Monday, April 21, 2008

A Mother’s Love...and the Compassion of a Stranger

In the second chapter of Exodus, we read of a Levite family who were blessed with a baby boy. However, the happiness of the child’s birth was overshadowed by the knowledge that his life was in danger. Pharoah had issued an order that all male Hebrew children were to be thrown into the Nile River.

Somehow, the family was able to conceal the child for three months, hiding him from the Egyptians and more importantly, from Pharoah. Eventually though, they could no longer hide him, and they were now faced with a choice: how to save this child.

In Exodus 2:1, we read that the child’s mother wove a basket, covered it with slime and pitch to make it watertight, and slipped her young son into the basket. She carried the basket to the Nile River, and placed the basket and her son on the side of the River. His older sister, Miriam, stayed to ensure no harm came to him.

One can only imagine the thoughts of the child’s mother as she wove the basket, placed her son in it and turned to head home after placing it by the riverside. Even with her young daughter watching over the basket, one wonders how a mother finds the strength to take such a leap of faith. Clearly she was determined to do whatever it took to save her son.

In Exodus 2:5, we read that Pharoah’s daughter came to bathe in the Nile River. She saw the basket along the side of the river, and asked her maidservants to bring it to her. Verse six states “And she opened it, and saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, ‘This is one of the Hebrews’ children.’”

Pharoah’s daughter knew exactly why this child had been placed near the river, cradled in a basket. Looking down upon this Hebrew child, knowing the fate that her own father had mandated for him, she did not heed her father’s decree. Pharoah had commanded Egyptians to throw the Hebrew male children into the Nile River, and here his own daughter had drawn one out!

While these events unfolded the child’s mother was at home, undoubtedly praying and asking God to watch over her children. What a wonderful sound it must have been when her daughter came home and told her that Pharoah’s daughter had discovered the baby! And not only was her child safe, but she was able to take her child home to care for him. As she carried her son home, the journey certainly was much easier than the journey to the riverside.

I remember the first time I heard this story. My father read it to me when I was a child, probably eight or nine years old. I remember listening in disbelief as he told the story of how the child’s mother put him in a basket near the crocodile infested river. I recall feeling relieved when the child was rescued.

This Levite woman trusted God to care for her baby boy. When she placed her child in the basket and put him near the river, in effect, she gave him to God. She realized that she had done all she could to save him, and that now she had to trust that God would care for her son. And not only was her son taken from the river by Pharoah’s daughter, but he was given back to his mother to be cared for until he was old enough to live apart from her. She gave her son up, and he was given back to her, safe from the wrath of Pharoah’s decree.

Parents, are we doing as Moses’s mother did? Are we doing all we can to save our children? Children are in danger today, and while it may not be the dangers that faced baby Moses, they are afflicted by the world each day, just as we are. Are we protecting them and equipping them with what they need to survive in this world, physically and spiritually?

Brothers and sisters, do we look upon the lost and dying souls around us and feel compassion for them, as Pharoah’s daughter felt for Moses? As we go about our lives, and come to our “riversides”, are we seeking to help those in need? We must determine to teach our children God’s word, and to instill in them that same love and compassion for others.

A mother’s faith in God and the compassion of an Egyptian princess saved the life of a child. Imagine what our faith and compassion, when put into practice, can do!

No comments: