I admire many women in Scripture, but one of my favorites is that fierce mom who risked her own life to save her son’s. She didn’t cave to pressure or the oppression from the most powerful empire in human history. Under the threat of death, she disobeyed the Pharaoh’s edict of forced infanticide, when birthing her son. Although she was in danger of being exposed, she hid her infant son, for his first three months.
This fierce mom recognized that life is sacred and would not bend her knee to the culture of death.
The beautiful fierce mom I’m talking about is Jochabed.
Jochabed is from the tribe of Levi, so she is the first woman in this Advent series that is not directly in the lineage of the Messiah (He will come through the tribe of Judah—see yesterday’s post for more on that). But, although she is not directly in the Messianic line, her faith-filled actions protected Moses, who would serve as the deliverer for that lineage and for God’s nation.
Jochabed’s name “Honor of Yahweh”is descriptive of God’s disposition toward this courageous mother. She is also included in the hall of the faithful in Hebrews 11. She was one who grabbed onto the hem of God’s will and didn’t let go!
What can we learn from Jochabed’s example?
- Jochabed was sensitive to God’s work.
Both accounts (in Exodus and Hebrews) note Jochabed’s recognition of the child’s uniqueness. We can’t say for sure what they saw in him, but I believe God allowed Moses’ parents to understand that He had placed His favor on this child for a significant work. Somehow they knew he was marked as special by God and they operated by faith on that knowledge.
My takeaway: God is at work and He invites me to be involved with His plan, so I need to be watchful, aware, and sensitive—seeking to join in with His great redemptive operation!
- Jochabed’s fear of God was greater than her fear of man.
Jocahbed is not unlike women today who risk their lives to follow God rather than cave to the sinful edicts of the surrounding culture or the tyranny of evil. The most powerful ruler on the planet issued the order for all male children to be drowned. Jocahbed’s courage stemmed from her knowledge of the one true God and trust that He would carry out His plan for her son. I believe God directed Jochabed’s heart to inspire her heroic actions.
My takeaway: Following God fully requires putting to death my fear of man and I must be willing to suffer if I desire to be a faithful follower.
- Jochabed was resourceful and creative in carrying out God’s plan.
Jochabed prepared an “ark of safety” for the future deliverer. She placed him in a waterproof basket in a specific location along the river bank which she probably knew was the regular bathing pool for Pharaoh’s daughter. Jochabed also stationed her own daughter, Miriam, in a position to watch for the bathing party. Miriam was ready with the information (perhaps supplied by Jochabed) that could provide help for the Egyptian princess in caring for the newborn. When the baby in the basket was discovered, Miriam offered Moses’ mother as a “nurse” for the newborn.
- Jochabed acted in a self-sacrificing manner and God blessed her beyond any expectation.
Jochabed had limited understanding of God’s great redemptive plan, but she acted in obedience to what knowledge she did have. She knew killing her son was wrong, she understood that this child was a gift from God who had a purpose in mind for him, and she set out on what some might have called a “perilous” faith journey. God rewarded her by giving her the opportunity (and responsibility) of preparing the future leader of His people. Not only would her son’s life be spared, for the earliest portion of his life, Moses would be trained and cared for by his own mother. We know she surely developed a close relationship with him in the first years of his life, and perhaps she and Moses maintained contact when he moved to the palace.
Scripture doesn’t provide a lot of details, but Moses seems to have been greatly impacted by his mother’s faith. Moses’ choices, and faith in God, are reflective of Jochabed’s influence:
[box]By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. (Hebrews 11: 24–27)[/box]
My takeaway: God’s eternal rewards are given to those who follow Him by faith.
Studying Jochabed’s life has been both convicting and inspiring. I want my life to impact those closest to me. I desire to be sensitive to God’s plans and be quick to obey, no matter how risky it may seem. I long to see God move in a powerful way to bring redemption to those who are still enslaved to their sin—and I want Him to use me in that process!
What are some of your takeaways from this quick glimpse of Jochabed’s life?
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