A mother gives of herself in many ways in support of a family and in raising a child. There is hard work and sacrifice involved, along with instruction and guidance in the process. It is important to note, however, that all of these things need the faith of a mother in God’s provision and protection that leads to a child’s growth and success. Why? There comes a point where the mother has to allow a child to function outside of the home environment, and trust that God will be the author of everything that happens for the child as a young adult into their adulthood.
There is not much that is known about Moses’ mother, Jochebed (Exodus 6:20), except for the note of her participation in Moses’ early childhood as referenced in Exodus 1 and 2. Note the dire circumstances that she faced at the time when Moses was born:
15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16 “When you help the Hebrew women give birth, observe them as they deliver. If the child is a son, kill him, but if it’s a daughter, she may live.” 17 The Hebrew midwives, however, feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live. 18 So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this and let the boys live?”
19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, “The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before a midwife can get to them.”
20 So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied and became very numerous. 21 Since the midwives feared God, He gave them families. 22 Pharaoh then commanded all his people: “You must throw every son born to the Hebrews into the Nile, but let every daughter live.”
Jochebed is referred to in Exodus 2 as the Levite woman who was married and became pregnant with a son. A woman’s pregnancy begins the bonding process with the child about to be born, and when the son arrives, she notes that he is not just any ordinary son, but notes that this son is special.
1 Now a man from the family of Levi married a Levite woman. 2 The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son; when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months.
Knowing full well that if the male child is discovered, Jochebed raised her son in secrecy for three months (a long time!). Her love and devotion for her son was evident in that she did not want to lose him in death; instead, she planned to find a way for him to live, even if it meant that she would not be able to raise him in her family. She wanted her son to have a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
3 But when she could no longer hide him, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with asphalt and pitch. She placed the child in it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. 4 Then his sister stood at a distance in order to see what would happen to him.
This plan was more than the simple abandonment of her child, as some would portray this event. Jochebed had faith that God would provide a way, even if she did not know the outcome, for her son to live. As it turns out, her mighty faith was answered with the compassion of Pharaoh’s daughter, who saw more than just a Hebrew infant son. She risked her own safety in taking on the responsibility of raising the child.
5 Pharaoh’s daughter went down to bathe at the Nile while her servant girls walked along the riverbank. Seeing the basket among the reeds, she sent her slave girl to get it. 6When she opened it, she saw the child—a little boy, crying. She felt sorry for him and said, “This is one of the Hebrew boys.”
7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a woman from the Hebrews to nurse the boy for you?”
8 “Go.” Pharaoh’s daughter told her. So the girl went and called the boy’s mother. 9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse him for me, and I will pay your wages.” So the woman took the boy and nursed him. 10 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.”
The faith of Jochebed had transcended beyond the wishes of Pharaoh to murder every Hebrew son at birth. She now had the opportunity to nurse Moses (note that his name came from Pharaoh’s daughter) and instill within him the knowledge that he was Hebrew and a Levite. She did all of this knowing that she would one day have to surrender the child to Pharaoh’s daughter. Her love for her son had sustained his life through her faith in God, and she knew that God would place him in an environment where he would grow up as an influential person that God would use for his people.
23 By faith Moses, after he was born, was hidden by his parents for three months, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they didn’t fear the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter 25 and chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the short-lived pleasure of sin. 26 For he considered reproach for the sake of the Messiah to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since his attention was on the reward.
20 At this time Moses was born, and he was beautiful before God. He was nursed in his father’s home three months, 21 and when he was left outside, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted and raised him as her own son. 22 So Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was powerful in his speech and actions.
It all started with the love and faith of Jochebed, Moses’ mother. She did what she was able to do in the short time that she had Moses as a child, and turned over the matters that were outside of her influence to God in faith and trusting that He would take care of the rest. A mother who loves her child does whatever she can do to give the child knowledge and wisdom, and there comes the time when God has to do the rest. It takes a faith that moves beyond one’s own ability to understand (Proverbs 3:5-6). It takes a mother’s love for her child, her family, and a love and obedience of God.
On behalf of all of us at Akron Alliance Fellowship Church, we wish you a Happy Mother’s Day!