This is an excerpt from the new women’s Bible study I’m working on called, Everyday Heroes: Old, New and Even You. This study will focus on some of the lesser known people in the Bible and how, without them, the big picture would never develop. It encourages us to step inside the story and take a much closer look around. It’s purpose is to encourage you to do whatever God places before you no matter how insignificant you feel it is. God’s plan includes all of us! This excerpt is hot off the fingertips and will probably go through several more edits, but I just wanted to share it with you today and ask for you to pray for me as I birth this new book. Let me know what you think. Hope you make today a great day!
“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.” (Exodus 2:1-3, NIV) “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 2:10, NIV)
Dots of dust slow danced in the narrow streaks of early morning light. They seemed to sense the specialness of the moment. Jochebed held her little man close, memorizing every rise and fall of his soft, sweet cheeks as they nursed. She didn’t want to forget a thing. The way his fingers playfully wrapped around hers. The way his eyes offered the most intoxicating smile she had ever seen, penetrating her very soul. Even the way his little chin would quiver from the exercise of nursing. These were the things she would cling to when her time was up. She so hoped he would someday remember her singing over him and how they both laughed at the silliest things. Her heart longed for him to remember how she tenderly stroked his eyebrows as he drifted in and out of sleep.
It wouldn’t be long now. Soon, another woman would hold him, love him and call him her own. As hard as that was to bear, having him thrown into the river after birth would have been unthinkable. This way he would live and grow and become that special one God had promised. Her own name meant “Yahweh’s glory”, so how could she not seek comfort and rest for her soul in her God.
It seemed only yesterday that she and Amram enjoyed a brief moment of celebration as they realized they would once again be blessed with a child. Their joy melted into sorrow as they remembered Pharaoh’s edict. Because of the growing number of Hebrews and the predicted birth of a powerful leader, all newly born Hebrew boys were to be killed.
“Amram, if our child is a son, how can we protect him from such evil?” she asked her husband.
“My dear Jochebed, we must pray and ask God what we must do. We must ask Him to deliver us from those who seek to destroy us. We serve a powerful and merciful God. We must be faithful in prayer during our time of waiting. He will hear our prayers and tell us what to do when and if the time comes.”
As Amram and Jochebed prayed, God listened and poured His compassion over them. Jochebed’s other two children seemed to take their time coming into the world, but with this pregnancy, sunrises seemed to run into each other. Before they knew it, cries of a new son christened the air.
When he could no longer be hidden, Jochebed knew what she had to do. God had listened to their prayers and spoke to her heart. As the baby slept peacefully, she coated a basket so it could float – one large enough to hold her little man. With every swipe of tar she looked at his face as he slept. If only there was another way. Swipe. If only they lived in another time. Swipe. Or another place. Swipe. Tears dripped into the tar as she finished the job. She made sure the inside of the basket was soft and comfortable, but safe. The tar would be dry enough for transport when her little one’s naptime ended. She sat next to her sleeping child, rocking gently back and forth and humming the song she could no longer bear to sing out loud.
As little arms and legs beating against the air snapped her out of her daze, she knew it was time. She gathered baby, basket and her understanding little daughter, Miriam, and headed to the river. They found the perfect spot among the reeds to place the basket. So, Jochebed kissed her son, prayed for his protection and placed him inside. His eyes smiled with that sweetness she had come to love. But, now it was time to leave. She told Miriam to watch and see what happened. Her mother-heart couldn’t bear to stay. She also knew little girls playing along the river’s edge was common and wouldn’t arouse suspicion.
Miriam sat on the bank watching the basket slowly sway among the foliage. The gentle rocking back and forth soothed the baby and put Miriam in a momentary trance until she heard voices.
“What is it?”
“I’m not sure, but it looks like a basket.”
“Swim over there and get it and let’s find out.”
Miriam couldn’t believe her eyes. It was Pharaoh’s daughter and her slave girls. The princess had a reputation for being assertive, so she didn’t think twice about ordering the servants to retrieve the basket for her.
“It is a basket” the servant said as she got closer.
“Well, bring it to me” ordered the princess. Miriam stayed out of sight until all the women gathered around the basket.
The princess could hardly believe what she was seeing. “There’s a baby in here!” she exclaimed.
With all the commotion, the baby began to cry and with every whimper the princess’ heart grew softer and softer.
Miriam made her way to the basket and peered over the edge, seeming to be surprised by its contents. “Oh, what a beautiful little baby! Is he yours?”
“No, he’s not. But you’re right. He is beautiful.”
“I bet he’s one of the Hebrew babies.” Miriam declared.
Pharaoh’s daughter then looked at Miriam for the first time and realized she probably knew what she was talking about. It had been a sad time for many Hebrew women and this kind of thing had become all too common. Compassion rose up in the princess and she fell in love with the idea of this most beautiful baby boy becoming hers. She admitted her desires to her servants, but then suddenly realized that she could not feed the baby.
Miriam quickly offered a solution, “I can get one of the Hebrew women to feed the baby for you.”
“Yes, that would be good. Go now!” the princess ordered.
Miriam’s feet barely touched the ground as she raced back home. As she reached the front door, she grabbed one side of the doorframe and her momentum propelled her into the house. Panting for breath, she cried, “Mother! Come quickly! Pharaoh’s daughter wants you to go get Little Brother and nurse him!”
Jochebed grabbed Miriam by the shoulders saying, “Child, what are you saying?”
Still trying to catch her breath, Miriam told her the whole story. Jochebed looked up to heaven, raised both arms and said, “My God, you DO hear us when we call!”
Soon Amram and Jochebed had their baby back home until it came time to wean him. God had given them more time to prepare their hearts. More time to feel the hand of God upon them and now, as the dots of dust danced in the rays of sunlight, Jochebed tucked her precious memories into a heart that confidently understood God’s providential care.