This is a weekly guest devotion written by my mother, Estelene. Each week she shares with us scripture and a short devotion to encourage us.
We begin a new series during our walk through the Bible. More than likely you have heard of a man, that God used to deliver the Israelites out of slavery, whose name was Moses. But maybe you did not know that there was a link between Joseph, the son of Jacob, and Moses. This is where we pick up our journey today. Our text comes from the book of Exodus.
These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family; Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.
Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them.
Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”
So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”
The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”
So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.
Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”
Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.
Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.
Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”
“Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.” Exodus 1:1-2:10
Let’s rewind a little bit and do a quick recap. Joseph’s father Jacob and his family lived in the land of Canaan. Joseph was hated by his half-brothers; therefore, they sold him into slavery. He became governor over all of Egypt. There was no one greater in Egypt except for Pharaoh. A famine spread throughout the world which forced Joseph’s brothers to travel to Egypt to purchase food. Joseph and his family were reunited and his father’s household, seventy in all, moved to Egypt.
As today’s study begins, many years had passed. Joseph, his father, and his brothers had died. God had promised Abraham, Joseph’s great-grandfather, that he would make his descendants into a mighty nation. He kept his promise and they multiplied greatly.
GOD ALWAYS STAYS TRUE TO HIS PROMISES. No matter what Pharaoh tried to do to control the situation, he failed. God had a plan, and He was the one in control.
Even though the midwives were instructed to kill all the male babies born during childbirth, they allowed them to live. They feared God more than they feared Pharaoh, and God blessed them because of their acts of kindness.
We are told that when the Levite woman gave birth to her son and “saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months.” I can’t image thinking any child of mine was not fine and not worthy to live. She could not bear the thought of throwing him into the Nile, so she hid him for as long as she could. When the time came that it was no longer possible to hide him, she decided to put his fate into the hands of God. Can you image laying your infant son in a basket and placing it in a river? She must have had great faith and courage.
When Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the child and saw that he was a Hebrew, she had compassion on him. She could have thrown him into the river, but she chose to save his life. The infant boy’s sister approached Pharaoh’s daughter and asked if she wanted her to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the child.
Can you see God’s hand on this entire situation? The child was returned to his mother and she got to nurse and care for him. But once again she had to give him up. When he got older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he was raised by her. My heart rejoices for the mother of this child because her son’s life was spared. But my heart breaks for her because twice she had to let him go. That had to be mentally and physically exhausting.
Pharaoh’s daughter named this child, that became her son, Moses which possibly means “draw out”. I wonder what she would have done if she could have seen into the future and knew the rest of the story.
We can read this account calmly and see how God handled the situation. But it is not that easy when we are personally going through an extremely difficult time in our life. We walk through it blindly, not knowing what the future holds. It can be very fearful. But God sees our future, and he promises to have our best interest in mind. If we place our situation in God’s hands and ask him to lead and guide us, he will. We may have to travel through some rough storms, but when the storms pass, we will have a greater appreciation for the sun and a deeper respect for the storm. If we hold on to God’s hand, our faith will grow stronger while forming us into people who are more Christ like.