Jochebed’s Legacy

What do these examples have in common: a. A conscientious parent sharing custody with an errant spouse, b. An unwed mother giving up her child for adoption, c. A parent sending his child off to war? The illusion of control is comforting to us all, but when we face a situation where it is

obvious we have no control, especially in regard to our children, it can unglue us.

Jochebed, Moses’ mother, must have also experienced that knot of helplessness. She gave birth to a son at a time when every citizen was commanded to toss all baby boys of her race into the Nile. What could she do? Hebrews 11:23 tells us, “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was not an ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.” (See Exodus 1:8-2:10.)

In faith, Jochebed and Amram prayed and committed Moses to God. Then they hid him in a waterproof basket in the very spot where the babies were to be drowned. Next comes God’s amazing irony. The daughter of the very king who has decreed the death of male infants comes to bathe where he is hidden. I wonder what Miriam, baby Moses’ older sister, thought when she heard her brother crying and saw the princess within earshot. Did she hold her breath when the princess asked her maid to retrieve the basket? Was the idea to offer to find a wet nurse a quick response to the princess’ pity, or had God given Miriam and her mother a plan that was unfolding just as they had prayed it would?

God doesn’t give us those details. But the princess pays Jochebed to care for Moses until he is weaned and adopted by her. Put yourself into this mother’s shoes. How would you feel, what would you do, if you knew you had only two, three, maybe four short years before you would be turning your precious baby over to be raised by a family that hated your race and your God? Imagine how intense and focused your prayers, training and love would be during this time. Or would you be so consumed with worry or self-pity that you missed the time you had together?

Perhaps because of these circumstances, Jochebed was focused and intentional in her time with her children in ways others are not. As a result, all three of her children, Moses, Aaron and Miriam, became leaders for Israel (Micah 6:4). Moses prayed, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) Did he learn this from his mother?

What can we learn from Moses’ parents? I believe they understood that their children belonged to God, not to them. They committed their children and their outcome to God. After all, who has a greater capacity to love your child—you or God? Who knows your child better, is with him/her always, is better able to reach your child and wise enough to handle him/her? We might ask, why do we cling to our children when we can release them to God?

Who or what is your Moses? If Jochebed could leave her preschool son to be raised in her enemy’s home, who or what do you need to commit to God? We know how God used Moses, Aaron and Miriam, but Jochebed didn’t live to see it in her lifetime. Possibly her last knowledge on this earth was that her son had fled for his life for murdering an Egyptian. But Moses’ story wasn’t over. Will you trust God with what is precious to you? God writes good stories and we can trust Him.


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