A Baby in the Bath Water
February 8 - Nº 39 Exodus 2:1-10
During the time of extreme persecution against the Hebrews, an ordinary young couple (whose names are not even mentioned until later in the book of Exodus) had a baby. This was their third child, and it was a boy. This created a problem since Pharaoh had just issued the edict demanding that any male child born into a Hebrew family had to be tossed into the Nile River. The young couple refused to obey. For three months they hid their secret from everyone. But as the baby grew bigger, his cries grew stronger, and their secret grew harder to keep. It wouldn’t be long until someone heard or saw him and reported their disobedience to the authorities. Realizing she would have to do something creative in order to save her baby and her family, Jochabed (whose name is finally given in Exodus 6:20) made a special waterproof basket from papyrus reeds and covered it with tar. She placed her baby inside and carried it down to the Nile River. Gently she placed it among the reeds—and let it go! Miriam, the baby’s older sister, was assigned to keep an eye on the basket and keep her parents informed. Certainly no one would suspect a young girl walking along the riverbank to be involved in a plot to save her baby brother. In a twisted way, Jochabed was obeying Pharaoh’s sinister command. She had put her newborn baby boy in the Nile River—which is exactly what he had ordered. She had just done it gently! And she happened to do it in the same place that Pharaoh’s daughter often came to take a bath. This bath was probably a ceremonial act of cleansing and worship that the princess performed routinely to please the gods of the river—especially Hapi, the god of fertility that was believed to live in the Nile. (Jochabed had probably researched and planned this all out very carefully.) Sure enough, Pharaoh’s daughter saw the basket floating among the reeds and sent a servant to retrieve it. When she opened it, the little boy was crying. The princess immediately felt compassion for him. She knew right away that it must be one of the Hebrew babies. By then, Miriam had edged her way close enough to pipe up, “Do you want me to find a Hebrew mother who can nurse this baby for you?” The princess thought this was a great idea, so Miriam ran to get her own mother. Can you imagine the scene as Jochabed breathlessly waited for information about her baby boy and Miriam excitedly tried to explain that the princess needed her to come to the palace right away and nurse him?
The princess then offered to pay Jochabed to take the baby (her own son) home and care for him until he was old enough to be weaned. At that time, she would return the child to be raised in the palace. Ironically, the very king who wanted him dead was now responsible for his life! Pharaoh’s daughter named him Moses because she “drew him out of the water.”
Are you willing to let go of things that are precious to you and allow God to take control? Do you believe He has the power to work out even the most unlikely situations? Do you believe He cares enough to do what is best?