“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. 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…. 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 2:5-6, 10
Can you think of a single event from your life that summarizes who you are?
I am convinced that our soul is comprised of more than what any mistake or success reveals about us. In the same way, I believe that there are layers to the Biblical characters.
We only see a sliver of most characters in the Bible. Biblical characters tend to be reduced to one decision, one relationship, or one event from their life. What event do you associate with Moses?
While the Exodus is a defining event for the people of Israel, it is not the only lens by which to understand this Old Testament titan. This week we will explore Moses through the lens of his relationships. What can we learn about Moses, about God, and about ourselves by exploring the relationships that made him human? Along with being a prophet of God, Moses was a brother, father, husband, and son.
Moses was raised by a rebellious princess. The pharaoh had decreed that all male Hebrew babies were to be put to death by drowning in the Nile. Moses birth mother put him into a basket and floated him in the Nile where he was discovered by the pharaoh’s daughter. She knew her father’s decree and the intention behind it. Yet, she disobeyed. Be her motive compassion or youthful rebelliousness, the princess refused to comply with the vicious command. On top of that, she adopted the baby and raised him in the palace. He grew strong right under the nose of the pharaoh as the embodiment of defiant mercy.
Even his name was a constant reminder of his opposition. She gave the baby a Hebrew name, not an Egyptian name. The name she gave the child, “Moses” was a description of how she discovered the child. The name Moses sounds like a Hebrew word meaning “to draw out” and as she says in the scripture, she drew him out of the water. Yet, we know this name foreshadows his future role as he “draws out” the Hebrews from Egypt.
This Egyptian princess was not his birth mother but she was certainly a mother to Moses. It is easy to see how this princess, who defied the pharaoh with compassion, had an impact on the man Moses would become.
Like me, you may not be able to summarize your life with a single story but I bet you can identify the mothering figure(s) who played a role in shaping who you are. And all of us can give thanks to God for the ways these women drew out the best in us.