How very clever of Moses’ mother to hide him in a basket in the reeds near where Pharaoh’s daughter would come to bathe! And then to leave his sister there, who could safely approach Pharaoh’s daughter because of her young age, and then offer to bring a nursemaid who turned out to be – you guessed it – Moses’ own mother! Sure, plenty of things could have gone wrong with that plan, but sometimes the riskiest plans have the most precious payoffs.
This whole part of Moses’ story brews and bubbles with anticipation of something big about to happen. It’s almost as if God is quietly orchestrating this series of unlikely events – Moses’ birth into a violent and dangerous climate, Pharaoh’s daughter finding and raising a Hebrew (so that Moses would be Hebrew by blood and Egyptian by culture), Moses fleeing Egypt and finding a family to love and support him while he bided his time shepherding away from the dangers of an angry Pharaoh, and then Pharaoh dying. And as all these events come to a head, a seemingly sleeping God stirs, and the earth is awakened to a new and brilliant thing about to happen.
Maybe you have experienced something like this in your own life. A series of unrelated events that suddenly come together to do God’s work in a big way. Sometimes it’s hard to see how those events contribute to a greater good until after God’s work is completed. But every now and then, if you keep your eyes open, you might just glimpse the beginning of something big, even before you understand just what it is.
Years ago I felt an itch – an uncomfortable, scratchiness in my soul that told me something big was coming. I had started to become more aware that the career I was in was no longer going to be part of my future. But I had no idea what was coming next. So I took chances, putting out feelers to see if I could discover just what God was going to do. It was close to a year before God’s plan would be truly put into action. During that time I was restless, edgy, and curious. I never quit searching. All of a sudden, it was time. I had saved up two weeks’ vacation and was preparing to enjoy my staycation when the “poopoo” hit the fan at work. I spent every moment of those two weeks praying and thinking and planning. When I returned to work, I put in my resignation. I still had no idea, really, what I was going to do or how I would make enough money to pay my bills. But I knew it was time. That was five years ago now. The thing I started doing in those first few months is nothing like what I am doing now, but every step of the journey led to this – writing, speaking, and publishing on my favorite topic: God. It was one of those rare moments when I got to enjoy the ride, even as it was unfolding before my very eyes.
Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.
The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”
One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and saw their forced labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. When he went out the next day, he saw two Hebrews fighting; and he said to the one who was in the wrong, “Why do you strike your fellow Hebrew?” He answered, “Who made you a ruler and judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh. He settled in the land of Midian, and sat down by a well.
The priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came to draw water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. But some shepherds came and drove them away. Moses got up and came to their defense and watered their flock. When they returned to their father Reuel, he said, “How is it that you have come back so soon today?” They said, “An Egyptian helped us against the shepherds; he even drew water for us and watered the flock.” He said to his daughters, “Where is he? Why did you leave the man? Invite him to break bread.” Moses agreed to stay with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah in marriage. She bore a son, and he named him Gershom; for he said, “I have been an alien residing in a foreign land.”
After a long time the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of the slavery their cry for help rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God looked upon the Israelites, and God took notice of them.