Open Your Bible
Numbers 26:59, Exodus 1:22-2:10
Labor was hard but Jochebed was stronger. With a midwife by her side, the baby was almost here.
One more push… IT’S… A… it’s a boy…
A boy. His arrival announced with a whisper. In his first breath of life, sentenced to death. She loved the beautiful boy instantly. And instantly she breathed an anguished plea to the Lord to protect her son.
And in that room—in that very moment—with orders for the baby to be thrown into the Nile, God was at work.
Three months later, I can imagine Jochebed there—sitting in silence, staring out the window of her home. There were no words left to say, no more tears to cry, barely enough air in her lungs to catch her next breath. Breasts heavy with milk, heart heavy with sorrow. Arms empty with an ache she never before knew existed.
She could hide him no longer. The baby whom she had nursed and protected and kept hidden for three precious-yet-sleepless months was gone. Whatever was to become of him in his makeshift cradle-boat, she knew she would never lay eyes on him again.
And in that room—in all of Egypt—in the hearts of both pharaohs and slaves, God was at work.
There she sat. A woman who feared the Lord, who waited on Him expectantly, but who had seen with her own eyes that for her people, waiting meant slavery, toil, injustice, and death.
And then she saw her—through the window, down the alley, Jochebed’s daughter Miriam running, breathless, calling to her mother.
God had indeed been at work! Her baby had not drowned or been lost in the river—he had been rescued! The news was too good to be true! The woman who found him was the Pharaoh’s own daughter! She took pity on him and wanted to take him as her own. But God’s mercies didn’t end there. “The princess wants you to be his nurse! She wants to give the baby back to you to raise him and she’ll pay you to do it!”
It’s one of the most miraculous stories of motherhood and God’s mercy in the Bible.
But if we’re going to talk about God’s mercy, perhaps we should take a step back…
Where was this merciful God when Pharaoh gave the order for all of the Hebrew baby boys to be killed?
Where was He when Jochebed kissed her child for what she thought would be the last time?
Where was He when all the other Hebrew women grieved their babies?
Where was this merciful God when the same miraculous news was not received by so many of Jochebed’s friends and neighbors?
Where was God? He was where He had always been. He was on the throne, where He remains today—sovereign and good and evermore at work. God was actively working in the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter and in the heart of the Pharaoh himself.
God hadn’t forgotten the other Hebrew men and women either. He had, in fact, remembered them! God’s mercy on the Hebrew nation is precisely why He rescued Jochebed’s baby—because the baby would rescue God’s people.
And that baby, “Moses” as the Pharaoh’s daughter named him, was just a foreshadowing of The Rescuer who would also be born under an edict of death (Matthew 2:13-23), but would one day save His people to live with Him forever in the Promised Land.
Isn’t it exquisite to trace the hand of God in history? We praise God for what we can see He has done, but we often struggle to praise Him for what we can’t see while it’s being done.
Think of Jochebed today. In her darkest hours, God was at work. Let’s praise God for that work He did.
And what about us? In our darkest hours, let us also believe that God is still at work. Let’s praise Him for the work we cannot see, too.
When our best-case scenarios pale in comparison to the mercies He gives us, God is at work. And when we can see Him at work in the lives of our neighbors, but it’s hard to see His hand in our own life? Even then, the great, sovereign God of mercy is still very much at work!
Let’s end our time together today, praising God for sending us a Rescuer, who has already come to free us from slavery and our very own edict of death. Thanks be to God!