Do you know Jochebed?

Moses in his mothers arms’ by Simeon Solomon (1840-1905)

*This post was originally written in 2014.  I’ve been thinking a lot about my sons and my prayers for them… this post came to mind.  *

What do you do as a mom when you know your child grows up under the influence of authorities in their life who dishonor God and His Word? Who mock the Christ and the whole concept of sin and the need for a Savior? Who think of the Bible as old, out-of-date stories? Who offer the short-lived pleasures of this world as the ultimate pursuit of your child’s life over and against the foolish call of Christ to deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Him to a kingdom that they cannot see where true riches and never-ending pleasures abide in uninhibited relationship with the Living God?

I look to a woman named Jochebed.

The nearly 4000 year old story of Moses is not only a pivotal story in the history of the people of Israel, it’s also the heroic story of a mom who put her hope for her son in the Living God and whose influence, no doubt, was God’s means of grace to plant faith in Moses.

We only get a few short verses about Jochebed’s influence on Moses. But we get a thousand upon thousand year old legacy of faith in Christ because of her faith.

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. – Hebrews 11:24-26

Mary Elizabeth Baxter (a Christian woman long gone to glory) wrote a commentary on Jochebed that I find tremendously encouraging. Here is an excerpt:

Christian mother, does your home influence counteract the sin, the untruth, the impurity, the hollowness of the world, so that your son finds the home life a haven of rest from temptation and shame?

Is there so much of God in your life that it more than outweighs other influences which surround him? Blessed mother, if it is so!

Pharaoh’s daughter said to Jochebed: “Take this child away and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages.” (Exd 2:9.) This is the last we hear of Jochebed, Moses’ mother. THE RESULT OF HER LIFE’s WORK was the man Moses.

The true mother lives again in her son. There is the answer to her prayers; there is the result of her watchfulness; there is the true correction of her own faults reproduced in her son. Moses might never have been the man he was had it not been for Jochebed.

Who knows how many a leader of God’s people may be at the present time in course of training by some pious mother? Who knows but that the little James or John or William, who is playing with the kitten on the hearth, may some day become a man to whom hundreds or thousands may look for help and direction?

Oh let every mother who reads these pages understand her vocation when a higher than Pharaoh’s daughter says to her: “Take this child and nurse it for Me, and I will give thee thy wages.” But the wages of Jochebed were not to be given by the princes of this world. To be the mother of a Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, like whom there arose not since in Israel (Deu 34:10): this was an honour which none but God could give.

I often get discouraged. Almost to the point of giving up… whatever that would look like. I guess every paralyzation of indifference or hopelessness that I choose is a giving up of sorts. I let the lie that my influence means nothing, even more, that God’s word and grace is not powerful enough and God’s Sovereign goodness is not really sovereign or good, numb me into just sitting there rather than saying something.

There was a time when they nursed at my spiritual breast. There was a time when I had a captive and eager audience of two boys under 5 who fed on the truth with gladness. But that season of nursing is passed. Now they are in Pharoah’s house. Now they have the opulence of the world at their fingertips and the temporary pleasures of sin to worship the false gods of this age with.

But I remember Jochabed.  I remember the God of Jochabed. My God- the God who purposed Moses’ life even when it was full of the fleeting pleasures of sin and the treasures of Egypt.

I often wonder how Jochebed endured those years in Egypt, knowing her son was gaining rank in the house of the ruler who enslaved her and her people. Surely it was painfully difficult to go about the laborious tasks of slavery knowing that her son was enjoying riches, entertainment and power in a house which attributed all it’s power and riches to false gods.  I wonder if she thought there was no way her son Moses would remember all that she taught him at her breast.  I wonder if she seriously doubted that he would ever turn his back on Pharaoh’s gods to worship the God of his enslaved kin.  There must have been years of tight-throated, eyes-burning-with-tears prayers and pleas to the God of Joseph to not forget her son and let him rot in the riches of Egypt.

Even in this season, hard as it is to endure, I know my God is able to take what was (and is) planted in my sons, my ongoing prayers (feeble as they may be) and the faith (microscopic as it is) that He has given me, and make all that tempt to ensnare my boys serve the purpose of bringing them to the place where, they too, can choose the reproach of Christ as greater wealth over all that gleams and glitters (and becomes enslaving chains) in this world.  And if, when, they do that, it will be a miracle!  No one chooses the reproach of Christ over the fleeting pleasures of sin and the wealth of this world without a miracle!
Oh God of Jochebed! God of Moses!  God over Pharaoh!  My God!  You who rule the universe.  You who do not let a single sparrow fall from the sky without your okay.  You who designed motherhood and know the heartache of sons and daughters who leave your goodness to go after the cotton-candy rot of the world.  You who gave me sons and a heart to know you.  You who used my sin to bring me to the knowledge of my need for a Savior.  You who called me out of darkness into your wonderful light, who brought me from death to life despite my angst towards you and my wandering from you, who gave me taste buds to taste your goodness when I was intoxicated with the poison of the pleasures of sin.  Oh merciful God who loves and is just and poured out all judgement against sin on your only Son to save us from what we could never endure.  Hear my prayers for my sons.  Let no one keep them from coming to their Savior.  Give them the faith to choose the joy of You over all this world has to offer.  Give me the faith to stand when I want to lay down; to believe when I’m mocked.  May Christ be magnified in me!  Let my life bring you glory!

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! – Psalm 90:17


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