“Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: ‘Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.'” (Exod 1:22, NIV2)
Israel lived and prospered in Egypt, to the point that the Pharaoh became afraid: “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” (Ex. 1:9-10 ESV).
He tried many different things, including enslaving them. He quickly saw the advantage to this tactic, because the work could be done without having to pay the workers! The problem was that enslavement didn’t stop Israel from continuing to thrive and prosper. Further measures would have to be taken, and eventually Pharaoh decreed that all Hebrew boys be thrown into the Nile River (See Ex. 1:22).
One woman, a Levite named Jochebed, decided she wasn’t going to take this sitting down: “A man from the family of Levi married a Levite woman. The woman became pregnant and had a son. She saw there was something special about him and hid him. She hid him for three months. When she couldn’t hide him any longer she got a little basket-boat made of papyrus, waterproofed it with tar and pitch, and placed the child in it. Then she set it afloat in the reeds at the edge of the Nile. The baby’s older sister found herself a vantage point a little way off and watched to see what would happen to him. (Exodus 2: 1-4, MSG)
Remember that slaves wouldn’t dare disobey the orders of their overseers. There were hundreds of children being slaughtered every day, and the Egyptians cared nothing about Hebrew children. Why would Jochebed think that she could do anything to save the life of her son?
It was because when they looked at their tiny son, they saw that there was “something special about him,” and in putting him in that basket on the Nile River, his parents were taking a stand in faith. They had hope, even in the face of utter hopelessness.
Amazingly, Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the Nile to bathe just at that time. She saw something in that floating basket. She retrieved it and was delighted to find a healthy baby boy. Of course, she knew where he came from, for she said, “This is one of the Hebrew babies” (Ex 2:6b MSG); nonetheless, “her heart went out to him.” (Ex. 2:6a MSG)
Moses’ sister, who was watching diligently, came forth at that time and asked her: “Do you want me to go and get a nursing mother from the Hebrews so she can nurse the baby for you?” (Ex. 2:7 MSG)
Surprised, the daughter of the Pharaoh agreed. She answered: “Yes, go!” (Ex. 2:8 MSG) and then, when the baby’s own mother presented herself to Pharaoh’s daughter, she said, “Take this baby and nurse him for me. I’ll pay you.” (Ex. 2:8-9 MSG)
Later, after the child was weaned, Jochebed: “presented him to Pharaoh’s daughter who adopted him as her son. She named him Moses (Pulled-Out), saying, ‘I pulled him out of the water.'” (Ex. 2:10 MSG)
It was by their faith in God that Moses was miraculously saved. No one could hurt their child now, for it was as if he were the actual son of Pharaoh’s daughter. And because of their faith, they now had hope for Israel.
We never saved an actual child from the water. However, one day two geese stopped to nest on our pond. Ever since, these geese have returned every year, bringing with them all their brothers and sisters. Every years there are more and more geese on our pond. They have faith that our pond will be a safe haven for them, and their faith brings hope that they will receive needed rest before continuing their migration north in the spring or south in the fall.
With faith we can move mountains: “Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.'” (Matt. 21:21-22 NIV), and when we take that stand in faith, it gives us hope.
No matter what you are facing, our Heavenly Father always makes a way, and your faith in Him will provide the hope you crave. Our Heavenly Father can do anything: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matt 7:7 NIV)
(To access the entire “Hope in the Distance” devotional series, please click here.)