Summary: There are times in each of our lives when it seems God has all but forgotten us. The story of Moses in the bulrushes is a reminder that God does not forget us, but continues to work for us in ways we may not always imagine.
A GREAT STORY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: THE LOVE THAT KEEPS
(Moses in the Bulrushes)
A mother was putting her little four-year-old daughter to bed for the night. The child was afraid of the dark, and the mother, on this particular occasion, with her husband away, was fearful also.
When the light was out, the child caught a glimpse of the moon outside the window. “Mommy,” she asked, “is the moon God’s light?” “Yes,” the mother said.
Then the child asked, “Will God put out his light and go to sleep?” The mother replied, “No, dear, God never goes to sleep.” Then, out of the simplicity of a child’s faith, the little girls said something which gave reassurance even to her mother: “Well, as long as God is awake, there is no sense both of us staying awake.” And off to sleep she went.1
I wonder if the Hebrews had been feeling that God had fallen asleep on them? Did they perhaps feel that the light of God had been switched off? That God had forgotten them?
You see, life was hard for those Hebrews -- very hard! They were beaten and abused by their Egyptian taskmasters, forced to do back breaking work building Pharaoh’s cities and monuments. They were stripped of their honor, humiliated and scorned, exploited and taken advantage of put down and spat upon. They were nothing but beasts of burden as far as the Egyptians were concerned, animals to be used in the production of their labors, And if one of them died under the agony of his burdens, or because of the cruelties of his taskmasters -- it mattered not -- there were plenty more where that one came from.
And yet there was one area in which the Hebrews had abundance -- and that was in having children! In spite of all their hardships, they continued to flourish and multiply -- And Pharaoh was feeling threatened by their numbers. And so, Pharaoh he began the first recorded holocaust in Jewish history. First, he increased their labor, made it more difficult for them, and when that didn’t do any good to slow the growth of the Hebrews, he ordered every boy that was born was to be thrown into the Nile river and drowned.
That was the situation down there in Egypt! How awful it must have been! How terrible beyond comprehension! How much it must have seemed that God had let them down, that God had abandoned them, forgotten them. Are there not times in our lives when it seems that God has forgotten us that life is harder than it ought to be? Oh maybe life isn’t so bad as what the Hebrews had it -- but sometimes it can be bad enough. We know what it is to feel afraid and defeated.
That’s one of the reasons, I am convinced, that this passage of scripture is found in the Bible. It’s not just a history lesson of God’s people. It’s OUR story as well. It’s a story that speaks to us -- because it is a story that embodies the struggles we all experience in life. But not only is it a story of life’s struggles -- it is a story of life’s hope. For just when it seemed the Hebrews could bear up no longer under their burdens, a child is born who is destined to be the deliverer of God’s people.
You see, in the story of Moses, we can see the hand of God working out his loving purposes, watching out for this tiny baby, providing for his personal safety, preparing him for the time of God’s service. When we face our times of difficulty, and think that God has all but forgotten us, we need only turn to this story of Moses in the bulrushes to be reminded that God is still in control, and that there is a love that keeps us.
For one thing, we are reminded that God provides for us in ways we may not at first recognize.
Was it just coincidence, that Pharaoh’s own daughter just happened to come upon the child, and that her heart would go out to the child? Was it just coincidence that Moses’ own mother would be chosen to nurse the child until the child was old enough to be weaned at the age of three or four years of age? Was it just coincidence that by giving the child back to his own mother, that she was able to provide for her child a mother’s love, and a foundation of faith in the God of Israel? And then, later on, was it just coincidence that Moses should be raised in Pharaoh’s house, educated in the ways of Egypt, have access to the very throne of power in Egypt?