I don’t like rereading books. Even my favorite book Pride and Prejudice I have only read once. I tried to read it again years later, but I had listened to the audio version and seen multiple movies based on the storyline that the book no longer held wonder and suspense. I already knew what was going to happen. My attitude was, “Yeah, yeah, Lydia runs off with this guy. Yuck. Mr. Darcy’s sisters are mean. Get on with the good stuff.” Unfortunately this happens all too often with me and really good books. Even ones that hold good spiritual wisdom.
I think for some of us this happens with the Bible. We grow up in the church and we hear Bible stories over and over from the time we’re very little. The stories no longer hold a feeling of wonder and suspense. We know Joseph will rise to power when he’s sold as a slave and later thrown in prison. We know David will defeat Goliath and that Daniel will come out of the lion’s den unscathed. We don’t really feel the agony of the Biblical character. We don’t think about their faith and trust in God, or their feelings of despondency because we already know everything will be OK.
I’ve been reading the book The Invisible Hand by R.C. Sproul. The book is about God’s providence. I’m in chapter 4 and in each chapter he’s kind of highlighted a different story and shown how God’s providence has worked through the details. Chapter 4 is about Moses. And it really hit me.
When Moses was born Pharaoh had “commanded all his people, ‘Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.’” Because this was commanded to “all his people” I’m assuming that if any Egyptian saw a Hebrew baby boy they had every right to take the child from the mother and toss the little boy into the Nile. Can you imagine? Exodus 2 tells us that Moses’ mother (we don’t know her name) [Correction: Her name is Jochebed, found in Exodus 6:20] hid him for 3 months and that she could do so no longer. I’m thinking that more than likely someone found out about the little Hebrew baby boy and she felt the panic of having someone knock down her door and wrench her baby out of her arms only to have him tossed into the river.
So, she made a basket (Talk about crafty! I wonder if she was wishing she had better materials), covered it with tar and pitch (Hoping it wouldn’t leak. I mean, could she really assure herself at this point in time of it’s buoyancy or it being leak proof?), and put the little boat in the river. The mother knew that she couldn’t raise her little baby. She didn’t spy Pharaoh’s daughter and purposefully float the baby to her. No, she put the baby in the river, the very place the child was supposed to be cast into the river, thrown to his death. She couldn’t allow it, so she did what she could to extend his life, just a bit longer. I wonder if other mothers were doing the same thing.
Miriam, the baby’s sister stood at a distance “to know what would be done to him.” I wonder if her mother asked her to come with her and follow the basket, or if out of childhood curiosity, sneaked out of the house and followed her mother wondering what her mom was doing with her brother. She saw her mom place the baby in the river and then, as far as we know, continued to watch the basket. For how long, we don’t know.
At this point, Moses’s mother probably went home to mourn the loss of her child. The basket wasn’t to be his salvation, it was only supposed to cushion the sure death that would eventually befall him. Can you imagine, she kissed her baby’s head, placed him in the basket, watching to see that it wouldn’t immediately sink, the tears falling already as she says goodbye to her son. She runs home to mourn in peace, only to have Miriam bursting through the door sometime later. “Mommy, Mommy!” An exhausted, emotionally depleted mother loving her daughter but missing her son, “What child?!” “Mommy, Pharaoh’s daughter found our baby and wants to raise him, but needs a wet nurse. Come quickly! I told her I would bring her a Hebrew wet nurse!”
I’m sure if Moses’ mother did know that Miriam was watching over the basket she was expecting Miriam’s statement to be, “The basket sank, Mama, baby brother is gone.” Or “I followed the river as far as I could. He’s floating safely away.” Instead, she got something that was completely unexpected: More time with her precious baby. She probably never dreamed in a thousand years that Yaweh would bring her baby boy back to her. But according to God’s providence he swirled the river’s rapids to carry the basket down the river, to have Pharaoh’s daughter bathe right as the basket was near by. He softened her heart (Remember, she had every right to find the baby and toss him in the water, no questions asked. Doing that would have been obedient to her father.) God had Miriam close by and gave her the quick wit to offer to get a Hebrew woman for the wet nurse. God provided in a miraculous, unexpected way for Moses’ family.
Here I sit in 2011, friends from church have traveled to Haiti and are building a house and providing much needed food to people in the hospital. Here I sit a week from my car accident while Japan is trying to survive from their earthquake and avoid the worst of a nuclear melt down. Here I sit wondering what car to drive while people in New Zealand are still wondering where they will live.
The Lord is great. He will provide a vehicle for my family and I believe it will, in the end, be a blessing. But I tend to be near-sighted about things, to be impatient, and want answers now. I am thankful that I still have a standing house. I know the Lord is great and he has a purpose behind the earthquakes in Japan, Haiti, and New Zealand. I can have comfort in the providence of God to bring us all through another day. And I pray for the people of those countries that they will not only be provided with the food and shelter that they so desperately need and seek but that the Lord will also reveal Himself to them and give them the everlasting hope and joy that comes in knowing God and being able to rest in His providence.
As He is in control of the swirl of a river to save Moses from sure death, He is in control of a rumbling ground, and a car accident in Midvale, UT. Thank you Lord for your sure hand.