The Word must be studied, ingested, allowed to birth faith so that we don’t respond in fear or selfishness, but with boldness in the face of that enemy.
God Himself will assist us. He will take our efforts and complete His work. But our portion is to see, believe, and respond unselfishly, motivated by love for Him and belief in His great love for them.
This is no small task, but who wants to live for insignificance anyways.
I’ll choose to follow in Jochobed’s footsteps, crying out to God for children who are leaders in the midst of an unGodly generation. I’ll open my eyes to recognize their beauty, their eternal destiny. In bold faith I will endeavor to practice creative means of protection from destruction before their time of maturity has come. I will speak life-filled words into their hearts, invest my love, pray faithfully. In due season I will release them to fulfill God’s continued unique plan. No matter the cost. Regardless of pain. His way is my desire and therein lies my deepest joy.
I can give them nothing better than a knowledge of His love, His plan, His desire.
May all who are called to such endeavor find prosperity. May His Hand of provision and guidance be found. And may your children grow into maturity, serving His purposes for their lives. Amen.