A Godly Mother
Good morning. For the past ten or so decades in the US we have celebrated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Mark will not be with us this morning and it has been sort of a tradition that he speak on holidays. I suppose I am going to break that tradition today and talk about a godly woman that all of us can learn from.
We're grateful for mothers. Where would we be without them? Well, we wouldn't be, and that is God's design. It was His wisdom, His plan for there to be mothers. We're so thankful for that.
We're going to talk about a lady by the name of Jochebed. She's only mentioned twice by name in the scriptures.
Can you think of anyone else in the world that has more potential for a positive influence on a child than a mother? Jochebed was a godly mother who by faith brought God into the life of her son Moses in a great way. I think we can safely say that behind every great man is a mother.
A mother creates a close bond with her children that will last for a lifetime. A mother's influence will be either positive or negative.
A mother has the opportunity, like Timothy's mother, to plant the seeds of faith in a child that can lead to that child living a life for the Lord and being a servant to others. One of life's greatest blessings is to be and to have a godly mother.
Abraham Lincoln declared, “No man is poor who has a godly mother.” Lincoln understood that it was never the money that made the man, but the character of the man that defined him. But where does that character come from? I submit that we often find that character developed from the nurturing, care, and love of our mother. All life begins with our mother, and it is from our mother that we first take in this world. One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is to be a godly parent. That's what we should be striving for.
This morning. I want us to consider the example of a godly mother in the Old Testament taken from the pages of the book of Exodus… the mother of Moses, the human writer of that book. Her name was Jochebed. We're going to first talk about her identity as we look at who she was. She's mentioned in Exodus 2:1-10 but not by name. We learn her name in other places.
I. Read with me if you will, in the second chapter of Exodus, verses one through ten. Exodus 2:1-10 – “1. And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. 2. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. 3. But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank. 4. And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him. 5. Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river. And her maidens walked along the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. 6. And when she had opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children.'' 7. Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?'' 8. And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go.'' So the maiden went and called the child's mother. 9. Then Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.'' So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, "Because I drew him out of the water.''”[NKJV]
A. Here is the story of the birth of Moses. His mother’s name is not given but we do find her name elsewhere—Exodus 6:20 mentions her by name and also in Numbers 26:59. We don't know a whole lot about her. She's kind of played down, but I think what she did is remarkable. I’ll read Numbers 26:59 – “The name of Amram's wife was Jochebed the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt; and to Amram she bore Aaron and Moses and their sister Miriam.”
1. In the Hebrew pronunciation, the J takes on a Y sound, yokobed. It means the glory of Jehovah. I think that is fitting, and as we look at her see why I think that.
2. Jochebed was an Israelite, one of God's chosen people, to bring a savior into the world. She was also a member of the tribe of Levi, which would become the priestly tribe that later would do the duties of the Tabernacle and eventually of the Temple.
B. The Scriptures in Genesis 15:13 had prophesied that the children of Israel would be in bondage in Egypt for 400 years. There's no evidence that Jochebed knew that her son would be the one who would lead his people. We don't have any record of God ever speaking to Jochebed like He did to Abraham and to others. She was not among the high and mighty, she was not among the rich and famous. She was just a poor Hebrew slave. What else can we say about her? Though her name is mentioned little, we'll never forget what she did and how God used her to accomplish a great purpose.
II. Nothing will have a more profound influence on the lives of our children than their having a good, godly example in their homes. Our children are bundles of potentiality. We need to develop that while the opportunity is there. It may escape us. It will become too late because children won't wait to grow up. We can't put them on hold. Children must be developed, and nobody born is born a great person. They need to be developed. They must be made persons, great persons, prayer and instruction.
A. What does a Godly mother look like? She's certainly one who prays and she's one who teaches her children. We read in the Book of Deuteronomy 11:18-21 – “18. "Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19. "You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20. "And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21. "that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.”
B. A person sets an example by the life that they lead. We see that when Paul talks to Timothy in the Book of Second Timothy 1:5 – where he says, “when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice [u-nus], and I am persuaded is in you also.” The influence of a mother and a grandmother cannot be exaggerated. Some one who has a compassionate heart, and stands firm in her faith.
C. Jochebed was a Godly woman who stood by her faith in some very difficult circumstances. Let’s look at what is going on with Jochebed. She faces a great dilemma. She was living in a hostile environment. Jochebed’s life was no bed of roses. She was born in Egypt of the tribe of Levi. She must face the difficulty of slavery, it is the life she is born into.
III. Let’s look at some verses that describe the situation she is in. First, in Exodus 1:8-14 – “8. Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9. And he said to his people, "Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; 10. "come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.'' 11. Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel. 13. So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor. 14. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.” ,
A. The Egyptians were very hard on them. Not only did they build, they also had to take care of the fields. In Exodus 3:7 – “And the Lord said: "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.” God was aware of what was going on with them. He mentions it again in verse nine where he says, “… behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.”
B. Pharaoh was not satisfied with the results of this oppression and so he issued the edict we read about in Exodus 1:15-16 – “Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah; and he said, "When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.''”.
1. We know that every child is special in the eyes of God and made in the image of God. Pharaoh didn't have any respect for God's image, and thus he could give an order like he did for those children to be killed.
2. Scripture then tells us that the midwives feared God and did not obey the edict. God protected the midwives and the Hebrews increased.
3. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, "Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.'' Verse 22. The Egyptians dreaded the Israelites. They made their lives difficult, and they worked the people mercilessly for no good reason. In hatred and fear of the Hebrews, Pharaoh ordered the Midwives to kill the male babies. When the Midwives didn't do that, he ordered the male infants be cast into the Nile River that was infested with crocodiles.
C. There was great peril with Pharaoh's edict, great danger. Disobedience could easily cost one a life in prison, if not death itself. Jochebed did not allow herself to surrender to the hopelessness of life as a slave in Egypt. That would have been easy to do.
1. We live in a world that's hostile toward Christianity, biblical Christianity, and toward Christians. Though we don't have the overt persecution that the Israelites faced at the hands of the Egyptians. We used to say people were becoming more indifferent to Christianity. Now we find they're becoming more opposed, intolerant and antagonistic toward Christianity in our world and in our nation.
2. We observe that as we see them brazenly promoting the killing of infants in the womb. In their pride, they parade their sexual promiscuity, their perversion, before others.
3. In John 15:18, Jesus said, - “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”
4. Godly people must resist, and they must counter the ways of the world in its intolerance toward Christianity. We must teach against and resist evil.
IV. Let's now talk about Jochebed’s courage. She was a courageous woman. She refused to go with the flow, and she refused to consider her own life, her own comfort and her own convenience and safety. She refused to bow to Egypt's demands.
A. The Bible tells us about her courage. She refused to obey the evil command. She knew the decree that Pharaoh had made. It was a dangerous thing. She knew that her baby's life would be forfeited if she didn't do something… but if she refused and disobeyed she knew that her own life was on the line.
B. We read in Acts 5:29 – “… we’re to obey God rather than men”. What's she going to do? The decree went against everything that was humane and right and moral and good. It's something that she had to deal with, and it's just as repulsive today when we have to deal with things like that.
1. Jochebed fearing God more than she feared man, made a decision that put her life in jeopardy.
2. That decision resulted in saving a nation, and by the way, it gave the world a savior. This woman, who is little known, did something that affected the outcome of the world when she saved her son. She was just a slave, a nobody, but she accomplished great things.
C. Many wonder how a mother could make any other decision? How can a mother ever think of killing her child? We wonder about that, but today, the statistics of abortion rates in the USA alone are staggering.
1. By seeking to preserve Moses’ life, she saved the life of Israel's future lawgiver, leader and the writer of the Book of Exodus.
2. A historian, wrote about a man by the name of Isaac. In his book it says Isaac's birth took place on a cold winter day in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England. The son of a farmer who died three months before he was born.
a. He was born in 1642 prematurely, and not expected to live. His mother, Hannah, reportedly said that he could have fit inside a quart mug.
b. His mother was having a hard time running the farm and looking after her new baby. The first English Civil War had started in August of 1642 and war was raging around them.
c. Some people today would think it would have been easier for Isaac's mother if she had aborted him. His mother wouldn't consider it.
d. That’s just as well for the world. Isaac grew up to be a scientific genius. Isaac was the one who discovered the law of gravity. He revolutionized mathematics by developing calculus. He improved the telescope. He became famous for his work in physics and mathematics and astronomy. Isaac was the first person to receive knighthood for scientific achievement.
e. When he died in 1727 at the age of 84, the government honored him by burying him in London's famous Westminster Abbey.
f. Certainly it might have been easier for his mother to abort this child who became Sir Isaac Newton, a believer in God, but the world would never have known the greatest scientist who ever lived if she had done that. How many geniuses has the world lost through abortion? We will never know.
V. Well, we’ve talked a little about Jochebed, her identity, her dilemma, and her courage. Let's now talk about her sacrifice as we take a look at some more passages in Exodus. Exodus 2:3 – “But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank.” Jochebed cared for Moses for the first 3 months she had him in her possession but the time came when discovery was likely imminent.
A. God's Providence came into play. When she realized she could no longer hide her infant son she made an ark platted with reeds. She placed that cradle with her treasured child in it secretly among the rushes at the river's bank, and told Marian, the young daughter, to stand and watch over the small craft.
1. I want to point out that it's probable that Jochebed thought she would never see her son again. She didn't have any promise she would, but she entrusted her child to God's hands.
2. When I think of Jochebed, I think of many expecting mothers who are pressured by the world to abort their unborn infants. I find that a sad thing. Like Jochebed, there are many mothers who have refused abortion and yet have no choice but to place their children up for adoption. Like Jochebed, they need to turn to God to find a loving home for their child.
3. I know their heart probably breaks at the thought of giving up their baby, but God is honored when they obey the command not to murder them.
B. Effectively Jochebed had put Moses up for adoption. She was not going to be able to raise him all the way, but she had him long enough to give him a start.
1. In Second Corinthians 5:7 we read, – “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” In Proverbs 3:5-6 we read, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” And in Proverbs 29:25 we read – “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”
2. We see this, in action in the life of Jochebed as we look at her sacrifice. We talk about her faith and her refusal to kill the baby. Jochebed had faith in God's protection for her baby. Jochebed fully entrusted her child to God's safekeeping, and God was able to work in that situation because of her faith.
C. She trusted God's Providence as children are being murdered all around her. Think about it. She is living in a society where it's a command of the King to murder all male babies. I wonder if it ever crossed her mind to say, “God, I don't understand why you're allowing this? But in what you have planned I trust you. Here is my son, I entrust him to you.”
D. I know we need to trust our children to God and do things His way. If we want God to work in our lives and in the lives of our families, then we need to place our faith in Him and put our faith into action. That's the kind of faith that God accepts and it pleases him. God will not and cannot work in our lives without us placing our trust in Him, which includes our actions based on what we believe.
E. In Hebrews 11:6 – “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
VI. Let's talk now about her reward. The Bible tells us she gave up what she could not keep, and she received back more than what she gave.
A. We see that in the book of Exodus 2:5-8 – “5. Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river. And her maidens walked along the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. 6. And when she had opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children.'' 7. Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?'' 8. And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go.'' So the maiden went and called the child's mother.”
1. It wasn't an accident that Pharaoh's daughter saw this beautiful baby boy and heard his cry and that she had compassion on him. She was touched by what she saw though she knew this was one of the Hebrew's children.
2. I like the fact that she had a tender heart, that she wasn't prejudiced. It was God's sovereign Providence that caused Pharaoh's daughter to save Moses and to even ask Jochebed to nurse him. She went against her father's will. She had a good streak.
3. I wish we knew more about her, but we know enough to know that she was the one who saved Moses and that God used her in that regard. Not only was Jochebed’s infant saved, but she was paid to take care of him. How about that? She got paid to nurse her own child.
B. The Bible tells us that God honored Jochebed’s faith by catapulting Moses into a position from a death sentence to a Royal place in the household of the King of Egypt. God always rewards an obedient faith, and certainly the measure of our faith is demonstrated by our obedience.
1. It was Jochebed’s love, her faith, and her courage that saved her child from a cruel death and preserved him so that he could bless the world.
2. She was a godly mother. She laid a foundation for Moses during the first years of his life. She was used by God during those early formative years in preparing Moses for the grand calling that he was going receive some 80 or so years in the future, to lead his people out of Egyptian bondage.
3. Living a godly life before him doubtlessly had a profound influence, as evidenced in Hebrews 11. Hebrews 11 has several verses about Moses but I note the first one Hebrews 11:23 – where it says, “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's command.” The next few verses talk about the faith of Moses and what he accomplished.
C. In those passages it says, “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” That's talking about Christ. He saw Christ through the eye of faith many centuries into the future.
VII. We teach our children, and the Bible also says we are to train them Proverbs 22:6. There is a difference in teaching and training. We can teach a computer class in a classroom that doesn't have a computer in it. We can teach them through charts and books and lectures, but until you set a child down to a computer and you work with that child and you start giving them exercises, hands on training, they are not going to be fully educated in computers. Yes, it's possible to be taught without being trained, but we are also to train our children.
A. Moses could have accepted the position of Pharaoh's grandson. But when he grew up, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter.
1. Do you see how God is mocking Pharaoh? He raises up a deliverer, He raises up a savior right there under Pharaoh's nose, right in his own house.
2. On one side for Moses, there were the treasures of Egypt, which he could have had now in this life. On the other side were the glories of Jesus, which he could only see through the eye of faith, and which he could only have in the next life. He faces the decision between what he can have now or what he can have in the next life. He made the right choice. He esteemed Christ greater treasure than the wealth of Egypt.
B. We need to show our children the riches of Jesus. I want to point out that Moses’ parents were not afraid of the King's command, and they lived in perilous times, exceedingly fierce, and we live in perilous times. A lot of Americans have lost their faith in God. Satan has plenty of agents that are trying to influence us to help our children lose faith through the Godless views of humanism.
1. Even infiltrating churches, you see evidence of it. When churches ignore the Bible and encourage various forms of idolatry, and immorality is advocated in the humanist manifesto… by their fruit, you shall know them. These churches, which parade as Christianity, are dispensers of humanism with a little bit of Christianity thrown in here and there to confuse and deceive.
2. Humanism is camouflaged as something good. Prayer and Bible reading are under attack. Evolution is promoted… but not an intelligent designer. Amoral sex education is taught and promoted apart from biblical values. This only works to harm our children.
3. The alcohol industry spends millions on advertising every year aimed at our youth. TV sitcoms laugh at sexual perversion and drunkenness. The devil knows that what we laugh at, we cannot take seriously again. Movies and music are filled with messages of promiscuity and rebellion and drugs and alcohol.
4. Moses’ parents looked past the King of Egypt and to the King of Kings. That's what they were preparing for and so can we. God took that little Ark, and he made it a battleship to sink the mighty Kingdom of Pharaoh. I’d like to point out the irony that It was Pharaoh who wanted the babies drowned in the water but it was Pharaoh's Army that drowned in the Red Sea.
Jochebed may have never realized the important role that she was playing in God's plan, but she changed the course of history. All honor to the women of all ages who fear the Lord. Mothers who love God, and raise their children in that love, can have a great effect on the world. Who had a more lasting and powerful influence? The Great Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut [haat•shuhp•soot], one of the most prolific builders of ancient Egypt, or Jochebed, the mother of Moses? As we study scripture and consider the life of Moses, we are also observing the influence of a godly mother.
Moses had an incredible value system. His value system was so great that when God wanted to destroy the Israelites, Moses volunteered to be destroyed and let the Israelites live. Where did he learn that kind of love and that kind of value system? I strongly suspect that Jochebed put something in his heart that all the teachers in Egypt could not take away.
Though he was instructed in all the ways of the Egyptians, all the wisdom of Egyptians, someone else taught and trained him in the ways of God… his mother.
Finally, when we think about Moses, we think about the hymn that says Trust and obey, there's no other way. Truly, God wants us to trust and obey. We've got to have that kind of faith, a faith that will act… faith with action. It's not trust if you're unwilling to obey. That's not trust if you just say, I believe it, but I'm not going to do it.
Are you trusting God and working things in His way today? Is He the Lord of your life? For Him to be your Savior, He must first be your Lord. A lot of people want Him as a Savior, but they don't want Him as Lord. Accepting Jesus as Lord means responsibilities and obedience and there are many who resist that fact.
We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins… If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.
Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.
# 644 – Trust and Obey
Reference Sermon: Richard Blackford
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