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Friday, August 3, 2012

Focus on Jochebed


Today let's focus on a woman of the Bible from Exodus 2 to continue our on-and-off focus about worry. This woman is Jochebed and she had a lot to worry about. 
She had given birth to a son. Normally a wonderful joy, it actually rang the death bell for the child because Pharaoh had ordered that all sons born to the Hebrew people should be killed. Jochebed must have been on pins and needles in caring for the child for three months after his birth. If he cried, she had to shush him, else someone would hear him. When she nursed him and he made gurgling sounds of satisfaction, could she still whisper back her love without fearing someone would hear her? How about other Hebrew wives whose own sons had been killed? Did she fear that they would report her out of their own jealousy in their grief? 
She must have looked over her shoulder a thousand times, wondering who was watching her as she took care of Moses and brought him out of his hiding place to nurse him and care for him. And it wasn’t for Moses’ sake alone that she feared, but in disobeying the Pharaoh, her own life was in danger. A double worry!
Edith Deen muses, “How Jochebed managed to save her son from Pharaoh’s edict during the first three months of Moses’ life is not recorded. We can imagine she might have hidden him in a donkey stable or a storage room where she kept clay jars filled with grain, peppercorns, onions, bread, dates, and other foods. But after he became three months old, she knew she could no longer take the risk of hiding him.” (pg 51, All of the Women of the Bible)
If we didn’t know the end of the story, any of us would be biting our fingernails wondering and fretting, “What will happen to Moses?” Without her faith in God, Jochebed wouldn’t have done such a courageous thing like hiding him. Even with her faith in God, she must have been scared to send him floating on the Nile River with no guarantee for the child’s protection. As she planned the idea of preparing the basket for its little bundle, I can only imagine the fearful thoughts swirling in her mind.
I just know he’ll wiggle and cry. The basket will tip over and he’ll be drowned.
I just know he’ll be discovered by a soldier who will kill him immediately.
I just know the river will sweep him downstream and we’ll never know what happened to him.
I just know the Princess will call the soldiers to have Moses killed.
I just know the crocodiles will eat him.
I just know…
Did Jochebed have such thoughts? Most mothers would have, yet she must have felt God was guiding her to take such a bold move. She didn’t just worry, wonder and fret; she took action as God led. She carefully arranged for Pharaoh’s daughter to find the baby in the river, and yet wasn’t the Princess the most dangerous person who could have possibly found him? Pharaoh’s daughter must have believed her father’s rhetoric about the destruction the Hebrew male children would bring Egypt: they were going to multiply and wipe out the Egyptians. Regardless, Jochebed put aside her worry and followed God’s plan, though it was the most outrageous plan there was: putting the child right into the enemy’s hands.
We know God brought something good out of her obedience: a deliverer for the Israelites and the founding of a great nation. We want to be like Jochebed and we can be! 
One way is to pay attention when we're saying, "I just know..." and it's followed by some kind of worry. And chances are, we don't really know! Our worry has taken over. 
Like Jochebed, obey God regardless of your "I just know..." and see God work to bring glory to His Name.

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