Jochebed’s story is the third part of our eight week Bible study – Ordinary Parents with Extraordinary Faith. If you want to read the first two Bible studies check out:
Jochebed’s story is one of trust, courage, and faith. Here’s a woman who was able to trust God with her own child during a time where life and death hung in the balance. When you take a closer look at her story, it challenges you deeply. Can you trust God with those things that you hold close to your heart? Can you let go completely?
I have asked myself regularly these questions. I look at my children and realize that I can’t control their lives, choices or destiny. I find myself wondering if I can really trust God to not mess it up. Or, I look at my husband and my marriage, realizing that in many ways it hasn’t gone according to my plans and ideals. The disappointment that threatens to sink in can be overwhelming at times. Life has a way of forcing us to confront the truth about how much we really trust God with our whole lives including our marriages, children, and future.
As I’m writing this, I am remembering a conversation with God where he told me that it was ok to “lose” myself in him because that would be where I would find myself. He was giving me permission to let go and dive deep into his presence, love, and faithfulness. I was terrified that if I did that I would lose my marriage because of where my husband was spiritually (at that time). The thing is, we end up gaining more after we let go than if we held on.
Ah, but I digress. Let’s look at Jochebed’s story
Jochebed’s story – an overview
The name Jochebed means “glory of Jehovah”. Jochebed and Amram were both from the tribe of Levi and together had three children: Miriam and Aaron were the oldest. I find it interesting to note that both Moses’ parents were from the tribe of Levi which would later become the tribe that would be called to minister in the presence of God as priests. What an honor!
Moses was born during the time when Pharaoh had sent out a decree for all male Hebrew babies to be killed immediately after birth. This decree had been passed out of fear that the Israelites would over-populate the Egyptian nation. Fortunately, the Hebrew midwives did all they could to preserve the lives of the Hebrew baby boys.
While this was happening around her, Jochebed gave birth to Moses and when “she saw that he was a goodly child” (Exodus 2:2) she knew that his life had to be saved. At that time, a “goodly child” meant a child was both beautiful to look at and held divine favor. Knowing the promises God had given to her forefathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), Jochebed understood that some significant calling and purpose was on Moses’ life. Her heart resonated with intent and conviction. Could this be the deliverer the Israelites so desperately needed?
Thus, Jochebed hid her son for three months while she nursed and cherished him. Yet, she knew that he couldn’t say with her for much longer. So, she wove a basket from papyrus and sealed it with pitch and tar in order for it to float on the water. Jochebed placed her baby into the basket and set it carefully into the reeds of the Nile River. Miriam was asked to watch over the baby.
Pharaoh’s daughter and maidservants were on the river banks when they heard the baby cry. The moment Pharaoh’s daughter saw Moses, she had compassion for him knowing he was a Hebrew baby. She told Miriam to go and fetch a Hebrew mother to nurse the baby. Miriam immediately went to Jochebed who was then given back her baby to nurse and wean. Plus, she would get paid for nursing the baby. After he was weaned, Moses would join Pharaoh’s daughter in the royal palace and live with her.
Jochebed’s story holds several lessons for us in our walk with God. These lessons aren’t easy to apply yet they are stretching and will grow us in our walk with God. Will they be worth it? I believe so.
#1 Recognizing God’s hand in our situations
Jochebed had grown up knowing the promises of God over the Israelites. These promises were giving them hope and patience while they waited for God to send a deliverer to free them from the “slavery” they were enduring under the Egyptians. Likewise, we need to know the promises that God has spoken over us, our families, and our futures. These need to be deep in our hearts and in our prayers as God leads us.
We also need to be able to recognize the hand print of God in our situations or the opportunities that present itself. God allowed Moses to look beautiful as a sign to his parents that he was favored of God. God loves to let us know that he is bringing the answer to our prayers and heart’s cries. He does this because he loves us. We need to ask God to help us recognize his hand in our situations and circumstances so that we can recognize his answer to our prayers no matter how different they are to our expectations.
#2 Trusting God with those things we hold close to our hearts
I don’t think I will ever forget the time that God challenged me to trust him with my family and really let go. It was so hard. I remember thinking to myself “but God, I really love them. They are my treasure.” Often, God wants us to trust him with those things that are dearest to us. Why does he do this?
I’d like to propose that one of the reasons God asks us to surrender those things to him is because he is a jealous God. Our treasures can easily become our idols. We may not mean for that to happen, but it often does end up that way. We put other things or people first in our hearts.
God wants us to trust him fully, to be single-mindedly devoted to him. He wants all of us – the good, bad, ugly, and beautiful. This includes our treasures. For me, it is my marriage and my children. It may be something totally different for you. Can you give it to God?
#3 Faith in God’s character and sovereignty
Jochebed knew the character of God including his sovereignty. Although I fervently believe that God is a good father, I also am convinced that he is majestic, sovereign and mighty. Jochebed knew that God was sovereign and trustworthy. She knew that if Moses truly was favored of God then God would provide a way for him and save his life. She knew that no one could stop God’s plans.
In our situations, whatever they are, we can trust that God is for us. This conviction helps us to let go and trust in God’s faithfulness, goodness, and righteousness. He is a good father who is on our side. He will provide, protect, and restore. Yes, it may look different to what we would have liked or thought but it is always much better.
#4 Receiving more than we gave
When we let go completely of those things we hold close to our heart, God always give us back more than we expected. He redeems us and lavishes us with his love. Jochebed received both a salary and her baby from Pharoah’s daughter. I don’t think she expected either let alone both.
God honors us when we take a step of faith and risk everything we have for him. God always responds to faith:
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
You can trust that God will always give you back more than you gave him (Luke 6:38). He is safe and trustworthy.
Subscribe today to get access to the FREE Resource Library as well as weekly encouragement and so much more.