Four Lessons from the Life of Jochebed

In the midst of a national decree that all boys—sons of Hebrew women—should be thrown into the Nile, Jochebed gives birth to a beautiful boy. It may have been a time of despair for many women, but not for her. Trusting in the promise that God would raise a deliverer, and going against Pharaoh’s command, these parents decided that they would do their best to keep their son from being sacrificed. They hid him for three months. Their faith, especially that mother’s, is inspiring, and we should learn from it.

A woman of action

Jochebed proved to be a woman of action. She didn’t stand by waiting for God to do everything, rather, she knew that she needed to cooperate with Him by doing what was within her reach and leaving the impossible in His hands. She devoted herself to the task. When it was no longer possible to hide her baby, Jochebed came up with a plan. She didn’t take just any basket and place it anywhere in the river. Instead, she waterproofed the basket with tar and bitumen. Then, she placed the basket in the reeds near the princess’ bathing place, set Miriam to watch, and placed her trust in God. Having done her part, she knew that only God could finish the work.

Plan A: prayer

Despite knowing that from that moment on nothing was under her control, she placed her hope in God. She didn’t succumb to paralyzing grief; instead, she took hold of what should always be our first option: prayer. She fervently prayed and entrusted her son’s life to God, and angels were sent to take care of him.

A formative education

Under the command of Pharaoh’s daughter, Jochebed’s son returned home for her to raise him as a wet nurse. She grasped the opportunity and deeply devoted herself to the education of the boy. She knew that, at some point, he would be taken to the palace and called “the son of Pharaoh’s daughter”. It was imperative that he receive a solid foundation, educated and well-grounded in God. She warned him against the sin of idolatry and taught him to love God and His righteousness, as well as to bow down and pray to the only God who could ever come to his aid. At the age of twelve, the boy left the little hut to live in the royal palace, but he never forgot what he had learned while with his mother. The education he had been given in his formative years was a wall of protection against pride, disbelief, and vice.

A mother’s lasting influence

What Moses became and the mission he fulfilled proved constant witnesses to the important work done by his Hebrew mother. He could have chosen the glories of this world, but “by faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;”(Hebrews 11:24-25).

Jochebed was greatly rewarded for cooperating with God in the education of her son, for that boy later became the deliverer of Israel. God has extraordinary plans for our children today. Can He count on us for His work to be fulfilled? What teachings have we passed on to our children? May God give us the strength to be modern Jochebeds.

P.S. To read more details about this incredible story, read chapter 22 of the book Patriarchs and Prophets.

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