Summary: A Mother’s Day sermon, reflecting on the struggles and trials of Bible mothers, especially focusing on the story of Moses’ mom.
Hillsborough Reformed Church
May 13, 2007
Bible moms did not have it easy.
Once upon a time, the Hebrews lived in the land of Egypt. They had a good life there and were favored by the Egyptians. An ancestor of theirs, Joseph, had saved the empire when a terrible famine struck. Joseph was able to foresee the coming of this famine, and helped the Egyptians store up food in the good years, so that when the famine struck, Egypt had more than enough food. Not only did the Egyptians eat well because of the planning of Joseph, they had abundant food and could sell it to the desperately hungry people who came to Egypt to buy food. Egypt grew richer and richer.
But as time went by, the Egyptians forgot about Joseph and all he had done for them. The Hebrew people were having many children and the Hebrews were growing stronger and stronger. Articles began appearing in the Cairo Times, forecasting the day when the Hebrews would outnumber the Egyptians. This scared the Egyptians. “What if they turn against us?” they said. “What if one of our enemies makes an alliance with them?
So Pharaoh ordered that all male babies born to the Hebrews should be put to death and the Hebrews were enslaved.
One Hebrew mother, knew the Egyptians were going to come for her baby boy sooner or later. So she did something desperate. She made a basket for him, a tiny basket-like boat. She made it out of the long, strong papyrus reeds that grow on the banks of the Nile River. This young mom coated the basket of reeds with pitch, and set it afloat off the river bank.
The woman’s daughter, an older girl, watched to see what would become of her brother. What a sad and desperate time this was. How hard for a mother to set her baby afloat in the powerful Nile River. What if the basket tipped over and the baby drowned? What if he simply floated there for days on end and die of exposure to the sun and heat? Even more horrible, what if one of the many crocodiles living in Nile and sunning along the bank sniffed out this morsel in a basket and ripped him up and ate him? But the baby boy’s mother had no choice. If she kept him at home, Pharaoh’s soldiers would come for sure and execute her precious baby.
As the baby’s sister watched the little basket bobbing by the river bank, an amazing thing happened….Pharaoh’s own DAUGHTER came along, saw the basket and brought it ashore. Imagine how surprised she was to find a baby in it! Pharaoh’s daughter realized this must be a Hebrew baby. The baby cried and that made Pharaoh’s daughter compassionate. The sister of the baby approached Pharaoh’s daughter and asked if she could help by finding a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby. “Yes!” And the incredible thing is the girl ran to get her mother, and brought her to nurse the baby – thus the baby’s wet nurse, now living in the palace, was the boy’s own mother!
Bible moms did not have an easy time of it.
Remember Hannah. Her husband Elkenah had two wives. One had no problem getting pregnant and gave birth to many children. Hannah could not have children. She would go to the Temple to pray, but nothing happened. Once she was so distraught the priest, Eli, accused her of being drunk!
Remember Mary, mother of Jesus. It had been foretold to her that a sword would pierce her heart. And indeed, she was devastated when her dear son, who was such a good man, was arrested on trumped up charges by people who hated him, beaten and humiliated, and finally crucified like a common criminal.
Bible moms did not have an easy time of it.
I read this past week of a woman in her fifties who lives in an age restricted community. Her husband was a laborer who never made much money, and who was now unable to work at all due to a disabling illness. This woman stilled worked. They had just enough to pay a mortgage on a very modest home in the age restricted community and they would probably be able to make it the rest of their lives on their meager resources. But there was a problem. The problem was their five year old granddaughter. The woman’s daughter was a drug abuser and had deserted her daughter, leaving her to her mother and father, who now cared for their five-year-old granddaughter in their tiny home. But the home is in an age restricted community. No kids allowed – period. So they were being forced to sell by the association. But the market has declined and they cannot get for their house what they owe in the mortgage for it. Too bad. They must move out.