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Jochebed: Brave Trust

March 4, 2010

Welcome back for the next post in a new series With Child: Meditations on the Meaning of Motherhood. If you missed the previous posts, you can catch up by reading about Sarah, Hagar, and  Rebekah. Join me as I study the mothers of the Bible and discover what lessons can be learned from their lives. Come back each week for a new post in this series . . .

Exodus 1-2

Despite Pharaoh’s order to put all male Israelite babies to death, Jochebed sees to it that her baby, Moses, is kept alive. While hiding Moses for three months, Jochebed carefully weaves a floating basket. Then, she tenderly puts her child in it, and floats him into the Nile.

We see clearly in this story that God is directing matters in His sovereignty. However, Jochebed shows nerve, creativity, and trust in a heart-wrenching situation. It can possibly be assumed Jochebed knew the daughter of Pharaoh bathed at the exact spot she placed the baby in that reedy water. Instructing older daughter Miriam to watch over the floating child, She obviously expected something to happen.

What emotions ran through Jochebed as she placed baby Moses in that basket, not knowing if she’d see him again alive? Would the basket hold? Would it tip, drowning the child in the dangerous waters? If she anticipated Pharaoh’s daughter finding him, that too was a risk. Pharaoh’s daughter could have viewed the Israelites as scum and ordered the baby drowned then and there. She could have feared her father’s wrath too much to take him in.

It was indeed a great risk for Jochebed, as she tenderly tucked as blanket around her child, whose eyes looked up at her with wide-eyed trust. But she’d already risked much in keeping him alive since birth. The only chance for Moses to survive was to risk even more!

When Pharaoh’s daughter discovers the small babe amongst the reeds and decides to keep him, Moses’ sister does some quick thinking (or had she been instructed in how to act by her mother?) and goes to fetch a nurse for Moses. Of course, it’s Jochabed.

I also find myself pondering what kind of woman Pharaoh’s daughter was. Was she married and barren, thus welcoming a chance to “adopt” a child? Was she single? What did she tell her father when, coming home from bathing, she brought with her a baby? An Israelite child at that? Did she have to stand up to her father in order to keep Moses? Or was she the apple of her father’s eye, indulged to do whatever she liked? Was she keen enough to know the nurse was really the baby’s mother? I’d wager a guess she did.

Regardless, baby Moses lives. Not only does he live he gets to spend some more months or even years with his mother and the rest of his family until he’s weaned. The ending is a happy one, because Jochebed was willing to risk so much on behalf of her son!

Jochebed is a woman of brave trust. Her actions are carefully planned and wise, exhibiting bravery in the face of Pharaoh’s orders. But in the end, as her fingers lost their hold on the little basket as it slipped into the water, she had to trust God for the outcome. Moses was now literally and figuratively out of her hands.

There’s a point in every mother’s life when she must do the same. Wisdom and planning are exhausted and now there must be a letting go. All that’s left is brave trust in God, who oversees the situation, no matter how difficult. Whether it’s a mother with a sick child who’s ailing she can’t heal or a rebellious teenager who scoffs at his mother’s care, there comes a point when we’ve done all we can do. Now we must wait and see what God will do.

And that takes brave trust.

Has there been a time you’ve experienced brave trust in a difficult situation as a mother (or if you’re not a mother, some other situation)? What did you learn?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2010 9:11 pm

    What a powerful post, Danielle, and how well I can relate….leaving my daughter in the special care nursery at UCC and then the NICU at Hopkins, making the decision these past two years to withhold treatment of Judah’s growth hormone deficiency, even letting my boys go off to Kgarten (may sound so pathetic especially given the fact that I have entrusted one son to the care/expertise of a brain surgeon!)

    This aspect of motherhood has actually taken me by surprise, I think. I don’t think I could have anticipated how hard it is to let go before I had children. And, even now, I know I probably can’t imagine how difficult the future moments of “letting go” will be, but I know GOD will have gone before me and that gives me sufficient courage to press on to those moments and get to those moments w/ my children knowing I can and will “let go”.

    • March 5, 2010 8:46 am

      You’ve certainly been tested had to “let go” earlier and more often than many mothers, Briana. I’m sure having gone through so much in this area, you’ll be able to encourage many other mothers in hard times to have “brave trust” and give them the testimony of your personal experience!


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