Jochebed: The Faith of a Whole Mustard Garden
Today, we're continuing Sister Alena's series on women of the Bible in lieu of our regularly scheduled Miracle Monday, which we will resume in August.
Moses’ mother, Jochebed, is not one of the women that I’ve ever really noticed before. She sends Moses down the river in a basket, praying for his safe deliverance away from Pharoah’s infanticide, and instead, God delivered him into the heart of it.
In Exodus, the Bible just says that she put him in a basket after hiding him for three months. This is a woman of immense faith.
This is a woman of action.
She knows that she must make a decision and take a chance to save her son’s life.
So Jochabed does the unthinkable and places him inside of a basket, which she places into a river full of disease and danger so that he might live. She knew that he would have a better chance floating down a river surrounded by the grace of God than in human hands.
In Hebrews, it says that Jochabed and Moses’ father were not afraid of Pharoah’s commandment. They had absolutely no fear.
Could you imagine watching tragedy after tragedy strike your neighbors, your friends, and your family, and you are still not afraid for your own son?
This woman didn’t just have the faith of a mustard seed but of an entire mustard garden.
But this is the point of the story: God gave this family months of grace, when they had Moses in their house, where they could take care of him as best as possible in the first three months, and they did just that.
And then they had a choice: take a chance on the Lord, or continue trusting their own human hands.
This is what we face every day, whether we know it or not.
Every day, God presents us with faith-building moments when we have the choice to follow the grace of God or our own minds.
Every day we are asked whether or not we trust God, whose very breath creates planets…
Whose very hands formed stars…
Whose very eyes see into our souls…
Whose very mind somehow created the intricacies that are the human body…
Whose very love for us is a living, breathing force…
Whose very Son died for us...
To get us home safe from work or school…
And every day, God answers prayers. Maybe it’s not the answer we want. I’m sure that Jochabed didn’t want her son to go directly into the hands of Pharaoh when she put him in that basket, but God’s ways are surely mysterious.
And that mystery? That mystery is what makes God’s grace so great, that those deep desires of our hearts — for our jobs, our families, our children floating in baskets down the Nile — that God works it out.
We may not like the answer; we may not like the method, but God’s grace is abundant, and it is moving and it is real. And Jochabed believed that to the point where she was not afraid when Egyptian soldiers were moving through the city hunting her son. She believed it enough to give everything she had to God, and that is how Moses begins, not from the moment Pharoh’s daughter picked him up, but the day that Jochabed said that she would trust God no matter what to deliver her son.
Read Jochebed's story in Exodus 2:1-10 and Hebrews 11:23
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Photo credit: Detail from "Misés e Jocabed" by Pedro Américo, 1884
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.