The Faith of Moses’ Parents

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict (Hebrews 11:23).

Moses was born in Egypt to Levite parents (Levi was a son of Jacob and a brother of Joseph) at a time when all male Hebrew newborns were to be killed, by edict of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. In the first chapter of Exodus, the midwives are given much credit for saving a multitude of Hebrew baby boys from this terrible law. The writer of Hebrews, however, chooses to focus in on the role of Moses’ parents:

Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him (Exodus 2:1-4).

This basket made its way down the Nile River and came to rest in the hands of the daughter of Pharaoh, who adopted Moses and raised him as a Prince of Egypt.

In the Exodus account it is not entirely clear that Moses’ parents hid Moses by faith. Of course, their love is apparent. As is their perception that Moses was a fine, or beautiful, child. How, then, can we say that this was an act of faith, and not merely an act of love?

The writer of Hebrews helps us by explaining; “… and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.” Love without faith might not have been enough to motivate Moses’ parents to defy Pharaoh. Accompanying this love was faith in God’s protection. We can imagine that their concealment of the baby was bathed in constant prayer. Dangerous undertakings do have a way of drawing us into a position of great dependance on the protection and provision of God. And so, motivated by love and affection, Moses’ parents hid their baby by faith, trusting in God to protect them all.

After three months Moses’ parents entrusted their baby to the Lord in a vivid way, floating him down the Nile in a minature ark. This too required faith, perhaps even greater faith than the first three months. God rewarded their faith by making Moses into Egyptian royalty, where he was to receive 40 years of preparation to be a Shepherd-Prince over the people of Israel (a second 40 years of shepherding in the Midian wilderness would be additionally required, but this is a story for another post).

The challenge for us likely does not involve hiding our children or floating them down the Nile. However, motivated by love we must also bathe our parenting in constant prayer, trusting God to care for our children. And, one day, perhaps not at three months of age, we too must release our children to the world. May it be that God will reward our faith and diligence as parents by making our children into heavenly royalty for the ages to come.

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