I know, this is seriously late. Busy day today. It is up now. I hope you enjoy it.
22 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.”
2 Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basketfor 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. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.
5 Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. 6 She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.
7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”
8 “Yes, go,” she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother. 9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.” (Exodus 1:22-2:10, New International Version)
It is no secret. I love stories. As I prepared for my “Average Joe” sermon series I really enjoyed writing it. Stories have been particularly important in the history and development of humans and society. When I completed “Average Joe” (both the book and sermon series) people asked me what I would write next and I would tell them I wasn’t sure. I have several book ideas. I started “Plain Janes” before I moved from Sweeny, but I haven’t touched it since. I also had ideas for “Not So Average Joes” and “More Average Joes.” This one, if it gets published will be part of a, still without a title, on children of the Bible.
Things didn’t start out so well for me. Before I was even born Pharaoh, he might also be called the King of Egypt, feared my people, the Hebrews. But allow me to stop for a moment and give you a little more background.
My great-great grandfather was named Joseph, who after being sold into slavery by his brothers, rose to be powerful in the house of Potiphar. Potiphar was a great man, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard, someone trusted by Pharaoh.
Joseph was wrongly accused by Potiphar’s wife and Potiphar had my great-great grandfather thrown into prison. While in prison Joseph rose to assist the chief guard. Eventually Joseph got out of prison and became the second most important man, next to Pharaoh himself.
Throughout the remainder of Joseph’s life, he remained a trusted assistant to Pharaoh. There is a great deal more to this story, but we will save that for another time.
After Joseph had died, one of the next Pharaoh’s to come to power cared nothing about Joseph, his family, or anything about what my great-great-grandfather had done for Egypt itself. He had literally prevented the country from starving during a great famine. He threw my family, and we were all family, descendants of Abraham, into slavery. As time went on other Pharaoh’s began to fear us Hebrews because our numbers grew rapidly. Pharaoh was afraid we would take over the country and in turn enslave the Egyptians.
As a result, Pharaoh gave instructions to the Hebrew midwives that they were to execute all the male children. When that plan didn’t achieve the desired results Pharaoh ordered that all the male children be killed. That was the world at the time of my birth.
By all rights, I should have died the same day I was born. But, the midwives, bravely and with a great deal of cunning defied Pharaoh’s directive. Pharaoh then ordered the execution every newborn baby boy by throwing us all into the Nile River. My mother, Jochebed was her name, hid me away for my first few months. When my mother could no longer hide me from the Egyptians, she came up with a new plan. You may have heard about it. It is, after all, a pretty famous story. It is a story I love to tell.
My mother and sister made a basket and lid. They waterproofed the basket, placed me in the basket, put the lid on it and carried it down to the Nile. There, they let the current carry me down stream, or at least that is what they hoped and prayed. Of course they were concerned about my safety and their prayers that I would be safe played a big role in me not drowning in the Nile. It seems to me that it is more than a bit ironic, that the river that could easily have been the instrument of my death became the instrument of my deliverance.
Miriam, she’s my sister, hid out and watched to see what would happen to me. I didn’t float far before my basket started bumping into the riverbank. As luck would have it, well, I guess I should say, as God would have it, the person who found me there at the river’s edge was Pharaoh’s daughter. She decided to adopt me. That meant I didn’t have to worry about somebody throwing me into the river.
Miriam decided now was the time to come out of hiding. While Pharaoh’s daughter wanted to keep me, she was going to need someone to care for me, to nurse me for the first couple of years of my life. Miriam volunteered to find a nurse among the Hebrew women. Pharaoh’s daughter told Miriam to go find someone to care for me. Of course, Miriam didn’t have to look far. She went straight to my mother. Then, in another bit of irony, Pharaoh’s daughter then paid my mother to take care of me. The daughter of the man who would have had me killed, pays my own mother to raise me. I have always gotten a bit of a chuckle out of that one.
Until I was three or four years old, I spent my life living with the Hebrew slaves. It wasn’t bad. I was supposed to be a slave and I was with my family. My mother made sure I was happy and fed, loved and well cared for. Miriam played with me every day. I couldn’t have asked for more.
But the day did come, and it was a traumatic day, when I had to go live with my adopted mother, Pharaoh’s daughter. Once I was living in Pharaoh’s home, I had everything a boy could ever have wanted. I lacked for nothing. I had servants galore. I had playmates and all kinds of things to do. I had things as the grandson of Pharaoh I would never have had if I had remained a Hebrew slave. I wouldn’t have had that because I really should have died those few years before.
There was always one thing I wanted more than anything else, and I was not allowed to have that. I wanted to be with my family. I felt ripped away from the people I loved. Though Pharaoh’s home lacked nothing that would meet material needs or wants, it never could or would provide me with my family.
While a teenager things in my life turned awfully bad. I murdered a man and had to runaway from Egypt. As I was running, I realized that I would likely never see Egypt again. I didn’t see that as a big deal. What was a big deal is, I doubted that I would see my real family,, my birth family again. I saw no way I would ever see either my birth family, or my royal family ever again. There is no way I could go back. I would be arrested as soon as I was in the private area for slaves, much less on the streets of the city. I stood a better chance if I went back to Pharaoh and sweet talked him and try to convinced him that I didn’t want to hurt the man. I just wanted to stop him from beating on the slave. I was an accident. In all truth, as I saw it, there was no way possible. Pharaoh is going to let me back into the fold when I wasn’t HIS child. Further, I did kill one of his soldiers.
That is my childhood. I think it likely that it is a great deal different from your growing up. But, I could be wrong about that.
There are a couple of take-away’s I wanted to share with you. First, no matter how great a risk, to keep the attention of the attacker on first on God. Then, maintain a strong watch on the attacker. If I can maintain attention on the attacker I improve my chances of rescuing the fallen slave. When the fight ended, I quickly realized how much dirt and grime was part of the life of a Hebrew slave.
Sometimes in the life of a believer, we too have to get down in the mud, dirt, grime, and slime. That is the place where the real work of God takes place. We can’t run from it. Sooner or later what we want, to stay in a safe clean place is the biggest deal of all. Yet, we are called to make a difference. We need to come to the place where God needs us and work to make that difference.
I also learned from all this, never, ever, give up on God. My mom could have given up and said, it was inevitable. Pharaoh’s army is too big and powerful. it is real trouble. Mom didn’t give up. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree with that one. Many obstacles will come our way in life. Some we can deal with and some we cannot, at least not alone. We can move into the place that is real and let God lead the way. Pray and NEVER, EVER give up.
Through the storms of life, things happen for good and for evil. They won’t stop. Things would become a great deal harder for the Hebrews before everything was said and done. But we continued to depend on God and God showed up every time.
Finally, God doesn’t want us to learn to do things faster. God wants us to learn to do it right. When Moses depended on himself it was not about doing things right. He made mistakes, lots of them. But, he also never doubted God was there and working. Then when God was most needed, God was there.
And, with God, that is all we need.
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved