Great Lessons from a Godly Mother

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Great Lessons from a Godly Mother

Exodus 2:1-11

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - May 11, 2014

*Mother's Day is a very good thing, because it reminds us how much we owe the mothers in our lives. Mother's Day reminds us how much we should appreciate not just our own mothers, but our grandmothers, the mothers of our children, and the mothers of our church. Mother's Day reminds us how much we should appreciate you, not just one day a year, but every day for all of the things you do. And Moms, we thank God for you!

*Erma Bombeck once explained Mother's Day by saying: "The easiest part of being a mother is giving birth. The hardest part is showing up for it each day. Mother's Day is traditionally the day when children give something back to their mothers for all the spit they produced to wash dirty faces, all the old gum their mothers held in their hands, all the noses and fannies that were wiped, and all the bloody knees that were 'made well' with a kiss.

*This is the day mothers are rewarded for washing all those sheets in the middle of the night, driving kids to school when they missed the bus, and enduring all the football games in the rain. It's appreciation day for making them finish something, for not believing them when they said, 'I hate you,' for sharing their good times, and for sharing their bad times. Their cards probably won't reflect it, but what they are trying to say is 'Thank you Mom for showing up.'" (1)

*Moms matter, especially godly moms, and that includes the mom in our Scripture today. She was Moses' mother. Exodus 6 tells us that her name was "Jochebed," and that name sounds strange to us. But Jochebed was a great name, because it means "Jehovah is glory" or "The glory of Jehovah." And Jochebed brought great glory to God. She was a mom who mattered 3,500 years ago, and she still matters today. This godly mother has some great lessons for us all.

1. First: Jochebed teaches us that we should always follow God over government.

*Verses 1&2 help us see this essential truth. -- There:

1. . . A man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi.

2. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months.

*Jochebed hid her new baby for 3 months. That seems like a strange thing to do, especially today, when most people spread the news as far as we can. But Jochebed was a lowly Hebrew slave under the cruel tyranny of Egypt. Exodus Chapter 1 helps us understand how bad it was for the Jews to live as slaves in Egypt. Please look starting at vs. 7, where God's Word says:

7. . . The children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.

8. Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.

9. And he said to his people, "Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we;

10. come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.''

11. Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses.

*That word "afflict" means treating them in a hard way, threatening them, forcing God's people to bow down, making them depressed and downcast.

12. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel.

13. So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor.

*That word "rigor" means treating the Children of Israel with harshness and cruelty. The idea of this word was to fracture something or break it apart. The Egyptians were trying to shatter God's people.

14. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.

15. Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah;

16. and he said, "When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.''

17. But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive.

18. So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, "Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive?''

19. And the midwives said to Pharaoh, "Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them.''

20. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty.

21. And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them.

22. So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, "Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.''

*Moses' mother was in a desperate and dangerous situation. The law said that she had to murder her son by throwing him into the river.

*Rick Mobley says that this was: "a period of time in which every day was a dark, sad and miserable day for mothers, fathers and family members alike. God's people were under the oppression of a ruthless pharaoh or Egyptian King. Cold hearted and murderous, he had given the order to kill every male child born among God's people. Each baby boy was to be tossed into the Nile River and drowned. Precious lives, created in the image of God were being destroyed. . ."

*Then Pastor Mobley asked this question: "If you had of been there in the first chapter of Exodus what would you have done? Imagine for a moment that you lived back then, and you or someone you love was expecting a baby. You didn't know if it was a girl or a boy. If it was a girl, the news could spread throughout the community: 'We have a new baby!'

*But if it was a boy, you knew that the soldiers would come to make sure you threw your baby in the river. If you refused, you would be beaten or possibly killed. And the baby child would still be taken away and killed." (2)

*That was a time when it would have been easy to choose death. But Jochebed chose life. She treasured life, because God treasures life! Jochebed chose the Lord over man's law. She chose God's way over the government's way. And that's what we should do.

*This Old Testament story strongly reminds us that just because something is legal, doesn't mean it's right. Our first obligation is to follow God, knowing that He will never take us down the wrong road in life. Moses' mother teaches us to follow God over government.

2. She also teaches us to follow the heroes of our faith.

*We can see this lesson in vs. 3, where God's Word says this about Jochebed: "When she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank."

*How did Jochebed know to build that little boat? She probably recalled the Genesis story of Noah and the ark God told him to build, the story of how Noah's family escaped the great flood in an ark. I feel sure about this, because the Old Testament word used here for "ark" is only used in one other place, and that is the story of how God saved Noah's family and the animals in an ark.

*Moses' mother found the answer she needed by looking back to the heroes of our faith. And if you really want to know how to move forward in life, one of the best things you can do is look back.

*Look back to the heroes of our faith: Ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives, because they followed our extraordinary God. Jochebed teaches us to follow the heroes of our faith.

3. She also teaches us to depend on God's divine care.

*If we read between the lines in today's Scripture, we can surely see God taking care of Jochebed and baby, Moses. Please look starting in vs. 3:

3. But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank.

4. And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.

5. Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river. And her maidens walked along the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it.

6. And when she had opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children.''

7. Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?''

8. And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go.'' So the maiden went and called the child's mother.

9. Then Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.'' So the woman took the child and nursed him.

*Moses' mother was definitely depending on divine care, but that doesn't mean we sit back and do nothing. Jochebed did all she could do for Moses in vs. 3. Then she had her daughter, Miriam watch to see if anything else could be done.

*Jochebed did all she could. But there is only so much we can do, and we have to cast our cares on God. We have to turn the situation over to God, even though it's not always easy to do.

*Marc Bertrand brought this story to life with these questions for Jochebed: "What were you thinking Jochebed? Did you weep as you wove the little basket? Did you pray as you covered the little ark with tar? Did the other children pry you with questions? Did you tell them the story of Noah and the ark that God used to save his life? Did your faith waver? Did you feel hollow from hopelessness? Did you feel weak and powerless? Did you dare to sing to your baby as you wove the little ark? Did you brush his cheek one last time and kiss his little forehead before you closed the lid? Did you dare to hope that the God you depended on had some sort of plan? Did you dare to hope your child would see another day? Or was it all you could do to just pray?" (3)

*It is not always easy to trust in God. But there comes a time when we have done all we can, and we must count on God to take care of us. And we can count on God to take care of us, because He will!

*God made a way for Moses, and He will make a way for us! This was a big river. The Nile is one of the biggest rivers in the world.

-There was no way Jochebed could have known she would put Moses in the river at just the right place, at just the right time, but God knew!

-There was no way she could have known that Pharaoh's daughter would have compassion on the baby, but God knew!

-There was no way Moses' mother could have known that Pharaoh's daughter would allow Jochebed to care for her own baby, but God knew! And Jochebed even got paid to take care of baby Moses!

*Someone said that God turned the river of death into a river of life for Moses. And God can make us overcomers in an overwhelming situation. Jochebed trusted in the Lord. And so should we!

*Do you know that God cares for you? We can see signs of God's love all around us, and all through this story. We can see God's love in His faithful followers, like the midwives who spared those baby boys. We can see God's love in mothers like Jochebed: Mothers who do all they can for her children.

*Think of a Godly mother's love. That's one of the ways that God loves you. In Isaiah 66:13, the Lord speaks to those who love His city, Jerusalem. And God said: "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem."

*In Isaiah 49, God said:

15. "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

16. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me."

*In Isaiah 46:3-4, the Lord also made this plea:

3. "Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth.

4. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."

*God loves us with a good mother's love, only infinitely more. We can even see this kind of love in the Egyptian mother who adopted Moses. Pharaoh's daughter had compassion on a stranger, on someone who was weak and defenseless, on someone who was totally helpless on his own. And that is the way God has compassion on us: Reaching down to draw us out of danger, even dying on the cross to save us from our sins.

*How foolish we would be to reject a love like that! If you have never opened your heart to Jesus Christ, you should run to Him, and receive Him as the Lord and Savior of your life. Jesus is the one who really saved Moses, so long ago, and He is the only one who can save us today!

*Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will save your soul. But Jesus will also help you in every situation of life. And Moses' mother teaches us to depend on God's divine care.

4. She also teaches us to pass our faith on to future generations.

*Again we have to read between the lines. But in vs. 9-11, we can understand how Jochebed passed her faith on to little Moses:

9. Then Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.'' So the woman took the child and nursed him.

10. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, "Because I drew him out of the water.''

11. Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren (i.e. the Children of Israel) and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.

*Way back when Jochebed was taking care of Moses, she wasn't just giving him physical food, she was giving him spiritual food. Moses' mom was bringing her children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. She passed her faith on to them.

*And vs. 11 reminds us that though Moses grew up with all the splendor of Egypt, he never forgot that he was part of the family of God. The New Testament makes this truth clear in Hebrews 11:23-27. There the Word of God says:

23. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's command.

24. By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter,

25. choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,

26. esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

27. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.

*All of this happened, because Mom and Dad were willing to pass their faith on, and we must do the same. As a church, we must care about children, and do all we can to pass on our faith in Jesus Christ.

*Aren't you glad somebody passed the faith on to you!


*Today we have seen some great lessons from a godly mother, great lessons for all of us:

-Follow God over government.

-Follow the heroes of our faith.

-Depend on God's divine care.

-And do all you can to pass our faith on to future generations.

*Ask the Lord to help us do these things, as we go to God in prayer.

(1) Adapted from Erma Bombeck, BEING A MOM MEANS YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP. - St. Louis Post-Dispatch - 05-09-1993 - p. 12C - Sources: illustrations for Mothers Day 2003 and SermonCentral sermon "Payday for Mom" by Russell Brownworth - Exodus 2:9

(2) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "God Is Working It Out" by Rick Gillespie Mobley - Exodus 2:1-10

(3) SermonCentral sermon "Moses and the Ark" by Marc Bertrand - Exodus 2:1-10

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