Jochebed: A Mother's Faith
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. – Proverbs 22:6 NLT
Mothers have an incredibly important job. Raising children is tough work, and there’s a lot that’s involved. One of the most important aspects of a mothers’ job (if not the most important) is to teach her children. Many practical life skills are first taught us by our mothers. So many habits I didn’t even realize I was being taught are ingrained into me to this day. (For example, I have to make my bed every morning or the world ends. I can’t go to bed in an unmade bed.) But far beyond that, mothers have an impact on basically every area of our development, including spiritually.
I am not a mother, but I do have one (surprise!). I’ve also been blessed with many female role models throughout my life. Whether I was explicitly taught or learned through observation, I learned many spiritual truths and habits from these women. Having a strong, believing mother who is able to guide her children in their faith is such a blessing. I’m aware that’s not something that everyone has been blessed with. But no matter the state of our relationship with our earthly mothers, there are many mothers in the Bible that we can learn from and look up to.
The Story of Jochebed
Here’s a story of an incredibly strong mother. Her name was Jochebed. You will probably know her best as the mother of Miriam, Aaron, and Moses (yes, that Moses). She and her family were slaves in Egypt. Pharaoh wasn’t a fan of how many Hebrews there getting to be, so his brilliant plan was to kill all the new baby boys. And then the Bible says Jochebed became pregnant (Exodus 2:2). Her pregnancy doesn’t even take up a whole sentence, but that was nine months of carrying a child that she didn’t know for certain would get to survive. I haven’t experienced it myself, but I’m pretty sure pregnancies are scary enough without having that extra stress and uncertainty and fear added on. And then she gave birth to a son. Sons were usually hoped for, looked forward to, celebrated. But with the potential fate that boy was born into, I’m sure that birth was a horrible mix of joy and fear.
Jochebed saw that her boy was “a fine child” (Exodus 2:2 NIV) or “goodly” (KJV) or “special” (NLT). Generally speaking, what mother doesn’t think her child is special? But perhaps God revealed something to her about her child. It’s possible that she knew her son would grow up to be used by God in amazing ways. She definitely loved her son, though. Whatever happened, she had the courage to protect and hide her son.
When the baby was too old to hide any longer (she hid him for three months! A screaming newborn!), she made a plan to set him adrift in a basket on the Nile (Exodus 2:3). For those of us who have heard the story of Moses a lot, this part of the story is “normal”. But guys. What. She thought the best plan for her baby’s survival was to set him adrift on a river and hope for the best. I’m not sure that would’ve been my first choice. But that’s what she did. She trusted her child to God. I truly believe this plan must have come from God. Maybe she didn’t have a visit from an angel or a dream showing her what to do, but I think this plan must have been divinely inspired. This plan gave her hope that her son would live. If she didn’t have any hope of her son’s survival, she could have just delivered the baby directly to Pharaoh. But she didn’t. She put him into the Nile and trusted that this would lead to life. Her faith paid off – Moses was rescued by none other than the Pharaoh’s daughter, and after being nursed by his own mother, was raised in the palace (Exodus 2:5-10). What a blessing those few months Jochebed was able to spend with her son must have been.
By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. – Hebrews 11:23 NIV
Moses’ parents are listed in the Hebrews faith chapter, the Biblical Hall of Fame. Being listed among these giants of faith doesn’t mean they were perfect parents or perfect people, but they did do something right. They had faith in God. Moses is listed in this chapter immediately after his parents and, of course, we know him to be quite the big Bible hero. Aaron and Miriam are also pretty big figures in these stories. Jochebed gave birth to them all. Whether by literally saving the life of her son, or raising her children to believe in God, her actions had a lasting impact. God used her mightily to set up big things for the future. Jochebed’s faith gave her courage to do what was required. Her faith gave her the wisdom to know what actions to take. Her faith allowed her to rely on God and entrust her children to Him. Her actions of faith had a lasting impact on her children and her people. Her example of faith can still make an impact in our lives today.
Who is someone in your life that has had a lasting impact of faith on you? Who can you have a lasting impact on?