What might parents today learn from the story in Exodus 2 of Moses and his mother?
2 1 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 basket for 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."
11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, "Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?"
14 The man said, "Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought, "What I did must have become known."
15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.
While still in college, I sat in the pastor's office in a church and listened as a retired gentleman talked about his wayward children who were by then middle-aged adults. He was trying to reconcile their sinful lives with the biblical passage which begins: "Train up a child in the way he should go . . ." (Proverbs 22:6)
At the time I was a young, unmarried ministerial student. I'm afraid I wasn't much help to him as he tried to understand why things had gone wrong with his children.
However, I was convinced then -- and am still convinced – that the biblical principles are valid. We parents can trust God to bless our child-rearing efforts in His own way and in His own time, if only we act in true faith and with willingness to submit our own wills to His.
Consider, for example, the story of Moses as a baby. Exodus 2 gives the account of the birth and early years of this great man of God, it is clear that everything he accomplished for God was built on the foundation of a godly mother's faithful love and her willingness to trust her son to the providence of God.
Moses' greatness in history cannot be doubted. He is the prominent character of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible). For 45 years he was the great legislator of the children of Israel. But none of that would have been possible had his mother not been willing to dare all for his salvation.
While we were missionaries in Italy, I had the privilege of hearing David Klassen speak. This unassuming Russian preacher spent ten years in communist prisons because of his fervent Christian testimony. Finally, the Soviet government exiled this preacher from his own beloved country.
In a little rented hall in a suburb in Florence, Rev. Klassen related some of his prison experiences. Locked behind bars, he was very conscious of the fact that his seven children were forced to study every day in schools that were bent on eliminating religion from Russian life. Rev. Klassen yearned to be there with his children, to help counteract the godless pressures on them to renounce their parents' faith. He could not be with his children, so Rev. Klassen had, like Moses' parents, placed his children in God's care. That day he told us that they had all become believers.
I still don't have a satisfactory answer for that American father. But I am fully convinced that the story of Moses, the Klassens' story, and the stories of countless other families demonstrate that Christian parents can safely place their children in God's care without reservation. Moses' mother did not know what God had in mind for her son. But her faith prodded her into action to save the little boy. Ultimately she had to leave him in the hands of the Lord.
Neither you nor I know what God has in mind for our kids. But we can rest assured that it will be worth whatever we have to dare for their salvation.
I wrote these devotional thoughts while we were serving as missionaries in Italy. They originally appeared in the Standard, a weekly take-hoe piece for adult Sunday school classes published by wat is now The Foundry.
-- Howard Culbertson
Other devotional articles: Year-long series in Standard Devotinal thoughts from ham radio eperiences Christmas Come Ye Apart Devotionals about pastors
Rookie Notebook: Our first nine months as missionaries in Italy 10/40 Window map and explanation Seeing God's will? African martyr's commitment Mission tripfundraising Ten ways to ruin mission trips Nazarene Missions International resources