Summary: If we're going to rebound from failure, we must appreciate the past, be faithful in the present, and trust God for the future.
Several years ago, Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Bob Patterson described one of his pitches, which the Cincinnati Reds' Barry Larkin hit for a game-winning home run: “It was a cross between a screwball and a change-up. It was a screw-up.” (Wall Street Journal, 7/9/96; Leadership, Vol. 17, no.3; www.Preaching Today.com)
That describes our lives sometimes, but what do we do when we screw-up? What do we do when we fail? What do we do when life doesn’t go as we planned?
Exodus 2:1-10 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. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said. Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” “Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.” (NIV)
Moses grew up a very privileged individual. Certainly, these were difficult days for the Hebrews, but Moses had a birth mother who had a strong faith in God.
Hebrews 11:23 says, “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.” (NIV)
Then, when they could hide him no more, they put him in a basket and placed it in the Nile River. I agree with Warren Wiersbe who said, “It took real faith to put the child in the river, the very place where the young boys were being destroyed!” (Warren Wiersbe, Expository Outlines on the Old Testament)
To be sure, Moses’ mother was not stupid in her faith. She obeyed the letter of the law which demanded that every Hebrew boy be thrown into the Nile River (Exodus 1:22), but she did everything she could do to insure the child’s safety. She lined the basket with tar and pitch so it would float. She put it among the reeds so it wouldn’t be carried away by the current, and she put it in a place where she knew Pharaoh’s daughter would discover it.
You see, not everybody bathed in the Nile River. That’s because the Nile was worshipped as a god itself, considered a sacred river by the Egyptians, so only the very privileged could bathe in the Nile. I’m sure Moses’ mother knew the exact spot where Pharaoh’s daughter came to bathe on a regular basis, so she had her daughter put Moses’ basket right near that spot.
But Moses’ mother had no idea what Pharaoh’s daughter would do with that Hebrew baby boy. She could have thrown the boy in the river as her father had ordered, but instead God touched her heart with the baby’s tears, and she adopted Moses as her own.
Imagine what went through Moses’ mother’s heart when she turned her just weaned child over to Pharaoh’s daughter. Pharaoh’s daughter was a stranger, a foreigner, living in an anti-Semitic home, whose father was pursuing genocide, trying to wipe out the Hebrew race.
Moses’ mother had to feel like Tracinda Foxe when she dropped her one-month old baby, Eric, from a third story window to save him from a fire in their apartment. In December of 2005, Foxe's apartment building in the Bronx caught on fire. With flames quickly engulfing her third floor bedroom, Tracinda leaned out the window with her baby. A group of onlookers had gathered some 30 feet below her open window and watched with growing concern as smoke billowed around the mother and her baby.
Finally, with all other options exhausted, Tracinda let go (video, www.metacafe.com/watch/53834/amazing_baby_catch). The infant tumbled three stories down into the waiting arms of Felix Vazquez, a Housing Authority employee and catcher on a local baseball team. Vazquez, trained as a lifeguard, performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the baby, which saved its life.