Everybody who has a gentle heart will take interest in a baby. The babies of the Bible are especially interesting. Next to the infancy and childhood of Jesus, perhaps no Bible baby interests us so much as the infant Moses in his basket-boat among the bulrushes. Like the Lord Jesus, Moses was born on humble and even dangerous circumstances; but he grew up to be the deliverer of his people!
We will remember that Pharaoh had become alarmed at the rapid growth of the Hebrews, and he had determined to hinder the growth of their numbers. He first tried to weaken them by making them slaves and putting them to hard labor. But the more he afflicted them, the more they grew! So their service was made more rigorous, and their cruel bondage became more bitter; but it was useless, for they still increased marvelously. Then an even more inhumane scheme was ordered: every Hebrew male infant was to be drowned in the Nile River.
It was while this edict was in force that Moses was born. The prospect was not bright for the child’s future. But when God has a purpose and a work for a person’s life, the schemes of tyrants do not matter. Pharaoh was no match for God. It was God Himself Who ordered events in such a way that Pharaoh’s own daughter (who later grew to fame under the name Hatshepsut) unknowingly became the royal protector of the little child who would one day be the liberator of his own people.
Moses’ mother did her best to hide her baby and save his life, but the danger eventually became too great. So she very bravely set to work to weave a little ark, or basket, of bulrushes. She made it waterproof with slime and pitch, and then she put her baby into it and floated it among the reeds by the river’s edge. When she could no longer conceal him herself, she put him entirely out of her own hands, and into the Lord’s. And what did the Lord do? He took charge of the child. How wonderfully He arranged everything! All the promises to Abraham and all the hopes of the nation of Israel depended upon that baby – born in slavery, with the doom of death pronounced upon him; and now outside of his mother’s care, in a little basket-boat.
But Moses was perfectly safe, for God was watching over him. Was it merely an accident that the Egyptian princess came along just at that time? Certainly not! Even though she did not know it, she was actually on an errand of mercy for the Lord Whom she did not even worship. When she opened the basket, the baby was crying; and this cry touched her compassion. Meanwhile, Moses’ older sister had been watching faithfully; and the moment the little basket was brought to the princess, the Hebrew maiden was standing beside her, offering to call a Hebrew woman to care for the child. Naturally, the girl summoned her own mother, who was certainly very happy as she took her own baby again. She did not need to hide him now, for no one would dare to touch him; the princess of Egypt had adopted him, and the protection of the throne was over him.
It was especially important that Moses should be brought up in his earliest days by his own mother. He must be trained with a Hebrew worldview, and with the knowledge of the true God of Israel. If he had been brought up from his infancy in the palace of Egypt, with Egyptian teachers, he never could have become the deliverer of his people. However, God arranged that at the proper time, he would also be instructed in Egyptian learning and Egyptian ways. When the time came for him to deliver his people out of Pharaoh’s hands, he would need great wisdom to take the great multitude of slaves, form them into a nation, train them for self-government, and prepare them for a glorious mission. To be prepared for all this work, Moses was placed in a position to learn the best of the world’s wisdom. But he never became an Egyptian; he always remained a loyal Hebrew. His mother had instructed him so well that the years of Egyptian teaching and influence could not undo her work. Christian parents – especially mothers – may take encouragement from this splendid outcome of the work of Moses’ mother. Let them fill their children’s minds and hearts with the best teachings and influences – training them to love God above all, and to be faithful and true to Him no matter what the cost will be.
But the training of Moses was not yet complete. He was not yet ready for his great work. We do not know how it came into his mind that he was to be the deliverer of his people, but we are suddenly presented with the fact that his heart was burning with the wish to help the oppressed Hebrews. When he killed an Egyptian who was brutally beating a Hebrew slave, he probably expected his people to accept him as their head and rise up against their cruel masters; but neither he nor they were not ready for this. Moses himself had to flee to Midian to escape Pharaoh’s vengeance. There in the wilderness, he entered the third part of his education. For 40 years, God Himself was his Teacher, instructing him in lessons which no one else could teach him.
Lord, help Your oppressed people of our present day to look to You alone for deliverance. Preserve our children in this evil age in which we live, and save them from being drowned in the rivers of sin and impurity which are flowing all around us. Help their parents to fill their hearts and minds with love to You! Amen.
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