Summary: The story of salvation as told through the three women who played a part in saving the life of baby Moses.
Tonight’s story looks at the birth of one of the greatest leaders recorded in the Old Testament, and a patriarch in the story of the Jewish and Christian faith. Tonight’s story is that of the birth of Moses
Ironically, Moses is not the main focus of tonight’s story. Rather, the main characters are the three women who were responsible for Moses’ life. These three women who names are not even mentioned in our story,
were ultimately responsible for the salvation of Moses’s life, and the liberation of the Jews from the tyranny and oppression of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
We hear this evening of a woman who commits a courageous and daring act in the face of oppression at its worst, for the sake of the life of her child.
In the 1st chapter of Exodus we discover that the current king of Egypt enslaved the Hebrew people. The king was afraid - there was so many of them and he feared they would take over the country.
So he enslaved them and forced them into hard and oppressive labor. Furthermore, in order to decrease their numbers, he ordered the midwives who delivered their babies to kill every boy child that was born, but the female children were permitted to live. However, the midwifes lied to Pharaoh and let all of the children live. So when that didn’t work, Pharaoh ordered his own people, to throw every Hebrew male child that was born into the Nile River.
It was under these conditions that Moses was born. For three months, his mother managed to hide him. Perhaps she dressed him as a girl, concealed his sex when she cleaned him, or kept him a secret completely. By whatever means, she had been able to hide him for three months, but she could hide him no longer.
The actions of this mother astound me. Can you imagine being pregnant and waiting 9 months to discover the fate of your child. Would it be a boy or a girl?
Last month sometime, I was watching one of those National Geographic type shows that was exploring the life within this remote tribe somewhere in which a medicine man and superstition still played a vital role in tribal life.
When a child was born, certain things must happen, or the child was taken from his or her parents by the elders of the tribe and fed to the crocodiles in a nearby river. This happened to a baby girl of one tribal women because the child’s top teeth came in before her bottom teeth. The mother tried to hide the fact from other members of the tribe until her baby’s bottom teeth could come in, but one day the baby smiled, and one of the other women in the tribe saw the child’s teeth, and reported it to the medicine man.
The elders came and took her baby away. It so devastated this mother, that she now lives in chosen isolation separate from the tribe.
Can you imagine the fear and desperation she must have felt when she discovered her child’s teeth had come in backwards?
Can you imagine how Moses’ mother must have felt when her baby boy was born, and she knew the consequences for him.
Kathleen Norris commented that one thing that amazes her about women is that women are the only beings on this earth who knowingly give birth to creatures they know will one day die.
We give birth to our children, we raise our children, we teach our children, but in the end, each person must choose eternal life or death for themselves.
In our story, Moses’ mother plays the role of creation. In our creation, God gave us life and God saw that we, his creation, were good. In the birth of her son, Moses’ mother saw that he was a fine boy. Death has been determined for her child by Pharaoh, yet she is the giver of life.
Malcom the mathematician in Jurassic Park commented, “Life will find a way.” I would suggest that it is God who has a plan for salvation, rather than life randomly “finding” a way. I would suggest, that it is only because Moses’ mother believed in the promises of God. The promises made to Abraham, his son Issac, and his son Jacob had been passed down from generation to generation. God promised that the Israelites would become a nation of their own. Though their numbers were great, they were not yet independent.
God promised a land of prosperity and wealth, a land of their own.
God promised that these Hebrew people would be his people, and he would be their God.
I believe Moses’ mother had to believe in the fulfillment of those promises in order to do what she did, and I believe those promises are there for us to, and that if we only believe in them ourselves, we too can be empowered to do incredible things in the midst of life filled with turmoil and trouble.