The king’s command was to toss all Hebrew male babies into the Nile. No one was exempt from this decree. While the Israelites would not voluntarily kill their sons by drowning, their Egyptians neighbors would report them and get the job done. So what were the Hebrew women to do except mourn their loss?
But there was one woman who thought outside the box. She not only obeyed Pharaoh’s command but also preserved her son’s life. That woman was Moses’ birth mom, and this is her story.
“Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, ‘This is one of the Hebrews’ children.’”
Moses’ mother obeyed. She cast her child into the Nile. However, she did it in an unusual way. Moses was cast off in a basket, a life-saving basket, made from river reeds and waterproofed with pitch. While he would not have survived long out in the elements without nourishment, he didn’t drown immediately.
I wonder what she was thinking. What inspired Moses’ birth mother to place her three month old son in a basket and send him floating down the Nile? What were her hopes for his survival? Was she hoping that a compassionate Egyptian woman would find him and save him? Whatever her hopes and dreams were, I’m sure she never imagined that Egypt’s princess would find him and adopt him!
Obviously, God was at work in greater ways than any would have thought possible. The fine child that this devoted mother could not bring herself to kill would grow up to be the deliverer of Israel. The waterproof basket that carried this child not only floated down to a compassionate Egyptian woman, but to the daughter of Pharaoh—probably the only woman in the land who could legally adopt him.
There are so many potential “what ifs” in this story. What if a neighbor had seen the newborn son and reported the family to the Egyptian authorities? What if the basket carrying precious cargo had floated down to a military station? What if Moses’ mother hadn’t thought outside of the box, but tried to keep her child instead? What if Pharaoh’s daughter hadn’t noticed the floating basket in the river? What if she hadn’t decided to go down and bathe that day?
There are so many “what ifs” we could add. But the amazing thing is that there are no “what ifs” in God’s story. He was in complete control during the entire event. There was no detail too small for Him to organize or danger too great for Him to overcome. God’s mighty hand of protection was on that basket. He was the one who caused it to float to the right place at the right time and brought the right people to the predestined location. Isn’t He an awesome God?!
What can we learn from this? What nuggets of truth can we apply to our own lives? God is sovereign and can use everything in our lives to accomplish His good purposes. In this narrative, God used a child, seemingly born at the wrong place and time, and a devoted, creative mother to start one of the greatest stories in the Bible. No detail escaped His notice, and no situation was beyond His control.
So what’s going on in your life? How can you see God at work in the situations and circumstances that comprise your life at present? Does the future seem bleak? Are you in need of hope? Know this: God’s got it. If He could rescue Moses from the evil law of Pharaoh and plant him in the house of royalty, He can redeem you. And not only will our great God redeem you—if you’ll let Him—but He’ll also build you up and create a beautiful and amazing story in your life.
Therefore, trust God is everything and let Him write an epic story with your life.
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