Read: Exodus 2:1-10
Consider: Having considered many of the people mentioned in Genesis as examples of faith in action, the writer of Hebrews moves on to some of those mentioned in Exodus.
I would hazard a guess that the names Amram and Jochebed mean nothing to you, yet these are the couple that the writer of Hebrews chose to consider next. We are told in Exodus 6:20 that this couple were the parents of Moses. In Exodus it says that Amram married his father’s sister (his aunt). While this would be unusual in our society, it probably wasn’t unusual then. Additionally, it happened before the law in Deuteronomy and Leviticus was written down; these laws clarified that intermarriage with a close relative should not happen.
Getting back to the story, the Israelites were seen as a threat by Pharaoh and he decreed that all the male babies should be killed at birth. The midwives disobeyed this, so Pharaoh ordered that all the male babies be thrown into the Nile. Hiding a newborn baby would not have been easy, but Moses’s parents managed to hide him for three months and when this was no longer possible, radical measures were called for. In Exodus 2:3 it says: But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.
Exodus tells us that Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby and, as a result, he was brought up as her son.
Remember that Hebrews commends Amram and Jochebed for two reasons:
– they saw that Moses was no ordinary child;
– they weren’t afraid to defy Pharaoh.
While Moses’s parents could not have foreseen that Moses would be central to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, they were aware that the baby was ‘special’ in some way. Incredibly Moses would be around 80 years old when he would lead the Israelites in the exodus (well beyond the lifetime of his parents).
Defying the law is not something that God would naturally approve of, but in this instance the law made by Pharaoh was bad. Over the centuries Christians have had to decide to resist bad laws which seek to persecute or exploit sections of society. Obvious examples are slavery and the anti-semitism that pervaded Europe before and during the Second World War. Unfortunately we haven’t always got it right, and often still don’t. A current example would be the exploitation of the poor by loan companies offering short-term loans. I recently saw one television advert for such loans at 1217% APR. Surely as Christians we should be highlighting such exploitation and asking our elected politicians to legislate against it? If we take time to think about it, there will be other areas of life where as Christians we may need to take a stand for what is right and proper.
Pray: Father, may we be like Moses’ parents and be open to see beyond the obvious. May we trust in you, even though we may not see fulfilment of what you what to achieve in our lifetime. Give us the courage to stand up against what we know is not right. Amen