Dear Modern Mama,
Obeying God challenged me to face my fears about raising kids in our situation. Both Levites, my husband Amram and I (Jochebed) lived in Egypt with all the other Israelites. The Egyptians had long forgotten God’s miraculous famine relief administered through our forefather Joseph. A new pharaoh, the reigning Egyptian king, felt threatened by our numbers and forced us into slave labor. I worked the fields with the women, and my dear Amram laid bricks with the men. Hebrew children had to fend for themselves as their parents worked for the Egyptian slavemasters. Amram and I feared bringing children into this world; our people had been slaves for generations. God’s covenant promises of a nation and land of our own seemed impossible. Sometimes I found it difficult to obey God and trust His care for our family.
Into that life of slave labor, I again became pregnant. My two other children, Aaron and Miriam, would soon be old enough to start in the fields. The pharaoh begrudged our people’s strength and population growth. He ordered the midwives to kill the Hebrew boys they delivered, but, thankfully, they refused. Into this scary world, my baby boy was born. My beautiful boy, born healthy and whole! But then the pharaoh ordered the Egyptians to kill newborn Hebrew boys by throwing them into the Nile River. They drowned innocent baby boys! So much sorrow and wailing!
As parents, we all think our children are the best and most special. Of course we do! We have the closest perspective of our kids and see them through the lens of our love and support. We are grateful for these precious gifts from God. I felt the same way about all my children, including my newest baby. God gave Amram and me a plan to save our baby boy. Since the Hebrew women avoided the Nile, we thought the Egyptians would never look there for Hebrew boys. I wove a basket to float my baby on the water, hiding him in the bulrushes along the Nile. While Amram and I worked during the day, Miriam watched her baby brother. I feared seeing them both drowned in the Nile! All I could do was trust God and obey what He had asked us to do.
I remember the day Miriam ran to the field, screaming for me to come to the river. I feared that my baby was dead, but as we ran, Miriam told me that pharaoh’s daughter had discovered our baby and had compassion. Miriam told me that the woman wanted to save him, but I feared that this was a plot to kill all of us. When we got to the river, Miriam’s words proved true. The pharaoh’s daughter wanted to save my Hebrew son! Would you believe she paid me to nurse my own baby?!
After purposefully floating my baby boy on the river of death, that became the site of God’s miracle of redemption when pharaoh’s daughter pulled my son out of the water. Actually, that’s what she named my boy—Moses—which means “drawn out of the water.” (Read about it in Exodus 1 and 2.) After I weaned Moses, I brought him back to the royal household to be raised as pharaoh’s daughter’s own son. Sometimes I feared, questioned, and ached in sorrow over not raising my boy.
Thankfully, God helped me push past my fear to obey Him and to trust that He would take care of Moses. I learned that obeying God is worthwhile, even at the risk of my life and my children’s lives. Not until after my death did I find out what God did through Moses—and all of my children, as recorded in the rest of the Torah. God even called my kids leaders (Micah 6:4)!
To our people in Egypt, it seemed like God had forgotten us in our slavery and sorrow. I focused on saving my baby from drowning, but God had a bigger plan. My Lord God rescued Moses from death and into God’s plan to bring life, redemption, and freedom to all of His people.
May God help you with the incredible children He has entrusted to you. May He teach you to obey Him even when you fear for your family, when you do not understand God’s plan, and when you do not know the outcome.
Sending you encouragement from the river of life,