The Mother of Moses and the Reward of Faith

Exodus 2:1‑10  •  11 min. read  •  grade level: 6
What a volume of instruction the Holy Ghost presents to us in few words! The crowded events of a life are compressed in the compass of a few verses, and when most concise, so beautifully distinct that the soul, in communion by the power of the Holy Ghost, has the picture delineated as vividly before him as if an eyewitness of all that occurred. The portion of the Word under consideration is a striking illustration of this. A mother's cares and a mother's joys, her faith in God and the reward of her faith, are presented to us-" Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him." " And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived and bare a son. And when she saw him that he was a proper child, she hid him three months." We read in Heb. 11, " By faith, Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw that he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment." In the book of Acts (7:20) we read, " In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding (margin, to God) fair, and nourished up in his father's house three months." The judgment passed upon Satan in the garden, that the "seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent," became at the same time the promise of God to our first parents, upon which they founded their hopes. The commandment of Pharaoh to the midwives, that, if a son was born, " they should kill him," directly subverted the purpose of God in the promised seed. The hearts of the faithful expected a Deliverer; and each mother in Israel might be the channel of blessing in giving birth to Messiah. Faith in the parents of Moses appreciated the promise; and apart from the instinctive desire for the preservation of their offspring, we read, it was " by faith " they were urged to conceal the birth of Moses.
Scripture is silent as to any direct revelation to them, that Moses should be a deliverer. We have the clue to their conduct in the knowledge " that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent." To destroy their children would be a death-blow to their hopes, and frustrate the grace of God to them. Doubtless this stimulated their faith in His present help. Their love to their child and the promise of God were blended together. And He whose tenderness is developed in Jesus, did not withhold His blessing from those whose natural instinct was his own precious gift, and who hoped in His mercy. The Scriptures abound with testimony to His surpassing grace. Creation bears witness to His love: The birds of the air, the fishes in the sea, and the wild beasts of the desert. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God; "not a sparrow falls to the ground without His notice." "Consider the ravens; for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have store-house nor barn; and God feedeth them." But it is not as the God of creation alone we have to contemplate Jehovah. We know Him as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We measure His gifts by the gift of His Son-" God so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son into the world." God commended His love in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We know that neither height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus was the Brightness of God's glory, the express Image of His person-" In Him alone dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily." The perfect knowledge of God is in the f tee of Christ; yet, in the revelation of His ways, as in the Old Testament, how distinct the features of His grace, how discernible the traces of His character—the God of all grace! The care of Jehovah for the mother of Moses furnishes a blessed subject for meditation. His grace in awakening her faith in His love; His grace in meeting the confidence He had awakened. The eye of Jehovah rests upon the fond wishes of the mother; the heart of the mother unburdens her sorrows to Him.
The child is born-she. " had gotten a man from the Lord." Yet at what a time was her lot cast-a king had arisen " over Egypt that knew not Joseph." ". And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor: and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigor." But this was not all. The king of Egypt had issued an edict for the destruction of every male child that should be born of the Hebrews. And at such a time Moses is given to his parents. "And when she saw him, that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months." Alas, what a time for a mother! the delight of her eyes must be hid in the darkness, the affection of a full heart must be stifled. The charms of her infant forgotten in solicitude for its existence, "she hid her child." How difficult her task, is apparent from the nature of her avocation. The daily toil imposed upon her, her relative duties, the diligent search of the destroyers, the suspicions aroused about her, all added to the difficulty of the concealment of her babe. And then for its nourishment. How stealthy her tread to the spot, how vigilant her eye! What searching before, what looking behind; how wildly her poor heart throbbed! She has reached it; and the God of her fathers has preserved the babe from the reptiles; which abounded in Egypt. Her eye is lifted up in gratitude to Him, her bosom is open for her child. Flow eager the infant; how hard to hush its cry of delight. What fear lest its noise should attract; lest the evidence of its life, such joy to her heart, should prove the occasion of its death. And the young sister mentioned in the fourth verse would be the mother's confidant in this. It might be, on the watch, peradventure an enemy was near. The heart of the mother was around her child; the sister's affection aroused for her baby-brother. And in this scene of emotion, this tumult of affection, confidence in God was as oil on the troubled waters. In the morning they cried unto Him; in the evening commended the babe unto Him. Blessed picture of God, the center of attraction, where alone the pangs of humanity could unburden themselves. The parents believed in His love; His love solaced the parents. All was hostile around them. Evil passions had snapped the chords of affection betwixt man and man. The ties of nature were severed, its sympathies obliterated. The mother of Moses reposed her heart on the love of her God-and she hid her child three months. But the enemy has discovered it; "she could no longer hide him." What agony of soul! Still it is but for a moment. She cannot trust man, she will then confide in her God. The poor babe, unconscious of the agonies it gave birth to, is removed. She made an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein, and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink. What confidence of faith. The wickedness upon earth forbade her to nourish her own. Cruel world; conduct answerable to that in after-years, when the tenderest of hearts, the truest love was repaid with ignominy, scorn, and the cross. Her child, exposed to the dangers of the Nile, was safer than in the abode of humanity. The offspring God had given her she could no longer sustain. Faith commits it to His care. Dead indeed were the earthly hopes of the poor mother; fit coffin for them was the ark of bulrushes; fitter emblem still the water, the waters of death. But faith saw beyond things around. " It is the evidence of things not seen, the substance of things hoped for." Help below there was none; God alone could help her, and on His arm she relied. His ear is ever open to the cry of His children. Almighty God interests himself in the sorrows of His creatures. He who would one day manifest Himself in the flesh and be born of a woman, how perfectly could He sympathize with the sorrows of the heart of one. The three months' trial of her faith was before him. Her steady confidence in His love, her maternal solicitude, the anxious cares, all were known to Him (Psa. 139:1,21<<To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.>> O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. (Psalm 139:1‑2)). And this last confiding act, this casting of her burthen on the Lord, would he not meet it? He loves to be relied upon. His object in creating us was to rejoice in His love to us, and in our love to Him. He who gave us sympathies, which even in the degradation of our fallen nature ever and anon gleam of heaven, could best appreciate them when aroused. It is not enough for the God of' all grace to dispense of His bounty, wondrous grace though it be; He seeks beyond that, the confidence of children in the love which dictates it. "And his sister stood afar off to wit what would be done to him." And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself in the river. " A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps." Surely this truth was fulfilled in the direction of the daughter of Pharaoh. Her maidens walked along by the river's side, and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it; and when she had opened it, she saw the child, and behold the babe wept, and she had compassion on him and said, " This is one of the Hebrews' children " " Who is a God like unto our God," gracious and full of compassion. The child was entrusted to Him, and he ensures its safety. The prayers of the mother were heard of the God of Abraham. He had sent deliverance, and after such manner as became him. The little outcast from earth and from home, found a welcome, by the providence of God, in the heart of the princess. The edict of her father had doomed it to death. The compassion of his daughter decrees its life. The sympathies of nature were kindled in her breast for one of a despised people. " The babe wept;" she had compassion on him, and said " This is one of the Hebrews' children." How wonderful the ways of God; how rich the possessor of His " favor which is life, and his loving-kindness better than life." Every circumstance on earth was opposed to the poor Hebrew mother. God in heaven was for her. She gave up her child to His keeping. He will skew himself worthy of the trust. Happy the people whose God is the Lord! The sister was no unmoved spectator of this scene. The mother was pouring out her heart in prayer-the answer was ready at the door. The sister, with discernment, doubtless of God, had read in the face of the princess, beaming with compassion, the safety of her brother. "Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh's daughter said, Go; and the maid went and called the child's mother." Surely her cup overflowed t Whilst she was praying, before the thoughts of her heart found words for expression, her child is re-restored, and in such a manner!-The palace of the foe to her race, should be the sanctuary of, her babe, and she, happy mother, should nourish her own I "And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take the child away and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child and nursed it, and the child grew; and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter. And she called his name Moses, and she said because I drew him out of the WATER. In poverty and trial the babe was born; in fear and dread it had been nourished. But now how altered the circumstances! The mother had wages from the daughter of Pharaoh for nursing her own. The protection of his power secured its life. There existed no occasion for concealment. She could embrace her child in her arms, she could clasp it openly to her bosom. How her heart would rejoice in the God of her salvation, her child's salvation. " He giveth liberally." They had trusted him with their child-see how their faith is rewarded. Surely she received him back as from the dead, God's gift to her in resurrection. " He was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.", What stimulus to confidence in God is here. Well might our Lord say, " Have faith in God." Well does our God deserve our confidence. "My soul shall make her boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear thereof and be glad." W.