The situation was bleak! The families had been warned – we don’t want Hebrew baby boys to live! If we find that you have not put your newborn baby boy into the river, there will be severe consequences. No ifs, ands, or buts to it. That was the law!
She hid her baby boy as long as she could. Daily she kept the windows covered, and tried as best she could to muffle his soft cries. Nightly, she held him close, rocking him to sleep, wondering if the next day they would be discovered, trusting Y-hw-h that he would keep their precious little boy safe. Daily either her husband, daughter, or son carried news home of one more Hebrew family having lost their precious baby boy to the decree and the ever deepening hunger of the Nile. Yet, her boy slept soundly. She knew she couldn’t hold onto him forever – but just a few more days.
Finally, as he turned 3 months old, she and her husband knew that they could no longer hold onto him. The danger to their family mounted daily as this precious boy grew, and his cries became stronger. He didn’t realize that every cry meant danger not only to him, but now also to his whole family. He was innocent to his being a criminal waiting for capture. She and her husband knew that the time had come for them both to let their sweet baby go, and entrust him into the hands of Y-hw-h. So, the Mamma lovingly fashioned a basket out of papyrus and filled it with pitch and tar to make it water-tight. Gently she rocked her sweet baby to sleep and placed him in the tiny boat, and tenderly, so as not to awaken him, rocked him into the Nile among the reeds. Y-hw-h was now to be his only keeper.
This little one’s big sister was given the task of watching over his little ark, as it bobbed in the great river, Nile. She could not do much were an animal to try and devour him. There wasn’t much she could do period, but she could watch, and pray. Pray that Y-hw-h would have mercy and see their trust in him, and protect her little brother. He heard their prayers, and saw their great faith, and soon the daughter of the great Pharaoh came to that very point in the river to bathe. She saw the basket bobbing in the river as she walked along its edge, and called her servant girl to go in and retrieve it for her. As she did so, he began to cry. Pharaoh’s daughter opened the basket and saw his sweet face, and felt compassion for this sweet frightened baby. “He’s one of the Hebrew’s babies!” she exclaimed. The baby’s big sister had been silently watching, and now bravely chose to expose herself and draw near to this princess. “I can find a Hebrew mother to nurse him for you if you wish”, she nervously spoke.
And so it was. The boy’s Mamma became his nurse, and eventually she turned him over to Pharaoh’s daughter to raise him, Pharaoh’s daughter having named him “Moses”, which means, “to draw out”, because she had drawn him out of the Nile. He grew up in the house of the Great Pharaoh, and became, eventually the leader of the people of God, the Hebrews. He was the one whom Y-hw-h chose to lead his people to freedom from their slavery to the Egyptians. The very river that was meant to devour him, became his very source of life and eventually the lives of all God’s people!
This story was adapted from the true story of the life of Moses, the greatest leader in Israel’s history, taken from Exodus 2:1-10 and then through the book of Exodus. You may want to read the actual account in the Bible – second book in the Old Testament.
Giving up a child isn’t easy – probably the hardest thing any Mamma could do. Our Mamma hearts know that we are entrusted with our children by God. Those stirrings go deep. Very deep. Yet, as in the story of Moses, there are times when we are unable to care for them – whether because we are young and inexperienced, without a family’s support, or because in my case, my son’s needs for several years had become more than either my husband nor I could care for adequately. We were wearing out, slowly but surely. And, now, on top of that, I was alone, a widow, with a 14 year old son with severe autism, who was dealing with his own grief and long-endured issues. I was now even less able to care for his ever-mounting needs alone. God, too heard our cries. He saw our tears, and made a way. That which I had dreaded, and always fought to protect him from, became his life. My son, now 22, lives nearby in a residential home with 3 other men where he receives his required 24 hour awake care, and I see him regularly. I am a very important part of his life, and he knows yet a Mamma’s love. He is doing very well and is happy. He is prospering in a job at a local greenhouse, staffed by special needs adults, and (most of the time) I am very proud of him! I’ve seen God protect my son in his Nile River, and I have witnessed the Princess come along and swoop up my “Moses” and give him a life I had never imagined. That which I feared, God made so good!
Maybe today, your situation is not like mine, but you face your own Nile – that devouring river that seems to continually ask for more life, never satisfied – and it terrifies you. I know of a God who is very good at taking that which should destroy, and making life from it, just as he did for Moses, and just as he has done for me on many occasions. He is able. And he longs to do just that. Today. For you. However, I have a warning for you – he rarely does anything as we suspect or imagine. He takes no orders from us – he assumes he will be the one giving the orders, for he is the one who is able to do more than we can ask or think, when we yield to his command. It’s worth it – for he is a gentle leader, able to carry great loads on our behalf, and able to swoop baby boys out of vast, hungry rivers – just for those who trust him. I know.
Should you wish to know more, or if you have your own story of his rescuing you or a loved one, I would love to hear it. If you also are facing your own mighty Nile, and wish me to pray, please let me know. I’d be more than happy to stand with you. God Bless!