“Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the
Nile . . .Then
Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile to
bathe . . . She
saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. She
opened it and saw the baby. . . .
She named him Moses, saying, ‘I drew him out of the water.’”
Exodus 2:1-8 (NIV)
The Egyptian sun beats hot against my head, but I, Jochebed, refuse to go inside the mud-baked hut. I wait for Miriam to return, to see her slender figure on the horizon with news of her infant brother’s fate.
Just a few months ago, I sat outside this hut in the stillness of a sleepless night, my heart in anguished turmoil. In that weary darkness, I had felt my time drawing near as I rested a hand on my bulging belly and felt the ripple of tiny baby kicks beneath my taut skin.
Our master, the Egyptian Pharaoh, despises the descendents of Jacob. Our numbers are too many so he slays our newborn sons. Though I prayed for a daughter, I knew I needed a plan. Just in case. The gripping pains squeezed my belly as I sat under that crescent moon, and before the sun dawned the midwife handed me a swaddled bundle. “A boy,” she whispered.
I held my beloved son close to my heart and prayerfully committed him into the Lord's hands. That was three months ago. This morning, I covered a papyrus basket with tar and pitch, kissed my son's soft cheek, and laid him in the small ark. “Miriam,” I said to my daughter, “take your brother to the Great River. Follow where the current takes him.”
I stood at the doorway and watched until she was only a speck on the distant horizon. And now I sit. And I wait. Tears choke my throat, and in my heart I silently pray for God's providential care over my son.The afternoon sun casts shadows across the land, but still I watch. Finally, I see someone coming toward the hut. I can't take my eyes off the approaching figure and soon I recognize Miriam's gawky running. She shouts something, but I can't make out the words. I run to meet her and we embrace. “The princess,” she gasps. “The princess has him. She needs a nurse and . . .”
Miriam stops to catch her breath while I hold her face between my hands. “Tell me.”
“She wants you.” Miriam's dark eyes shine with wonder. “To nurse the baby. You must come.”
I close my eyes and lift my face upwards in grateful prayer. Hand in hand, laughing together, Miriam and I run to the Egyptian palace.
Don’t you admire Jochebed’s courage and wisdom? And how like our loving God to reward her trust by placing Moses into her nurturing care. Perhaps she even told her son stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph. We may never face a choice that demands so much bravery and trust. But most of us know the heavy burden of difficult circumstances, of weighing options that threaten and frighten us. During such times, we look toward our Savior whose arms are opened wide. “Come to me,” he says, and hand in hand, we face the future.
O, Lord, sometimes my circumstances overwhelm me and I don't know what to do. I fear the future though I know I can trust Your providential care. Help me, Father, to commit my ways to Your leading. Give me wisdom when I face a frightening future.