Ministry is full of tight spots – those situations where we have a hard time seeing even a glimpse of God’s marvelous light due to the penetration of evil’s oppressive darkness. In Exodus 2:1-10 we see a people who were in a tight spot. The people of Israel needed divine intervention. They needed supernatural support. This would be the time for one of those Sodom & Gomorrah-type moments. “God, please just rain fire on the heathen Egyptians so they will stop killing our sons!”
Yet, God chose to respond in a way most unexpected.
1 Now a man from the family of Levi married a Levite woman. 2 The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son; when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could no longer hide him, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with asphalt and pitch. She placed the child in it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. 4 Then his sister stood at a distance in order to see what would happen to him. 5 Pharaoh’s daughter went down to bathe at the Nile while her servant girls walked along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds, sent her slave girl, took it, 6 opened it, and saw him, the child — and there he was, a little boy, crying. She felt sorry for him and said, “This is one of the Hebrew boys.” 7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a Hebrew woman who is nursing to nurse the boy for you? ” 8 “Go,” Pharaoh’s daughter told her. So the girl went and called the boy’s mother. 9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse him for me, and I will pay your wages.” So the woman took the boy and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”
God’s plan is the chief theme of this text, but we see His plan through three unique qualities in three very unlikely candidates.
Jochebed was the name of Moses’ mother. Can you imagine being an Israelite mother in this season? The agony of the genocide happening all around would cloud every birth announcement. The fear of death would drown out every cry of a newborn boy. Yet, Jochebed was hopeful. How do we know that? In the face of tyranny, she weaved a basket. Rather than dread the very real possibility of the Egyptians tossing her child into the Nile to die, she laid him into that same river to live. Jochebed was full of a firm hope that must have driven her to do what she did.
Miriam was Moses’ older sister. In Exodus 2 this young lady did a very helpful thing. While the Egyptians were on the lookout for Israelite boys, just to slaughter them, Moses’ big sister was on the lookout to see the fate of her little brother. What did she see? She saw the rescuing hand of God when Moses’ cry brought affection from Pharaoh’s daughter. She proved helpful to Moses, Jochebed and Pharaoh’s daughter by brokering an arrangement (very clever girl) whereby Jochebed could nurse her own son in safety. She no longer had to fear his destruction. That young girl was more than helpful to the people around her and, with her helpful spirit, she became helpful to God’s plans.
Pharaoh’s daughter also had no reason to suspect she was part of God’s plan. Heading for a bath in the Nile, she found herself being useful in the plans of the God she didn’t know. Her actions, which spared the life of Moses, were a lynchpin in the rescue story of a nation! While she was unknowingly useful, God calls us to be intentionally useful by submitting and surrendering to His plans when we can see them. It is also likely that God can use a humble Christ-follower in situations where we are unable to discern His ways.
How do we respond when God’s plans, or the timing of God’s plans, don’t align with our expectations? As Christ-followers, we adopt the qualities we’ve seen in this passage. We should be hopeful, helpful and useful subjects to the mighty King of a glorious Kingdom!