- Wednesday, June 29, 2005
On a dusty Goshen street lived a little family that didn’t seem like anyone special. The quiet couple and their two small children blended in with dozens of other families. Years of slavery had scarred their bodies and seared their hearts, just like it had all their neighbors. Yet when this tired mother rocked her toddling son to sleep, she sang him songs of hope. When this weary father tucked in his young daughter, he whispered sweet words of freedom in her ear. Surrounded by the fear of insurmountable obstacles, they somehow clung to a promise spoken generations earlier and passed on to them. They believed the promise of their silent God.
As the birth of their third child approached, Amram and Jochebed must have trembled to think what was ahead. They were Hebrews living in Egypt during the reign of a crazed Pharaoh who ordered all Hebrew boys killed. But the Bible records that “When [Jochebed] saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months” (Exodus 2:2). Hebrews 11 restates and amplifies the story: “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).
Faith overcame fear as Amram and Jochebed plunged themselves into danger on behalf of their infant son. Faith prompted a nondescript set of parents to take bold action, unknowingly preparing a nation for divine deliverance. According to the details of Hebrews 11:23, Amram and Jochebed lived out their rare faith for two reasons: God created the opportunity and they refused to fear.
God Created the Opportunity
Why does God waste the words to say that baby Moses was an extraordinary baby.
When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. (Exodus 2:2)
At that time, Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his father’s house. (Acts 7:20)
By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child. (Hebrews 11:23)
Maybe he fit in the “non-wrinkled” category. Perhaps he had a tangle of dark hair instead of peach fuzz. Baby Moses was probably an agreeable baby with extraordinary good looks.
So what. Amram and Jochebed didn’t risk their lives to save Moses just because he was a gorgeous baby. If he had been born with a face only a mother could love, she would have loved it and longed to save him. If he had been scrawny and screaming, his parents would not have happily tossed him into the Nile. It doesn’t matter what a baby looks like; loving parents don’t discard children based on appearance and temperament.
I am sure that all Hebrew parents in Egypt wanted to save their children. They didn’t willingly sacrifice their children on the altar of Pharaoh’s ego. If it had been possible, they would have saved their sons. However, Pharaoh was not only ruthless; he was effective. He managed to enforce his barbaric law, eliminating a generation of Hebrew boys.
Yet Moses escaped the insanity. He was not only extraordinary for his looks, but he was extraordinary because Pharaoh and his recruits didn’t know he existed. The unwritten circumstances of his birth somehow made it possible for Amram and Jochebed to save him. Perhaps Jochebed’s neighbors hadn’t detected her pregnancy. Maybe Moses came quickly before anyone nearby knew what had happened. Whatever the circumstances, when Jochebed gave birth, she and Amram looked at Moses, looked around, and looked at each other. They knew they had a chance to save the baby. God controlled the circumstances, and they took a sphinx-sized step of faith.
Refusing to Fear
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