Lessons from Moses - Baby in Basket

Scripture: Exodus 1:1-22, Exodus 2:1-10, Hebrews 11:23
Date: 01/11/1997 
Moses was one of the greatest heros in the Bible and is still alive in Heaven today. Every person on earth has been affected in some way by the life of Moses.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Good morning! I’d like to wish everybody a happy Sabbath. It’s already been a blessing to be in God’s house today. For the next few weeks I’m going to talk about one of the greatest heroes, if not the greatest hero, of Scripture, and that’s Moses. This series on lessons from the life and experience of Moses will be different from others we’ve done. We’ve talked about lessons from Samson, Jonah, Esther, Ruth, and a variety of Bible heroes. I’m looking forward to when we can get to David and Joseph. But Moses is different in that most of the heroes that we discuss have gone to their dusty graves and are still resting there. Moses is alive now, and he’s appeared at least once since he was resurrected. He could tune in if he wants on what I have to say, so I have to be very careful what I say. You may correct me later. There is not a person alive on the globe that has not been affected in some degree by Moses. The whole history, the whole course of the world has been altered because of this life. So I think we’re going to be edified as we look at the life of Moses.

When we talk about David or Joseph or Ruth or Samuel or Jonah, you know it’s my habit to draw parallels from the Old Testament heroes and apply them to Jesus and His life. I think that’s the way to study the Old Testament, to look at, “What is this teaching me about Christ?” Do you remember what Christ said when He rose from the dead? Luke chapter 24, “He expounded to” the disciples all the things in “the Scriptures … concerning Himself.”

We’ve drawn parallels between these Bible heroes and Jesus, and in some cases we’ve done it by permission. But when we study the story of Moses, we’re doing it by commandment. We just read where God said there in Deuteronomy chapter 18 [KJV], God said through Moses to the people, “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet,” a great Prophet, “like unto me.” He says it twice. Evidently, every Jewish scholar and scribe was looking through history, wondering, “When is this Prophet, who would be mighty like Moses, going to come?” A great Prophet like Moses. After Elijah came, they said, “No, that’s not him.” Even Elijah didn’t measure up to Moses. It wasn’t Jeremiah. It wasn’t Isaiah. It wasn’t Elisha. The reason I know this is when you get to the New Testament, they’re still looking for “that prophet.”

You read in your Bibles, the Gospel of John chapter 1 [verse 21, KJV], when John the Baptist started preaching, the scribes and Pharisees came to him, and they said, Are you that Prophet? “What then? Art thou Elias [Elijah]? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.” They were still looking for “that prophet” that Moses had prophesied would come, who would be like him.

The Gospel of John 6:14, “Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, ‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world,’” a Prophet like Moses. Well, they were right. Jesus was that Prophet.

Then again you get to Acts 3:22, 23, “For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’” Moses was the greatest prophet in the Old Testament. The Bible also tells us he was the meekest man in all the earth.

Now we’re going to go to the story of Moses. It begins with the book of Exodus. Turn with me to Exodus chapter 1. Some of you are looking at your watches and going, “Doug is now going to go through the story of Moses, and it’s five minutes to 12:00 and we’re in Exodus 1.” Don’t worry. We’re not going to do it all toady.

The first word in the book of Exodus is, “Now these are the names…” The very fact that the book starts with “now” tells you it’s a continuation of Genesis. The last thing that happens in Genesis, the sons of Jacob are comfortable rooted in the land of Goshen, and Israel. They’re being well taken care of, and it begins to go through the genealogy.

Of course, Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. As a matter of fact, one reason that we’re thankful that Moses did spend time in the courts of Egypt, in Egypt the Pharaoh had all his utterances and all his experiences of the day chronicled. Moses, spending 40 years there in Egypt, learned the importance of making a chronicle of the experiences. Moses is the one who gives us the experience all the way up to the time of Joshua—the Bible, the Creation, all that comes from Moses. That’s one of the reasons he’s the greatest of the Old Testament prophets.

“Now these are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt; each man and his household came with Jacob,” and it lists the 12 sons: “Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. All those who were descendants of Jacob were seventy persons (for Joseph was in Egypt,” and his sons Manasseh and Ephraim, “already). And Joseph died,” 110 years of age, and his brothers all died, “that generation. But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.”

Do not miss the great emphasis that Moses is putting on their mighty multiplication. First of all, you notice things happen very slowly with Abraham. He and Sarah had one boy. Then that son had one set of twins. But then finally Jacob became prolific, and he had 12, and it appeared that the rest of the children of Israel took after Israel himself, and they were very fruitful. Now, Jacob not only had his 12 sons, he had Dinah, a daughter.

I did a little math. The Bible tells us they were several hundred years in Egypt. If those 70 people averaged five to a family, 30 or 40 years to a generation… Now, in the Batchelor family it’s about 20 years to a generation. My father is 76, and he’s a great-great grandfather. My grandma is 81, and she’s a great-great grandma. So that’s because we’re part Jewish also. It’s in the family, you know—multiplication. But, the point being, even by conservative standards, if you say 30 years to a generation, and you go 240 years, you have about <__________five billion people.__________> Figure it out.

Keep in mind, that doesn’t mean they only married within their clan, because you look at the history of Jacob and his sons—they took wives from other countries around them. If they only married family members, then pretty soon you weaken the genes, and I expect that they intermarried a little bit with the nations around them because that’s what happened with Jacob’s sons. It could have been up to <__________five million people.__________>

We don’t know the exact number of the children of Israel during the time of the Exodus and the birth of Moses, but he says they multiplied mightily. They numbered at least in the millions because by the time they crossed the Red Sea, the Bible says they were up to 900,000 fighting men. That had to be about 20 to 50 years of age. Then you figure out that the children and the women and the elders, there were approximately 3.5 million Israelites. That’s a conservative estimate. I want you to have that in mind because now you’ll understand why the Egyptians were threatened. They knew if present trends continued, with this prolific people that lived there in Goshen, they would soon rule the land. They needed to do something before they completely overwhelmed them to subside things. That’s the reason things took the turn they did.

Verse 8, “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” What’s meant by that is not that he was not aware of the way Joseph intervened to save the land of Egypt; he would not acknowledge that Joseph was a benefactor of the nation. He refused to think about this Hebrew. The Hebrews, the Israelites, were living tax-free in the land of Goshen, something that had been grandfathered down because of Joseph, and they said, “Enough of this!” He did not recognize Joseph.

“And he said to his people, ‘Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come, let us deal [wisely, KJV] with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.’” They wanted to keep them; they didn’t exterminate them. They wanted to keep them there because the Israelites were a very bright, capable, industrious, intelligent, talented people.

I don’t mean to be biased, but it is a fact of history, wherever the Jews have gone, through time, they’ve blessed the place they’ve been. When Jewish people came to North America at the conclusion of World War II, sometimes they landed with nothing more than a few belongings in one satchel, they’d go start a tailor shop, and a few years later, they have a garment industry and they’re millionaires. My grandparents are a simple example of that. My grandmother opened a dress shop when she retired, about 60 years of age, in Desert Hot Springs, called “Lil’s Duds.” She did very well, sold it, and bought a bigger store, “Lil’s Duds,” and did very well. She sold it and expanded there and got a bigger store. By the time they retired, they were taking trips around the world and financially secure, and now they live in Las Vegas. My grandfather’s happy as a clam. So my grandmother had that touch. Very talented people.

Do you know where the best diamonds in the world come from? From Israel. They used to come from Europe, but when the Jews were persecuted during the Nazi occupation there, they all fled to Palestine, and now the best diamonds in the world come from Israel.

The greatest bankers in the world—. I used to live in a place called Ghetto. Do you know where the word ghetto comes from? It’s an Italian word. It was a city where the Jews were confined in Italy. They had to stay within their walls. The name of the city was Ghetto, and all the Jews lived in that city, and whenever you have a concentration of one ethnic group, they now call it a ghetto. It comes from this very real city called Ghetto in Italy where the Italians said, “We need the Jews here because they’re the best financiers in the empire. But we don’t want them to be mingling too much,” so they had to keep them in their place. But they were very talented people.

The Egyptians said, “We want to keep them. We don’t want to destroy them. We want to keep them here, but we don’t want them to take over.” So they came up with a plan.

Verse 10, “‘…let us deal [wisely, KJV] with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies….’” Verse 11, “Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens.” In other words, instead of working for capital gain now, they were working as slaves. “And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel.”

Take your pencil. If you underline in your Bible, underline that verse. “…the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.” I don’t want you to forget that. First of all, if you underline it, you’re more inclined to read it; you’ll find it again later.

That’s been a law for the Christian church that’s ended up being a blessing. Do you know when the church has grown the most? During times of affliction. During the Dark Ages, when they tried to exterminate the Christians, is when they did the greatest growing. When the Romans were throwing Christians to the lions and enslaving them and exterminating them, is when they grew the most. Trying to get rid of God’s people by afflicting them is like trying to get dandelions out of your yard by blowing the seeds off. All it does is spread it. That’s the way it is with God’s people.

As a matter of fact, I think we might be ready to pray for a little affliction in our country so that we can have more primitive godliness. The Bible tells us all that live godly will suffer persecution. I think the reason we do not see more persecution in our country is because we’re not threatening the devil with more godly living. Amen? When we start living the way the Lord wants us to live, the devil will probably rekindle the fires of persecution.

“…the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel. So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor [harshness]. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.” When they carried a load, they’d stack extra bricks on their load. When they were walking from point A to point B, they’d crack the whip and make them jog. Everything they did, they made it hard. They afflicted them. They hoped that this would make them stop multiplying. But it didn’t work.

The Bible says, “Then the king of Egypt” went to another plan. He “spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah.” I want to tell you what those names mean. I looked them up. What is a woman, first of all, a symbol of? A woman is a symbol of a church, biblically, in these Bible analogies that we study. And here you have women that are midwives. What does a midwife do? It enables birth. It facilitates birth. Now, most ladies will have their baby just fine without a midwife. There’s very little you can do to stop it, as a matter of fact. But it sure is a lot easier with some help. You know, that’s part of the work of the church, is to enable other women to grow. And here are these women that are in the business of helping others multiply. Our church ought to be multiplying, too. Amen? Their names—Shiphrah means “beauty”; Puah means “utterance.” Their two names together mean “beautiful utterance.” What do you think you ought to find within the church? What is the Word of God? It’s a beautiful utterance. That was free. I just shared that with you.

He gave them instructions, “and he said, ‘When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools…” Something else I looked up that I thought was interesting—that word birthstools—you picture in your mind some—in our day, we have a birthing table with the stirrups for giving birth. I looked up that word birthstools, and it’s also translated in the book of Jeremiah “potter’s wheel.” Now, you figure out what that means. I have no idea, but it sounds like it would hurt, to me. But in any event, they had this place where they would sit and enable the women—maybe a potter’s wheel—I don’t know, and they would help facilitate the birthing process.

It says, “‘When you … see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.’” Here they have a government command, a law from the king, to kill the male children, and it would have been a very easy thing to do and make it look like an accident. A midwife knows all she has to do is pinch the umbilical cord, and those babies are so delicate and it’s such a traumatic process, that it would be very easy to suffocate a child without the mother ever knowing it, and they had received very clear instructions to kill these baby boys, from the king.

Something else you can underline. Verse 17, “But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive.” They had to make a choice to obey the law of the king, which said, “Kill the baby boys,” or the law of God that says, “Thou shalt not murder.” And they feared God more than man. I think our church is going to be faced with the same thing.

As a matter of fact, in a very practical respect, we’re living in a time where, again, we have government permission to kill babies, don’t we? I realize even in this church that might not be received 100 percent, but I believe it’s biblical, that human life is sacred. Someone say amen. Am I all alone in this? I think it’s a shameful thing that the government sponsors exterminating babies. I believe that they are human life even before they’re born. You read in the Bible, and it tells us that even Baby John leaped in the womb of his mother at the acknowledgement, the tidings, of Mary to Elizabeth. It wasn’t “fetal tissue.” They try to make it sound like it’s just a tumor, it doesn’t really matter, it’s not important. It’s sacred! It’s human life. And our government condones that, and I’m glad there are some who do not go along with that admonition.

Not only does it say that there in Exodus, you read Hebrews 11:23, “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's command.” The reason I keep emphasizing that Moses’ mother and the midwives would not go along with the government law is because you must be settled in your mind to obey the law of God rather than the law of the government when they conflict. I believe Christians should be the most law-abiding citizens in the community. Amen? We should be the most cooperative.

I just got something in the mail. It really made me happy. The DMV sent me a letter, and they said, “Because you have a good driving record, you don’t even need to take the test. Just go down and let them take your picture.” I’m so thankful that I haven’t gotten a ticket. That doesn’t mean I’ve been always obeying the law, but I’m so thankful that I don’t have to take that test, because I looked at my son’s test when he took it, and it stumped me. But there are benefits when you obey the laws of the land, and I think Christians should be law-abiding unless the law of the land conflicts with the law of God. Will we be faced with that quandary in the future? Is a time coming when we may again have to choose between fearing the commandment of the king or what the law says, fearing God like the midwives, rather than the law of God? I believe so.

What was the result? “…the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, ‘Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive?’

“And the midwives said to Pharaoh” (you can underline this, too), “‘Because the Hebrew women [the women of God] are not like the Egyptian women; for they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them.’”

Now, I think that they were probably mixing a little truth with exaggeration. I don’t think they were completely unemployed. But I think it is true that the women who were exercising out there in the fields were livelier than the Egyptian women, who were living in the lap of luxury in the palace. They find that American women that have sedentary positions, even with our affluence and all the good nutrition that we have, have more birth problems (I’m talking on a literal level now) than women in third world countries who get regular exercise. One of the most important things a person can do to ensure having a healthy baby is not only eat well but exercise. When Karen went into labor with Stephen, she was at the club on the treadmill, and she didn’t have any problems, except he was a big baby. How long was it with Nathan? An hour and a half labor. Praise the Lord! That’s just wonderful! It pays to exercise.

But also in a spiritual sense, the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, are they? They’re lively. The word lively means “full of life.” Are there different kinds of women in the world—different kinds of churches? The Bible talks about a battle between different kinds of women. Here you have two midwife women. You have two different kinds of women, the Hebrew women and the Egyptian women. Then you go to Solomon and you have two women fighting over a baby. You have the two wives of Elkanah, Hannah and Peninnah, fighting over the attention of their husband. You have Leah and Rachel fighting over the attention of their husband. You get to Revelation and you have two women. One is Babylon, a false woman; one is a Hebrew woman, God’s church. One was lively, and one was not. One is fleeing; one is sitting on a beast, sedentary. These things just come to me as I stand before you. I don’t even know what to make of all that.

Because they did not fear the Pharaoh, the Bible says (verse 20), “Therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty.” Everything he does to try and stop their growth isn’t working. It keeps on spreading. “And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them.” I think because we are emphasizing the Word of God, the Lord is providing a household for us here at Central, amen? We give God all the glory for the growth we experience here. It’s very simple: Preach the Word. People want the Word. There’s a famine in the land, and if you’re opening your Bibles—and I hope you have personal devotions in your life this new year. If we’re reading our Bibles, we’re going to grow closer to God and closer to each other. Amen? He’ll provide households for us.

“So Pharaoh,” finally, when he realized he could not depend upon the Jewish midwives—obviously they were going to be slanted, he “commanded all his people, saying, ‘Every son who is born,’” if you find a Hebrew woman and she’s pregnant, you find out what she has. If she has a male baby, I want you to wrench that child out of her arms and throw it to the crocodiles in the river. This is a terrible time. Every daughter, you can spare them. Kill all the baby male children. It would have seemed to me to be more practical, for slaves, to throw the girls in the river. Nothing personal, but the men could carry more bricks than the women. Someone’s going to come up to me later and argue with that point, too, probably.

But do you know why this was happening? God had promised to Adam at the very inception of sin that He, God the Son, would take on the form of a man, He would come to earth in the form of a man, which means He would be born as a baby, and every Jewish mother was hoping that her child would be the great Savior of the world. The prophecies that had come through time indicated that it would be during the time of affliction that God would raise up a great Deliverer. The devil knew that time was drawing near, and I think Satan was afraid that Christ was about to make His advent, that God would be incarnate, and he was trying to prevent that from happening. So, once again, the devil inspired the government that he was manipulating to kill the baby boys to prevent the coming of God as a child, and if not prevent it, to kill Him when He was weak and vulnerable.

Do you find that happening in the New Testament also? Remember, you’re going to see over and over again, through our study on Moses, that Moses is a type of Christ. The Bible tells us that there was a law—the king sent the Roman soldiers through Bethlehem to kill all the baby boys. The interesting thing was Jesus went to Egypt to be saved from the wrath of the king. Moses went further into Egypt, into the palace, to be saved from the king’s commandment. Both were spared by going towards Egypt.

During this time when finally the third edict—do you notice the law comes in degrees? First afflict them, then the midwives, then a death penalty given to the people. “You take this on yourself.” Friends, what you see happening to God’s people here is going to happen again in the last days. The devil is going to try to stop God’s work and stop God’s people from multiplying (do you hear that?) I think it’s going to happen soon because our church is multiplying. And he’s going to do it with increasing intensity of law. First, you can’t buy or sell. Try and discourage people from joining the true church. Ultimately there is going to be a death decree. It will finally get to the place where we are going to be so odious to the rest of the world that they are going to take up arms to take it upon themselves. The citizens are going to arm themselves to exterminate God’s people. It will get to that point at the very end.

During the time of the lesser laws, a Hebrew couple from the tribe of Levi by the name of Amram (that was the man) and Jochebed (that was the woman)—I tell you that because in Hebrew, if I don’t tell, you can’t really tell the difference between the names. In the Bible you can have a girl named Michal, and later you find a boy named Michael, and sometimes it’s confusing. Amram and Jochebed, both from the tribe of Levi, had already given birth to a little girl by the name of Miriam. Then three years later they had a little boy, and they named him Aaron. Then three years after that the king makes a law that all of the Egyptians are to snatch any Hebrew woman’s baby boy and throw it to the crocodiles, and they give birth to their third baby.

She hid her pregnancy as well as she could. Maybe she wore loose clothing. Maybe she tried to work where taskmasters wouldn’t notice her. But finally, when the time for the baby came, they went to some secluded spot, they tried to muffle his cries when he was born. We do not know what they named him. I suppose they had a Hebrew name. I want to read it to you. Chapter 2 verse 1, “And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son.” This is the third child. “And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months.”

Now, friends, I know when you read this, it almost makes you think if Moses wasn’t a pretty baby he would have gotten thrown to the crocodiles. It almost seems like she takes him and goes, “What do you want? Do you want to keep this one? He looks pretty good. Let’s see if we can hide him.” That’s not what it means. I think what it means is they looked with loving, longing eyes at the baby. I’ve never yet met a mother who thought her baby was ugly. I’ve had to question how honest I was at times. It’s really hard on a pastor when one of the members of the church are all glowing and they bring up their baby and they hold him and they want you to comment. Most of the time, praise the Lord, you can say, “That’s a pretty baby.” Sometimes you have to say, “What a baby!” But you have to say something!

They looked at him, and he was a beautiful baby. I love all of my children. But I tell you, the last one’s a keeper. Don’t you think so? Or is it just a father’s love? Every time I look at him and he smiles, I just melt and I want to give him something. I don’t know; I just want to give him something because he makes me so happy.

They loved their baby. He was a beautiful baby. And they decided not to fear the king’s commandment. But they tried to conceal his cries, and I know that little Aaron, 3 years old, and Miriam, 6 years old, were working with Mom and Dad to do everything they could to conceal they had a new baby boy in the house. But when he got to be 3 months old and he started to assert himself and cry—when they’re really little like that they pretty much eat and sleep. They cry, you feed them, and they quiet down right away. But it got to be a little harder, and they knew that eventually the Egyptian guards, the taskmasters, would find the baby, rip it from her arms, throw it in the river to the crocodiles, and the mother had to make a very painful decision.

“…when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes….” She went to the river and got some reeds, and she made a basket. And she “daubed it with asphalt and pitch.” She used pitch, which is like the sap from a tree, and asphalt, which is tar.

I want to stop right here and tell you something. Just in case you think the Bible can’t be trusted, you know one reason that they are pumping oil out of the ground in Egypt today is because a man, and I want to read the name to you just so that you’ll know that I didn’t make these things up. The man’s name was called Charles Whitshott, a geologist. He worked for the Standard Oil Company. An executive in the Standard Oil Company was reading Exodus. He read the translation for the word slime was tar. He said, wherever there’s tar, there’s oil. He sent that geologist to Egypt, they began drilling, they discovered oil, and the Standard Oil Company, of course, (that’s Chevron Union) is a very wealthy company because they read and believed the Bible. Up to that time they didn’t know that there was oil in Egypt. Can you believe the Bible? Absolutely.

Evidently there was tar somewhere in Goshen, or somewhere around there, and she lined that basket. Now, I want to ask you. You’re making a basket for your baby. She technically is obeying the command of putting the baby in the river, isn’t she? Daniel went to the lion’s den, but he lived through it, didn’t he? Just like Jesus went to the tomb and He lived through it. How careful do you think that mother was when she made that basket? How carefully do you think she plugged every little hole and every fiber, knowing that it would not leak? Then she needed to make a lid to make sure that the baby would not tumble out. She needed to make sure that the sun would not scorch him. She didn’t know how long he’d be in the river. She did not know if he’d be found by a sympathizing stranger or a crocodile that would topple the basket first. You know that her heart was aching and yearning as she was making that basket because her child’s life depended on that basket being made well.

I want to take you beyond that. The world pivots on little things. You’ve probably heard Benjamin Franklin say, “For lack of a nail, the horse lost the shoe. For lack of the shoe, the horse lost his balance. For lack of his balance, the horse lost his rider. For lack of the rider, the battle was lost—all for the lack of a nail.” Because that mother made that basket carefully, all the governments of the world build their laws on the law that God gave to Moses. I don’t want to rush past what I think is the most important part of this story today. The history of the world was in the hands of a woman weaving a basket. The law of God, the oracles of truth that were committed to man, originally came through Moses; our understanding our origins came through Moses; and Moses came through a basket that went through the fingers of a mother’s love.

Now, she was making a basket that was going to protect her baby. Do you know every mother makes a basket for her baby? What kind of basket are you making for your children? Is it watertight or is it going to sink? When the boats go by and make a little ripple in the river, is it going to topple over? Not only the parents among us, but we as a church have children in our midst, don’t we? We’re making a basket for our children, to protect and to preserve their lives. What kind of basket are we making? Are we being careful to stop all the leaks that it won’t soak and sink?

She “daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it….” I don’t want to rush past this. I want you to see Jochebed, when she knows the basket is done; I want you to see the moment when she embraces that little baby. She puts him to sleep; she makes sure that he’s clean, he’s changed, he’s anointed; she embraces him; she wants him to last as long as he can. She hugs him and she cries, and without waking him, she gently lays him on a cushion there, some soft cloth in the basket, and covers the lid. I want you to see her doing that. I want you to know how hard it was for her to do that and to commit that child to God. All she could do was pray. She knew that a great deliverer was going to come. She knew that God had promised through Joseph they would not always be in Egypt. She could not bear the thought of losing that child and then finding out deliverance comes.

The Bible tells a very sad story. There was famine in the days of Israel when Israel was surrounded by Samaria, and things were so bad that they were eating anything and everything, shoe leather, they were eating donkey heads, they were eating each other, dove droppings—I know it’s pretty graphic. The Bible says that a woman accosted the king, and she said, “King, I want you to plead my case. I talked to a friend of mine, and we made an agreement. I said, ‘We will cook and eat my son today’”—I know this is shocking, friends, but there is a point. “‘We’ll cook and eat my son today, and we’ll cook and eat your son tomorrow.’” And she said, “We killed my son and ate him yesterday, and now she took her son and hid him.” And the king, when he heard that, tore his clothes, and he was shocked at how terrible things had become. The saddest part of the story, the next day there was an abundance of food in Israel. How do you think that mother felt to know that she had eaten her child, and if she had waited two days—?

Jochebed knew that deliverance was coming, but she had to do something. So she put this little baby (we don’t know what his name was) in a basket and set him by the river, and she committed her child to God. That, friends, I think is a lesson in good parenting. You do everything you can, you take them as far as you can, you make a good basket and you plug all the holes, you nourish them, and then you give them to God. Amen?

The Bible tells us she put him “in the reeds by the river's bank,” where he wouldn’t float away. “And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.” Little Miriam, six years old, is watching. It was not uncommon for the children that were too young to labor to play by the river banks.

“Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river.” This is a nice spot in the river, good visibility. There probably were not a lot of crocodiles because it’s where the princess came to wash. “And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept.” You know, nothing breaks your heart more than a little crying baby. As I’ve been preparing for this message this week, I’ve thought a lot about our children, and little Nathan. Karen needed to go upstairs and take a shower yesterday, and I was in charge. I got involved in the office, he was out in the swing, and he woke up and started crying. And I went in there, and the poor little guy thought the whole world had abandoned him. Tears were running down his face, and he looked so distraught, and it just broke my heart to see him cry. Am I the only one who feels that way?

She saw the baby cry, and it moved her heart with sympathy. She could quickly read what had happened here. She knew it was a Hebrew mother that was trying to save her baby. She decided this one baby didn’t have to die. Another reason she probably knew it was a Hebrew baby is because they were still practicing circumcision, which was a visible distinctive difference between the Hebrew children and the Egyptian children. She saw “the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, ‘This is one of the Hebrews’ children.’” Now, Miriam was watching the face, and she marked the tender reception of the princess towards the child, and the baby continued to cry, and the maidens all looked at each other, and there was really nothing they could do—maybe change the baby, but it needed food. And Miriam drew near. Now, Miriam was a prophetess, and I’d like to believe that gift came to hear early, six years old, perhaps, and she had the discernment to know exactly what to say at that age. And she said, “‘Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?’

“And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, ‘Go.’ So the maiden went and called the child's mother.” Isn’t it wonderful the way that God works? So “Pharaoh's daughter said to her, ‘Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.’” Not only did God save the child, she was going to get protected and paid to feed and to nourish her own baby and to train him.

“And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, ‘Because I drew him out of the water.’” The word Moses means “taken from the water.” Now, what does water mean in prophecy? Multitudes of people and nations and tongues and languages. You read that in Revelation chapter 17. Moses was drawn from the people. He was born from slaves, but he was not a slave. Jesus, like Moses, was born from humans, but he never was a slave to sin, was He? Christ came from the people to save the people. He came from humans that were enslaved, but He was not a slave, that He might deliver the slaves.

Do you know what the Bible says here? It says “the child grew.” You look that up in the Bible, and it will take you to the Gospel of Luke. Do you know what it says about Jesus? When they returned from Egypt, it says, “And the Child grew.” How carefully do you think Moses’ mother taught and trained and impressed her child with the truth of God while she had him? She knew she had him for a limited time. She knew she needed to impress on his mind and his character the imprint of truth, the principles that would guide him in any situation. How careful do you think she was with that charge? We always talk about the greatness of Moses, and I don’t want to underrate that. But I think sometimes we forget the greatness of the mother. We talk about the greatness of Samuel, and we forget about the greatness of Hannah. You think about the greatness of Christ, but do you think that everything that Jesus got, He got supernaturally from the Holy Spirit? Or do you think that Mary had a part in training and teaching Him? The Son of God was committed to a mother.

I want to read a statement to you from the book Patriarchs and Prophets, page 244, a tremendous book, dealing with this passage. “To a very great extent the mother holds in her own hands the destiny of her children. She is dealing with developing minds and characters, working not alone for time, but for eternity. She is sowing seed that will spring up and bear fruit, either for good or for evil. She has not to paint a form of beauty upon canvas or to chisel it from marble, but to impress upon a human soul the image of the divine. Especially during their early years the responsibility rests upon her of forming the character of her children. The impressions now made upon their developing minds will remain with them all through life. Parents should direct the instruction and training of their children while very young, to the end that they may be Christians. They are placed in our care to be trained, not as heirs to the throne of an earthly empire, but as kings unto God, to reign through unending ages [with Christ].

“Let every mother feel that her moments are priceless; her work will be tested in the solemn day of accounts. Then it will be found that many of the failures and crimes of men and women have resulted from the ignorance and neglect of those whose duty it was to guide their childish feet in the right way. Then it will be found that many who have blessed the world with the light of genius and truth and holiness, owe the principles that were the mainspring of their influence and success to a praying, Christian mother.”

The reason you have a Methodist church is not because of John Wesley, it’s because of Susanna Wesley. That’s what John Wesley said. So much of the world has been influenced in the little things. “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” and she knew that.

We do not know exactly how long (in the book Patriarchs and Prophets it says approximately 12 years) she had that baby. She needed to prepare him for all the flood of temptations that would come to him in the palace of Egypt. The exposure to the wealth and the decadence and the luxury and the lush, opulent lifestyle of the palace—she needed to brace him for that. She needed to fix his mind on eternal things, and I believe she did a good job because, we’ll see in our next study, when the time of test came, Moses was willing “to suffer affliction with the people of God [rather] than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” because of the way his mother had taught him.

The important point I want you to notice here as we close our message today, she had to commit her child to God. The Lord protected the baby while he was in her household, from the edict of the Pharaoh. The Lord protected him in the basket. The Lord protected him once again in her arms, in her house, gave him back to her. Incidentally, you and I are a church. We are to be a place where people can come and receive nursing. The Bible tells us—Peter says, 1 Peter 2:2, 3 [NIV], “Like newborn babies, crave pure [sincere] milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” Again, Paul says [1 Corinthians 3:2, NIV], “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, [sometimes we] are still not ready.” We, like a church, need to be a place that knows how to give milk to those that need it and meat to those that need it. Amen? Most of all, I want you to know that in the same way that God could keep Moses from Egypt and from the law of the Pharaoh, can He keep us from being enslaved and destroyed by the devil? As long as we put our lives in God’s hands, and even the lives of our children in God’s hands, we know that we are safe. If you believe that also, please turn with me to our closing hymn, “Under His Wings,” in your hymnals, number 529, and let’s stand together as we sing.


Before we sing the second verse, we’ve had a child dedication today, and I think it’s also a good time for each of us as church members—many of us are parents with children under our charge; some of us, our children are grown, but they’re still our children. Amen? And if we’d like to say, “Lord, help me, like Jochebed, to do everything I can to stop the leaks in the basket, to be a good parent. Guide me as I guide others.” And those of us as church members, even the elders in the church, and your children are grown and productive and out of your home, we are all parents to God’s children that come inside our house. Amen? We have to remember, these little ones that come up for the children’s story—we have an influence upon them in the things that we say as they interact with us here in the church family. If you’d like to say, “Lord, help me be sensitive that I could do everything I can to be a good parent for the children in my house and my church,” if I could see your hands; is that your prayer? We want our place to be a place where the family grows. We want to be like the children of Israel, a place where multiplication is taking place. Amen? Let’s sing the second verse.

[Corresponding free Bible Study offer: “Do not Be Fooled: Things are Not Always What They Appear to Be”]


Before we sing the last verse, I’d like to invite Gerald, who was just baptized today. He’s a new baby in our church family. I want him to come to the front. We want to involve him in a special prayer this morning. I’d like to also extend the appeal before we sing this closing verse. There may be some here today who are going through some turmoil in their lives. Perhaps you do not know that your life is in God’s hands. You do not know that you are under His wings. Jesus, before He laid down His life for you and me, He stood on the brow of Olivet, and He wept and He pled. He said, “How often I would have gathered you under My wings, but you would not.” If you are not under God’s wings, it’s not His design, it’s your decision. Before we leave this place today we can know that our lives are sheltered by the Lord, that He’s ready to die and protect us, and if you don’t have that experience and you want to know that your life is in the shadow of His wings, we invite you to come and have that peace before we close our service. We’ll pray for you. Come to the front as we sing the closing verse.


Let’s bow our heads together.

Father in heaven, we want to thank You. We want to thank You for the birth that we’ve witnessed here in our church today, and for these who have made decisions to commit their lives to Jesus. We’re thankful for the children in our church family. Help us do everything we can, Lord, to guide their feet in paths of truth, that they might find their way to the kingdom. Forgive us for the mistakes we’ve made. We know to a great extent that the Lord is able to reverse and counteract these. Bless our children, Lord, spiritual children, in our midst, and also our literal children. We want to pray, Lord, that Central is a place where we will multiply exceedingly, just like the children of Israel. Bless us that we might be witnesses for You and do your work. Thank You. Now, as we go from this place, help us to know that we can live under the shadow of Your wings. In Christ’s name we ask. Amen.

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