Intimidated by the fortitude and multiplication of the Jewish people, Pharaoh orders the annihilation of every male child born to a Jewish woman. Amram and Jochebed, unfazed by the directive, manage to preserve their newborn in their home undetected for three months. They knew that the 400 years of Israel’s affliction were drawing to a close and would have anticipated that God would soon raise up a deliverer. Perhaps this was to be their baby’s destiny. Fueled by hope and possibilities, these Jewish parents defied their circumstances and overcame the fear of repercussions to save their child’s life (Heb. 11:23).
When they can no longer safely keep him in the house, Jochebed crafts an ark that she places, with the baby inside, at the river’s bank. By divine providence, Pharaoh’s daughter discovers the ark and, at the suggestion of the baby’s sister who was watching nearby, she ends up hiring the baby’s mother to care for him until he turns twelve. What prayers must Jochebed have uttered as she placed her baby in a basket into the water! And what a remarkable answer to prayer—not only was her son’s life spared, but she was afforded the opportunity to raise him in the fear of the Lord!
Not a moment of those twelve years were wasted. It was all the time Jochebed had to ensure that her son was grounded in his history and confident of his destiny. If we were more aware of the reality that tomorrow is not promised, how much more diligent would we be in making the best use of our time today? Moses’s primary concern at the age of twelve was not how well he could play the video games of his day but how to remain true to his identity as part of God’s chosen people in spite of the temptations that would surround him in Pharaoh’s house.
Within the space of the formative twelve years of his life, Jochebed had so managed to ingrain in Moses an identification with God’s people that “when he became of age, [he] refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:24, 25). So well-grounded was he in his identity that no palatial luxuries could induce him to reject his mission, nor could the prospect of discomfort dissuade him from fulfilling his purpose.