Lessons From Moses
How does worshiping together make a difference in the lives of your family members?
Jochebed, Moses’ mother, displayed faithfulness to God through her courageous and sacrificial actions for her child. There comes a time when our kids must make their own way in the world. And while we can’t seal them in a basket and send them down the river, together we learn how we can seal their minds from the deceptions of the world with the truth of God’s Word.
About This Journey
You’ve heard the saying that children are resilient. As a Military parent the only thing constant is change, so you must be more aware of your responsibility to make emotional and spiritual deposits into your family. Follow the stories of six people who were devoted to loving children and played significant roles in their spiritual growth for generations to come.
This Week's Readings
A Place to Hide
Then Pharaoh commanded 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
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.-Hebrews 11:23
Imagine yourself pregnant. A “gender reveal” party is out of the question because your unborn baby may be a boy. You just want a healthy baby, but you pray this baby is not a boy. Why? The government has imposed a system of infanticide based on ethnicity, age, and gender, and you and your family fall into the target group.
Amram and Jochebed, the parents of Moses, found themselves in such a predicament. An ordinary Israelite couple, they did not know the history of a nation rested on the way they would handle this crisis. How do you hide a baby?
Jewish families during World War II faced a similar predicament. The gut-wrenching stories of Hitler’s systematic eradication of Jews left no more than 11 percent of Europe’s pre-war Jewish population of children alive. As the war progressed, many Jews sought to evade Hitler’s henchmen by hiding their children. This difficult decision created major complications for parents. Where would they send the children for safety? How would they pay the often exorbitant fee for protection? More than not, Jewish parents who survived the war and reunited with their children reported severe psychological trauma that prohibited a return to normal family life.
We do not have to go all the way back to World War II to see how the ravages of war still affect the innocent. Crises around our globe cause parents to flee in order to hide their children from the catastrophe of war. We in the United States rarely fathom such fear and loss. Too often, we are the ones who hide from the reality of what is going on in the rest of the world.
I know this is not a feel good devotional thought. I make no apologies. I ask that today, just for a moment, you bow your head and pray for the children who cannot hide from evil. Pray for parents who want safety and peace for their children. Pray for parents who hope and dream for a better future for their children. Then hug your child a little tighter and ask God to make us all change agents in a world longing for peace.
If your children are old enough, consider reading together and discussing The Hiding Place, The Diary of Anne Frank, or The Book Thief. Do some research on agencies that are helping children displaced by war. Involve your children in finding a way to send financial support to one of these agencies.
Lord, I pray for children displaced because of war and violence. Provide shelter, sustenance, and protection. I pray for peace in lands ravaged by war. Show my family and me ways we can be a blessing and an agent of hope. Amen.
A Beautiful Child
Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months.-Exodus 2:1-2
“But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt until there arose over Egypt another king who did not know Joseph. He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that they would not be kept alive. At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house,..."-Acts 7:17-20
If you are a parent, you no doubt remember the first time your eyes fell upon your child. The little scrunched-up wonder was beautiful to you. You knew this was no ordinary child.
I can imagine these same thoughts went through Jochebed’s mind as she looked at Moses. In fact, enjoy this little-known piece of Bible trivia: Did you know Moses is the only baby described as beautiful in the Bible?
My heart goes out to Jochebed as I envision her looking at her newborn boy. Times were tense. A new Pharaoh meant grave danger for her baby boy. Would he even have the opportunity to grow up and exercise his unique gifts, talents, and strengths?
My children share DNA, but they are different in temperament, looks, and abilities. The way my husband and I parent each of them is different. We work toward consistent principles, but their individual needs are different. For instance, during our PCS moves, one child would make friends quickly while the other one needed more time to adjust.
I look at each of my children and ask God to help me see and respect their unique qualities. How does that work its way out in every day living? Author Kenneth Boa suggests the recognition of individuality and dignity of each family member shows up through a positive and encouraging attitude. Boa elaborates:
When people are sarcastic rather than supportive, relationships disintegrate. Since it takes about five positive comments to overcome one negative remark, it is important for parents to be on their children’s teams, not on their backs. They should avoid favoritism and comparisons of one child with another. It is especially important for parents to openly admit their mistakes and ask forgiveness from their children when they embarrass or insult them, break a promise, or mistreat them. In this way, honesty and esteem for each individual become ingrained in the thinking of the children.
Each of our children, created in the image of God, possesses their own unique beauty. Our job as parents is to help that beauty to blossom as they fulfill God’s will for their lives.
For each of your children, create a list of their unique characteristics, strengths, and talents. Use this list as a prayer guide for your children.
Lord, thank you for the unique gifts you placed within my children. Help me to always appreciate their individuality and celebrate their design. You formed them, and you know them. Give me wisdom to guide them in a direction that will allow them to discover and live out your will. Amen.
Moses in the Bulrushes
When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank.-Exodus 2:3
Baby Moses in the bulrushes is a popular children’s Bible story. Never mind that no one can tell you what a bulrush is. The unbelievable part of the story highlights a mom preparing and placing her baby in a little floating basket to leave him on the bank of the Nile River. Who does that? The scene sounds counterintuitive for a mother who loves her child. Today, we would be calling Child Services on Jochebed, ASAP.
Jochebed’s reason for making the little water bassinet was not for cruelty, but for love. At three months old, baby Moses discovered his voice and found that crying would bring food and cooing would bring attention. She could keep him hidden in her home no longer. Her love for this tiny fellow caused her to take drastic action to protect him from destruction. Perhaps no one would hear him cry inside the miniature ark. The sound of the water and the thickness of the covering would muffle any cry. Perhaps she thought she could return to the ark among the bulrushes to nurse him.
I wonder if Jochebed was thinking of Noah and his ark when she constructed the vessel for baby Moses. Did she think about God’s message of salvation to Noah and his household as she painted the inside and outside with pitch, just as Noah did years earlier? Perhaps this little ark would be a life preserver for her child as the huge ark was for Noah.
Scripture lists the word ark three different times: in reference to Noah, Moses, and the Ark of the Covenant in Exodus 25. All references point to salvation that can only come from God. The reference rings true for Jochebed and her child.
There comes a time when I can no longer shield my children within the confines of my home. As much as I want to shelter them, I know at some point they must make their way in the world. I have no bulrushes to weave into an ark, and no pitch to seal the ark tight.
What I do have is the truth of God’s Word to seal their minds from the deceptions of the world. I can brush it on in the morning and evening through family devotions, and apply it with prayer throughout the day, as needed for life’s situations.
What plan do you have for family devotions? If you do not have a plan, consider researching age-appropriate material and develop a family devotion strategy. If you do have a plan, how do you see it making a difference in the lives of your family members?
Lord, thank you for Jochebed’s example of godly parenting. Help me to persevere in preparing my children for life outside our family home. Amen.
A Parent’s Prayer
And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him. Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”-Exodus 2:4-6
One of my prayers as a parent has been that God would consistently intersect the lives of my children with people who would point them toward his will for their lives. I pray for people who can say things to them that they will hear and receive in a way they may not hear and receive from me. God has been faithful to answer this prayer over and over again.
I do not know all of the divine encounters my children have experienced, but I remember one well. My son graduated from high school, and after a year of college we received a call from him with these words, “I feel like I am wasting my time and your money.” Grateful for his honesty, but concerned for his lack of focus, my husband and I began to pray in earnest for God to direct him. For over a year, he did some traveling, and then got a job doing manual labor at barely minimum wage. He worked with an older man who one day looked at him and said, “Son, do you want to be doing what I’m doing when you’re my age?” My son responded, “With all due respect, no sir.” The man said, “Then you need to get yourself back in school and start working toward a future.” Soon after this conversation, my son returned to college and today is a successful middle school principal. I smile when I think of him today. Perhaps he is the answer to another parent’s prayer as he intersects the lives of young people.
My husband’s experience as a military chaplain serving with a basic training unit convinced him that God often uses drill sergeants to get young men and women back on the right track in life. After observing many physical, mental, and spiritual transformations of new recruits, he came to the conclusion that the drill sergeants were the catalysts for change, but the agent of change in a recruit was the Spirit of God moving in response to the prayers of families and churches back home.
I do not know if Jochebed prayed that someone would intersect her son’s life, but it happened. Just as God orchestrated the events of Pharaoh’s daughter bathing in the Nile River to influence the future of Moses, I believe God orchestrated the circumstances surrounding my son’s working with a man who influenced his future. In God’s great irony, the river that meant death and sorrow for Hebrew infants brought life and hope for Moses. In that river, a mother’s prayer and God’s mercy intersected.
Who were some of the people who intersected your life and pointed you to Christ? Consider writing a note of gratitude to them or pray for them asking God to bless them for their investment in your life.
Lord, I pray you would place in my child’s life people who will point him/her to you. I pray your timing in divine appointments throughout the life of my child. I ask a blessing upon those people who take the time to speak life and hope to my child. Amen.
Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. And 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. When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”-Exodus 2:7-10
Perhaps other mothers attempted to hide their children from Pharaoh’s onslaught, but Scripture only gives us insight into the mother of Moses. Her diligent care and dangerous move resulted in great reward. Instead of turning her child over for death, Pharaoh’s daughter rescued Moses and offered Jochebed the job of nursing him. Imagine the stress Jochebed felt during the days she tried to keep Moses quiet in her home. Finally, those days were over! Now she could freely interact with her child.
For seven years, she served as the caretaker of Moses in the house of Pharaoh. No doubt, she told Moses the stories of his Hebrew lineage and trained him in the ways of God. We do not know if she lived to see him deliver the Hebrews from bondage, but we do know her brave action set a divine plan in motion. Moses would grow up to rescue God’s people from their slavery in Egypt.
Jochebed gave her son up to another and then God gave him back to her. Symbolically we do the same when we give our children to the Lord through baptism or dedication. In our military chapel in Germany, young couples would routinely present their babies to the Lord. In addition to receiving a pink or blue Bible and a certificate from the chapel, the Chaplain would take each child into his arms, pray and anoint him/her, and then give the child back to the parents. Through this act, the parents acknowledged their inability to provide for all their child’s needs, and they put him or her into the hands of the only one who could, the Lord God Almighty.
God rewarded the trust and courage of Jochebed. Her actions spared her son from death and allowed her to remain a vital part of his life. The book of Hebrews does not list the parents of Moses by name, but their actions are listed among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11:23, “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.”
Jochebed trusted God with the life of her son and God rewarded her faith. In what ways do you trust God with your child/children? In what ways do you need to grow in trust?
Lord, help me to be a mother who lives by faith. So often, I try to maneuver situations and manipulate outcomes. Teach me how to entrust my child/children to you. Help me know you love and care for them more than I can imagine. Thank you for your great love. Amen.
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