Exodus 2:1-10

The story of Moses's birth is one of the best known and loved in the Bible. There is something about the way in which he was hidden among the reeds and found by the princess, then given to his own mother to look after, which captures the imagination - not least of the Disney script writers! But are there issues here for us to think about?

The story is a classic 'rags to riches' one - except that from riches Moses goes to rags again until called back into the limelight as an old man, to rescue God's people. The setting is one of great oppression, with the Israelites being a slave nation in the land of Egypt, yet multiplying so fast that the Egyptians felt they had to legislate for population control by infanticide. The feelings of Moses' parents when he was born can only be imagined: the birth of a baby boy should have been followed by his being thrown into the Nile as soon as an Egyptian found him. However, Moses' mother was prepared to risk looking after him in secret; in Hebrews 11:23 we are told that Moses' parents hid him 'by faith', because they saw he was a fine child. Was it only his physical appearance that marked him out? Or did they believe that he was somehow blessed by God and that it was worth taking risks for him?

The next risk was even greater. No longer able to keep him hidden, Moses' mother decides to throw him into the Nile herself - but in a little boat! Was she throwing him onto the mercy of God? My guess is that she knew Pharaoh's daughter would come down to bathe at that spot - it would probably be a ritual bath, since both the Nile and Pharaoh were revered by Egyptians as divine. The fact that Miriam was there to see how events turned out, and to offer her mother as a wet-nurse, implies careful planning as well as great hope in the daughter of Pharaoh's compassion - or her hope in her superstitious reception of a baby given her by the Nile! Moses' mother would have nursed him for well over three years, probably - enough not only to get him 'house trained' but also given a sense of identity and the beginnings of a faith in the God of his ancestors. Her faith and the considerable risks she took were justified by the outcome, though she would not have lived to see Moses' eventual importance.

1. There is great oppression of Christians in some countries. Should we be involved in supporting them?
2. Are there any lessons here for mothers?

Back to the top

The Big Idea | An Introduction to cells | Cells in rural ministry
Ideas for meetings | Welcome | Worship | Word | Witness
Ideas for equipping | home study resources | course materials | Encounter weekend
Links | About Cell-Ideas | Email