Moses’ Mom: A Story of Faith and Courage

Peninsula Community Church

May 8, 2016

Moses’ Mom: A Story of Faith and Courage

Exodus 2:1-4 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. And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him.

Today is Mothers Day! What a great day to celebrate all that mothers do and who they are as a person. In preparing for this message I looked at a number of mothers in the Bible but I was especially moved by the story of Moses’ mom. We will see that she was a mother who had great faith and trust in God’s plan for her life and the life of her son. We will also see that her faith was tested and her trust in God was certainly stretched.

The story of Moses is a compelling story of a mother’s love, her trust in God, and her faith in God’s story being written for her and for her son. She trusted and loved God in the midst of some very difficult situations. She did this against all odds. She lived in a time where Pharaoh, the leader of Egypt, had made an edict that all boys born to Hebrew families were to be killed. His motivation was out of fear that the children of Israel were growing so fast that if Egypt were to go to war they might side with the enemies of Egypt.

To understand this we must go back about 350 years or so before the story before us today was written. If you remember, Joseph had been sold into slavery which led his family to move to Egypt. This eventually led the children of Israel into captivity to the Egyptians. For thirty plus years Israel and Egypt had a great relationship. But once Joseph had died and a new Pharaoh was raised to power the cordial relationship soon turned to one that was antagonistic. Listen to what Moses wrote about this. Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens (Exodus 1:8-11).

The more time that past Pharaoh began to put his thumb on them more and more. But the reality is that while they were under the thumb of Pharaoh they were still in the hand of God and God had a greater plan for them. For 300 plus years Israel suffered the suppressive demonic strangulation by the Egyptians. Their plight was so rough they began to cry out for a deliverer. They wanted, they needed a deliverer that could stand against the power of Pharaoh. While things seem bleak, God was at work and He was orchestrating and He was writing Israel’s story.

This is where we pick up our story for today. We find that Moses is born to two loving parents who knew God and served God graciously and magnificently. Little did they know that this little boy would be a great leader. But the odds were against him. With that said let me make a few observations about this story and let me make a few key points that will help us when the world seems to be against us as well.

First of all Moses’ mom was specifically chosen for the task of raising Moses. God purposely placed Moses into her hands. He saw something in her that qualified her for the task. He saw her faith and her trust in God. It is noteworthy that she did not know the story that God was writing. She did not know that he was to be the leader of Israel. She did not know that he would be the deliverer of her people. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine that he would be the one that God was going to use in such powerful ways.

This morning I want you to know something very special. You have been chosen as the mother of your children. God saw something in you that qualified you for this great task. You may not always feel it nor will you always believe it but it is true. You have been called to nurture, protect, and disciple those who have been given to you. You are called to be a mother and your children have been chosen by God to be your children.

Secondly, Moses’ mom chose life over her child being killed. Moses’ mom was definitely pro-life. She could have chosen to take the child and have him killed at birth. This would have been the easy thing to do but she chose life. Rather than follow the law of man she followed the law of God. She knew that He would protect them. She knew that He had a plan. Some of you here today against great odds have chosen life and that is honorable. For some, the events leading up to the birth of your child may not have been the best but you chose life and that is commendable and it is to be honored.

Let me make a side note here. I am aware that some have made the decision to abort a child but God wants you to know that there is grace and forgiveness at the cross. There is hope for you and it begins by forgiving yourself as God has forgiven you. Too often we allow the guilt of a past decision to rule our lives in the present.

Thirdly, in this story her name is omitted. It is interesting that God chose not to reveal her name here. Sometimes we feel that we have lost our identity but God never forgets us because He calls us by name. Let me ask you “Do you ever feel that you are not recognized for what you do as a mom?” “Do you ever feel that you are just a shadow in your home?” “Do you feel under appreciated?” “Do you feel that you have lost your identity as a person?”

I do not know if this ever happened to you but as my kids got older I was no longer Bob Odom but I was Kate and Joshua’s dad. I lost my identity. But let me remind you that though you feel that you have lost your identity, God knows you and God knows you by name. The fact is she had a name and it was Jochebed. The name Jochebed means “Jehovah is glorious.” She lived up to her name as she was one who trusted Jehovah no matter what the circumstances of life might bring or what the leaders of Egypt required. She trusted in God because He was God.

Fourthly, Moses’ mom had a courageous faith. Even under difficult odds she walked in faith. She trusted God. After all the edict to have the new born males killed had been pronounced before she became pregnant with Moses. When Moses was born rather than have him killed she hid him until he was over three months old. Can you imagine the fear and the stress she experienced every day? I am sure that she would worry everyday that the door of her home would be opened and in would walk the Egyptian police to arrest her and to kill her son. Even with her fear she still trusted God. Her faith in God was stronger than the fear of the edict that had been made.

Finally, she put her faith into action. This is most vividly seen in the steps that she took. After hiding Moses for three months, she took a basket and place insulation around it so it would be protected from the water and from the effects of the river. She placed Moses into the basket and then she walked to the Nile were she placed the basket in the bulrushes. I am sure that she had tears flowing down her face as she pushed the little ark into the water.

This was an amazing step of faith in that the river itself was a source of death. There were crocodiles and other animals in or near the water that could easily destroy him. Even today National Geographic has reported that 200 plus people are killed every year in the Nile by crocodiles alone. Not only did she worry about the crocodiles but this was also a place where the women of Egypt would come to bathe. This in itself was a threat to Moses because if the wrong person came to the water’s edge she could have had Moses killed.

It is noteworthy that the word used here for the basket is in essence the same word used for Noah’s ark. It was a place of safety and protection. When she pushed the ark into the water I believe that her faith was revealed more in what she did not do than in what she did. Notice something in this story. When she approached the water she placed the basket into the water and pushed it into the river. As I have read this story one thing stands out to me. No where in the story do I see that she tied a rope to the basket. She released the ark with her son inside to God.

This leads me to the final point I would like to make. When we walk in God’s faith and love there is a time where we have to let go and let God control the outcome of our children’s lives. She did not tie a rope to the basket because she trusted God to protect him and keep him safe. Here is the issue for us, too often as our kids grow we want to hold onto the them and try to control the outcome of their life. But as we all know there is a point that we have to push the ark into the water and let go. In letting go, we are saying that we trust God fully and completely. This does not mean that we don’t worry. Even Jochebed worried and was concerned. We see that she had her daughter stand by the river to watch over Moses. But, nonetheless she released Moses into God’s hand.

The problem too often is that we have a snapshot of our children at a certain age and that picture is them as little children. We struggle to let go because we still envision them as kids who need our guidance and our decision making prowess. In this process sometimes we try to control only what God can control. I love what Michelle says, “Control is an allusion.” And yet we live our life being controlled and trying to control others. Our faith in God is measured best when we let go of things that we cannot control anyway.

We need to know that our children will make mistakes. Too often their mistakes come as they test the boundaries that we have set for them all of their life. They test the waters because they want to make the truths they were raised with their truths. Sometimes we will find that our kids will try to do the right thing but they will do it the wrong way. They will fail but that does not mean that we are failures as parents. That is a lie from the enemy.

Finally and this is most important. God loves your children more than you ever will. This is where trust comes in. We must surrender our children to the God who loves them more than we ever could. That is what Jochebed did. She trusted God. She loved God and she loved Moses. But she had resigned in her heart that God loved Moses more than she ever could. That is why she could push the ark into the water and let go. That is faith. That is courage.

How about you this morning? Do you have enough faith to let go? Do you have enough trust in God to give your children to God? It is not easy but it is right. We can still pray for them. We can still intercede on their behalf but we still need to let go.

For an audio of this message go to

Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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