Inspiring Mothers: Jochebed

I really enjoy watching old movies through the eyes of my kids. Easter was made extra fun this year with their debut viewing of The Prince of Egypt. They had so many questions. The visual of the blood on the doorposts, the passover lamb, lead to an impactful discussion of Jesus and how He is our passover lamb. And seeing the Hebrew people work as slaves was meaningful as one of my girls’ favorite historical characters is Harriet Tubman.

Slavery and the abuse of one people to benefit another is not new. But the retelling of these stories is captivating every time. What they endured is heartbreaking. What they overcame is remarkable. And one such remarkable woman is Jochebed, the mother of Moses.

We know very little about Jochebed herself. We know her name and that she belonged to the tribe of Levi. Her husband was Amram and she bore three children; Moses, Miriam, and Aaron. At the time of Moses’ conception, the Hebrew people were being severely oppressed by the Pharaoh of Egypt. As their population grew, Pharaoh became uneasy, fearing that the Hebrews would revolt against the Egyptians. So he ordered every male child born to a Hebrew woman to be murdered, thrown into the crocodile-infested waters of the Nile River.

Under this order, Moses was born. Jochebed could not sentence her son to death so she hid him for three months. When she could hide him no longer, she made a basket and laid Moses into it. Placing the basket and baby in that same Nile River, Jochebed had her daughter Miriam follow it. Pharaoh’s daughter found the basket carrying baby Moses and her compassion spared him. Miriam seized the opportunity and offered to help the princess by finding a Hebrew woman to nurse the child, and Moses was reunited with his mother.

But this reunion would be temporary. Once Moses was weaned, he was taken to Pharaoh’s daughter to be raised as her son. Jochebed had to let her son go. In fact, she let him go twice. The first time was when she placed his basket in the Nile river. The second was when she surrendered him to Pharaoh’s daughter.

The name Jochebed means “Jehovah is our glory” and though we know more about her children than we do her, the name has become her legacy. Jochebed believed in God. She obeyed Him and surrendered what she held most dear to Him. Her life was the greatest book of faith her children had to read.

Moses became one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. Aaron was Israel’s first high priest. Miriam was a gifted poetess and musician and was influential in the lives of both of her brothers. Such remarkable children do not happen by chance. It requires intentional training from a person of remarkable faith. The remarkable faith of a mother like Jochebed.

Jochebed didn’t live to see the great achievements of her children, but they did not forget her. Under desperate circumstances her faith grew strong, and her life prepared them for theirs. The greatest thing Jochebed did was raise God-fearing children. Children who literally changed the course of history.

“Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.”

Andy Stanley

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Abundantly More – Knowing God and Making God Known.

The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River.

Exodus 2:2-3 NLT

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