Monday, January 19, 2009

Looking At Jochebed

"Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 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. 3 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. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

5 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. 6 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.

7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?"

8 "Yes, go," she answered. And the girl went and got the baby's mother. 9 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. 10 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 1:1-10

Jochebed is really a remarkable woman. Here she had an infant son that she wasn't supposed to have... Pharaoh had ordered all baby boys to be put to death, but Jochebed saw something special in her son, and decided to keep him as long as she could. Those first few months of life, the cry of a baby is relatively quiet. But at some point, those lungs develop fully and the cries become very loud indeed. I imagine it was at this point, that Jochebed felt she had no other choice. I wonder though, as she put her son into this basket to float down river, did she know that Pharaoh's daughter was a regular there? Regardless, Pharaoh's daughter did find Moses and was immediately smitten by the tiny baby boy. Through Moses's sister, his own mother was retrieved to nurse the baby.

As a mom, I really have to think about this. Here was her own son, being given back to her, and while I'm sure she was elated that he would be able to live, and that she would care for him, it had to have also been in her mind that her time was limited. In fact, she probably had three years with Moses before he went to Pharaoh's daughter to be her son. Just three years to spend with her precious son, as at the age of three, he would have been weaned, and not needed a nurse any longer. I will bet you that she made the most of that time with all her heart. I will bet she even let household duties slide from time to time just to spend a few more minutes with her son.

Yet in that time, she clearly made an impression. Moses knew who his real mother was. He also knew his brother Aaron and sister Miriam, so they certainly made the most of those three years.

This really makes me think about the time I spend with my children. We only have so long to make an impression on our children, and then we trust them to God and the world around them. Will my children remember the fun things we do together? Will they remember the talks we've had about God? Or will they remember the screaming and the yelling and the scolding? I sure hope that what they remember is the good stuff. These verses today definitely give me something to reflect on for a while. In fact, they may very well have inspired some major changes around our household in the time to come. Time will tell though, and in the mean time, I turn to God to help me make the most of the time I have with my children. They are so precious to me, and I have more than three years to make a difference.

Thank you God for the precious children in my care. Help me to make the right decisions concerning them, and help me to be the example you want me to be in their lives.

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