Saving Baby Moses
Exodus 2:1-10; Rom 11:33-36; Mt 16:13-20
The Rev. Leonard B. Oakes
August 27, 2017
When I was a lad of 7, I attended a summer vacation bible school hosted by a local Baptist church in my elementary school classrooms.
I remember my VBS teacher using cardboard cartoons to illustrate the faces and places described in the Bible. One of the fascinating stories I heard is the story of the birth of Moses and how he was found, saved and adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh. At the end of the story, we all learned the song, “Baby Moses” “Ni ubing nga Moses, nagidda basket. Ti Diyos kinunana di ka agbuteng.” “Little baby Moses, lying in a bed. The Lord said to Moses Do not be afraid” That song still resonates in my ears today as it reminds me of Hope in God.
I now have a better understanding of the whole scenario behind the story.
You see, for hundreds of years, Israel had prospered and grew as a nation. In fact, they grew to the point that the Egyptians were afraid of them. “The Hebrews are growing fast in number! What will happen if they decide to rise up?” Was the concern they had in mind.
So, Pharaoh decided to impose some population control to take care of the “Hebrew problem.” Although the Pharaoh did not attempt to build a wall or threaten to deport the Hebrews, he however attempted to coerce the midwives of the Hebrews to kill the boys born to them. This would mean that the following generation would be born to Egyptian men by Hebrew women. The Hebrews as a people would be wiped out for coming generations and be absorbed into Egypt.
But it didn’t work! The midwives like Ziphrah and Puah were too brave and too smart. At great personal risk, they avoided carrying out Pharaoh’s orders. And God blessed them and the Hebrews continued to grow. So, Pharaoh took it a step farther. He ordered all the boys born to the Hebrews to be killed by throwing them in the Nile.
You see, innocent as he was, Moses was born under a death sentence. His crime was treason against Pharaoh by being born Hebrew and male. So, his family hid him strategically as they would.
But we all know that we cannot contain our children forever for they grow. And so the danger to being discovered grew larger as Moses grow in size. So, they decided to find a way to save Moses. They made a basket and put Moses in it. And ironically, they did what Pharaoh had said to do, they cast him in the Nile.
Moses’ sister kept an eye on him. Providentially the daughter of Pharaoh came and saw the baby in the basket. Her heart went out to him and she adopted him. Again, ironically his own mother ends up nursing him till he is weaned. Then he is brought to Pharaoh’s daughter to be her son. Pharaoh has said to cast all the boys in the Nile. And in the end the Nile became the means of Moses’ deliverance. It also placed him in the house of Pharaoh as a Prince of Egypt where he could eventually address the powers that oppressed his people and say, “Let my people go!”
It must have been tragic for Moses to remember that he once felt he seemed destined to drown in the Nile as many others in his generation did. He was a helpless baby condemned by a ruthless empire that was enslaving his nation of people. But Moses was destined to live and become a great chosen person of God, just like his forebears, Abraham and Sarah. These were a people who placed their faith in the God that made Egypt and the rest of the universe. This nation were the ones who began as a barren elderly couple believing in an impossible promise of many descendants. They had endured family troubles, persecutions, famine, and most recently 400 years of slavery. And God had made this hopeless band into a great nation.
Now, God was about to deliver them. A helpless people in a hopeless situation. Pharaoh was systematically killing off a generation of their sons. But some of these helpless hopeless people decided to save one boy. His family hid him and put him in an ark and watched him as he floated down the Nile. He was delivered from the death sentence imposed by Pharaoh, and eventually, after a long journey, was used by God to deliver the whole nation. God specializes in making the impossible, possible. God took a barren couple and made them a great nation. People like Abraham and Sarah. People like Jacob and making them people of faith. People like Moses, a child born under a death sentence an enemy of an Empire. Yet God delivered him and made him a great deliverer. God took Moses where he was, one baby boy among a generation sentenced to death. And God put him where he needed to be: in the court of Pharaoh as a Prince of Egypt. God not only delivered him but used him to deliver the whole nation of Israel. God can use a basket as an ark to bring deliverance. God can turn fear and hopelessness into a miracle of deliverance.
I believe that is so to us. God takes us where we are and put us where we needed to be. God not only will deliver us but will use us to deliver the rest of our people who are being threatened to be thrown and disappear. God can turn a basket story into a miracle of deliverance.
Sometimes our lives can be filled with basket stories. People can be caught in cycles of addiction or abuse or poverty. They can feel helpless and hopeless when our home security is at risk. Sometimes our financial situation or careers or family relationship can seem like a basket story. It comes to us in different forms that put us down and troubled. And if you stop and think about it, the whole human race is a basket story. We like to think we are masters of our own destiny, but we are really at the mercy of God and it is only by grace that we are saved. We are incapable of saving ourselves. We have offended the moral order of the universe and are too far gone. We are hopeless. But God specializes in hopeless cases and makes things impossible a possible. God took a basket case like Moses and made him a great deliverer. And God sent Jesus who became helpless and died on a cross the victim of an Empire. God delivered Moses through the Nile and God delivered Israel through the Red Sea and God delivered Jesus through his death on the cross. And as Jesus passed through death, he made a way for us through his death and resurrection to have true righteousness and hope. Jesus, who is the rock where Peter built his Church, has become the foundation of our Faith.
Let us therefore cast our hearts and souls in the ark of God’s grace and present ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, and let God lead us where he wills us to be. Let the God of Abraham and Moses and Jesus bear us up. Let us Admit our dependence on God and acknowledge God’s power. God will deliver us from sin, from oppression, from the troubles and trials of life. God can give us hope and bear us up, just as he did to Moses when he was on the verge of trouble. Everything is possible with God, if we only trust in Him.
Stand up therefore my dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, and feel no reasons to be depressed or mocking yourself . For God has a purpose for you, even on the verge of your drowning, falling or losing it all. Put your trust to the Lord and God will lift you up to become a great person and a great deliverer.
Oh, people of God, let us all rise and sing, “Arise shine for the Light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen, for the glory of the Lord is risen upon us.” (Repeat)