A. Top 10 Things Not To Say While Your Wife is in Labor...
#10. Women are so lucky! I sure wish men could experience the miracle of childbirth.
#9. Do you think the baby will come before Monday Night Football starts?
#8. I hope you’re ready for a picture, the photographer will be here in fifteen minutes.
#7. If you think this hurts, I should tell you about the time I twisted my ankle playing basketball.
#6. That was the kids on the phone, they want to know what you are making for dinner?
#5. Wow, honey, when you lay on your back, you look like a python that swallowed a wild boar.
#4. Honey, you don't need an epidural - Just relax and enjoy the moment.
#3. This whole experience kind of reminds me of an episode from I Love Lucy.
#2. Remember the breathing we learned in childbirth class! It’s HEE HEE HOO HOO. You're not using the right words.
#1. Wow, honey, your stomach still looks like there's another one in there.
- I guess it’s a guy thing!
B. The birth of a child is such an exciting time for everyone.
1. I well remember the birth of our three daughters - what a miracle it is to see a new life come into the world, right before you eyes.
2. This week my second youngest brother, Jim, and his wife, Meredith, had their second child – It’s a boy! Patrick Weslyn Grimsley - 8 lbs. 9 oz, 22 inches long.
3. Praise God for the baby boom we have been having around here lately!
C. Most of the time, when a baby is born it is a time of celebration.
1. Occasionally, babies are born at inopportune times, or under sad circumstances.
2. Moses was certainly that kind of baby.
3. In many respects, Moses was born at the absolutely worst possible time.
4. He was born as a Jew into a land ruled by an anti-Semitic despot.
5. His people, the Hebrews, were suffering horribly under the whip of their slave masters.
D. So baby Moses entered a world of cruelty and pain, slavery and despair.
1. His life began during the darkest days in the history of the Hebrew people to that point.
2. Nevertheless, normal life went on for the Jewish people.
3. Men and women married, they cradled young ones, and they tried to carve out a family life in the crucible of oppression.
I. The Story
A. Here in the early verses of Exodus chapter 2, we read of a marriage celebrated under those stressful conditions.
1. The Bible says: 1 Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 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. (Ex. 2:1-2)
2. Moses became a great man of faith because his father and mother were people of faith.
3. They were Levites, from that special tribe who would be endowed with Israel’s priestly duties.
4. Hebrews 11 tells us: 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. (Heb. 11:23).
5. Moses’ parents feared the God of heaven more than they feared the king of earth.
6. Out of a deep reverence for God, and an abiding confidence in the living Lord, Moses’ parents protected their newborn son.
B. Though the first few verses of Exodus 2 don’t mention it, Moses was not the firstborn in his family.
1. Moses had an older sister named Miriam, who was not yet a teenager, and an older brother named Aaron, who was three years older than he.
2. So Moses’ parents hid their third child for three months because they saw that he was a special child.
3. The Hebrew word that is translated “no ordinary child” in the NIV, can mean several things.
4. It can mean “well-formed” or “beautiful.”
5. Most parents think that when they look at their own newborns.
6. You might see the ugliest baby you have ever seen, but the parents are going to say, “Isn’t he/she the most beautiful baby you have ever seen?” “Well…that’s a baby!”
C. Perhaps Moses was indeed exceptional.
1. Perhaps God had revealed to them in the depths of their hearts that this boy had a very special destiny.
2. Nevertheless, whatever they may have thought about his birth, they knew immediately that grave danger faced their baby.
3. To keep this child alive, his father and mother would have to risk everything.
4. Had they not carefully hidden him, Pharaoh’s troops would have seized the boy and fed him to the crocodiles as the king had commanded.
D. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to conceal baby Moses for three months?
1. You know how much noise a young child can make – the crying and the banging of toys and stuff like that can be very loud.
2. None of our children slept well through the night until they were two years old.
3. I’m sure soldiers walked the streets of the Hebrew neighborhoods at night listening for hidden newborns.
4. Keep in mind that their homes didn’t have insulated walls and double and triple pane glass in their windows.
5. Can you imagine the tension and fear there must have been in that little household while they tried to preserve Moses’ young life?
6. Imagine Moses mother saying, “Keep that baby quiet, Miriam, you have to keep him still or we will lose him! Aaron, you just keep away from the baby. You mustn’t tease him or excite him. Shh! Quiet! I think I hear someone coming down the path.”
E. After three months, the day came when they knew they could no longer conceal him.
1. In that moment of desperation, Jochebed devised a creative plan.
2. The Bible says: 3 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. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. (Ex. 2:3-4)
3. So with great care and tenderness, Jochebed mixed a tar-like substance and covered the sides of the wicker basket, rendering it watertight.
4. We can assume she placed some soft piece of cloth or a blanket into the floating bassinet.
5. And then, with what must have been a breaking heart, she set that little basket among the reeds along the bank of the river.
6. Notice that she didn’t just send the basket out into the current singing, “Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be…”
7. No, she had a plan. She had a hope. She placed the basket right where she wanted it to be.
F. I’m confident Jochebed had identified certain habits of Pharaoh’s daughter.
1. She knew that Pharaoh’s daughter came to the river to bathe in a certain place and at a certain time.
2. She must have reasoned that, if she placed that basket in just the right spot, at just the right time, the princess and her attendants would see it, or at least hear the baby crying, which is precisely what transpired.
3. The Bible says, 5 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. 6 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. (Ex. 2:5-6)
G. At this juncture in the history of Egypt, two daughters of the Pharaoh reigned for a time as co-regents over a section of the Nile.
1. It may be that Jochebed knew that and deliberately placed her precious bundle near one of those co-regents.
2. Jochebed hoped that the princess, who carried a lot of clout, might see the helpless baby and take pity on him.
3. The Egyptians considered the Nile one of their gods, and perhaps the princess would conclude that the river god had delivered the child to her.
4. Through archaeological digs in recent years, researchers have uncovered an ancient religious ritual associated with the god of the Nile. It included a statement of trust that many Egyptians may have repeated that said: “I have afflicted no man. I have not made any man weep. I have not withheld milk from the mouths of sucklings.”
5. Could Pharaoh’s daughter be one who had taken such an oath? It’s certainly possible.
H. When the princess saw the baby, she recognized him as a Hebrew, perhaps belonging to some mother who didn’t have the heart to drown her own child.
1. But now, what was the daughter of Pharaoh to do?
2. She had a baby on her hands, and he was hungry!
3. The Bible tells us what happened next: 7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” (Ex. 2:7)
4. Don’t you know that Jochebed must have rehearsed the whole plan with Miriam time and again.
5. Don’t you know that they must have decided where Miriam would stand, and how she would act, and what she would say.
6. Can’t you hear Jochebed saying, “Make it look like a surprise, Miriam. Make it seem spontaneous. You can do it, honey; I know you can. Don’t be afraid. I’ll be waiting right over here out of sight.”
7. Can’t you picture Jochebed standing behind a tree or perhaps behind some reeds at a distance…standing on tip-toe…wringing her hands…holding her breath?
8. How could she know what the princess will do?
9. What if she obeys her father’s decree and plunges the baby into the water to drown him?
10. There were no guarantees. All Jochebed could do was trust God to give that Egyptian woman a mother’s heart.
I. So how did the princess answer Miriam’s question: “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”
1. Did she say, “No thanks, I’ll send someone to get some baby formula at Wegmans”?
2. The Bible says: 8 “Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. (2:8)
3. Of course, Miriam never mentioned that this Hebrew nurse happened to be the baby’s own mother.
4. The Bible says: 9 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. (Ex. 2:9)
5. Can you imagine how coolly and calmly Jochebed had to play her part?
6. She had to play the part of a respectful but disinterested female slave. She couldn’t show any signs of recognition. She couldn’t let her eyes shine with love for her crying infant.
J. What an amazing God we have!
1. The plan worked better than anyone could have hoped or imagined.
2. Jochebed not only got her child back from the edge of the grave, she now had the official sanction and protection of Pharaoh’s daughter, and on top of that, she got paid to raise her own son!
3. How many other Hebrew slaves had been able to save their sons, let alone get paid to care for them?
4. How wonderful that she had her baby boy back in her arms again!
K. Let’s finish up our story for the day by looking at verse 10: 10 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.” (2:10)
1. We don’t know how long Moses was in the home of his family.
2. Certainly he was there until he was weaned, but perhaps they had him a little longer than that.
3. In God’s grace and in His plan, Moses may have been allowed to remain with his family long enough to firmly establish his Hebrew roots and learn of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
L. But eventually, Moses was removed from his family placed in the palace with Pharaoh’s daughter acting as his mother.
1. How traumatic this must have been for everyone.
2. The boy Moses went from the security of his own loving family to a lonely and unfamiliar place of strangers.
3. He went from slave quarters to a palace - from the simple and familiar to the strange and overwhelming.
4. This wasn’t like moving from one neighborhood to another, but was like moving to a different planet.
M. Those must have been difficult, lonely years for young Moses.
1. No soothing touch from his mother. No comforting word from his father. No smile of sister Miriam or antics of brother Aaron.
2. He became the son of another woman with a completely different set of values. She was not only a stranger, but a foreigner and an idolater.
3. On top of everything, Moses was given a new name which seems to be a mixture of two words. An Egyptian word that means “son” and a Hebrew word that means “to draw out.”
4. The daughter of Pharaoh “drew out her son” and named him Moses.
5. He didn’t bear that name until she gave it to him. I wonder what name his family had called him in his earlier years.
6. But it appears that Moses became an eager student in a whole new school of learning, designed to prepare him for the throne.
N. But Moses wasn’t the only one to suffer – I’m sure his family suffered as well, especially his mother.
1. Try to picture the day when Jochebed walked her son to the palace and said good-bye.
2. For all Jochebed knew, she would never see her little boy again.
3. After all, what reason could she claim for visiting him? She was, after all only his nurse, right?
4. So she cleaned him up, put him in his best tunic, packed a few of his treasures, and marched him down the path toward the palace and allowed another woman to be his mother.
II. The Application
A. There are three lessons I want us to gather from this part of the story of Moses.
B. The first lesson is a lesson in good parenting.
1. There are two principles I want us to consider about good parenting.
2. The first principle has to do with training them when they are young.
a. Moses’ parents knew they wouldn’t have Moses very long.
b. They knew that at some point they would release him to someone else, and so early training was critical.
c. But in many respects, we are all in the same situation – we won’t have our kids forever in our home.
d. At some point they will go to school, or graduate and go off to college, or get their own apartment.
e. The wonderful, comforting promise and principle from Proverbs says: Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
f. We must start young and do our best to lay a good foundation that our children can build on.
g. The thing we need to instill in our kids the most is a love for God and His word – that is something that is caught as much as it is taught.
3. The second principle for good parenting has to do with building arks of protection for our kids.
a. Today, just as in the days of Pharaoh, the devil wants to use ways both sinister and systematic to destroy our children.
b. Satan’s guns are aimed at our young through the medium of books, music, movies, TV, video games, and the internet.
c. All of this is designed to snatch them from our arms and throw them to the crocodiles.
d. We must do what we can to protect and guide our children through the hazards of the world.
e. Perhaps we need to have a meeting or develop a course for parents where we can share our understanding of the dangers out there and how to avoid them.
f. Moses’ parents did what they could to protect Moses from the danger of the Nile by building a waterproof ark for him and we need to do something similar for our kids.
C. The second lesson is a lesson in good planning.
1. We need to realize that there is no conflict between strong faith and good planning. They are not mutually exclusive.
2. The old motto of soldiers during the Revolutionary War applies to many areas of life: “Trust in God, but keep your powder dry.”
3. To walk by faith doesn’t mean that we stop thinking and planning.
4. To trust in God when we need a job doesn’t mean we don’t put out resumes and applications.
5. Acting foolishly or thoughtlessly, expecting God to bail us out isn’t faith, it’s presumption.
6. Jochebed put together a good plan to save Moses’ life, but that doesn’t mean that she wasn’t also trusting in God.
7. We must trust that God will help us develop a good plan, and also help us carry out that plan.
8. Ultimately, the trust shouldn’t be in our plan, but in our God who is helps us develop a plan and carry it out.
D. The third lesson is a lesson in good probleming (I know that is not a word, but let’s pretend it is).
1. What do I mean by “good probleming”? What I mean by that is let’s learn to let God use our problems to bless our lives.
2. Bad probleming is when we let our troubles and hardships destroy us.
3. Good probleming is when we let our troubles and hardships develop us.
4. Moses could have allowed his troubles to make him into a bitter, angry young man.
5. Being displaced from his family could have made him forever a hater of God and of everyone and everything thing.
6. We must cling to the promises of God and His Word when it comes to our suffering.
7. Here’s what God’s Word says about good probleming:
a. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28)
b. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
c. To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:7-10)
8. Recently, I witnessed an amazing transformation from bad probleming to good probleming.
a. Around the first of the year, our dear brother, Rudy, 95 years-old, could see that he no longer could care for himself, and live on his own.
b. So his family moved him to Loretto and he was miserable – he just wanted to die – the bed was awful, the food was awful, and the workers were awful.
c. Then one day, I visited him and he was a different person.
d. He told me he decided it was okay that his house and his things were gone.
e. He said that there were a lot of worse places he could be forced to live out the rest of his life.
f. Now suddenly, his bed was wonderful, the food was wonderful, and the workers were wonderful.
g. What had changed? Not his circumstances – same place, same bed, same food, same people!
h. What had changed was his attitude.
i. That’s what I mean by good probleming.
j. Rudy is now busy having the time of his life there at Loretto.
E. May God help us to learn these important lessons from the story of Moses!
1. May God help us to do good parenting.
2. May God help us to do good planning.
3. May God help us to do good probleming.
Resources: Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication, by Charles Swindoll, Word Publishing, 1999