These past weeks have been very special, they've included the celebration of both Easter and Passover. Passover is the reminder of God’s great deliverance of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. Very similar to the heart of Easter celebrations of Jesus’ great deliverance of the whole of mankind.
The book of Exodus tells us the account of Passover and begins with the people of Israel in Egypt suffering enslavement and needing to be delivered from Pharaoh who is intent on controlling and murdering the Israelites whom he cannot contain. Then God raises up a deliverer, Moses, who leads God’s people out of slavery into the Promised Land.
Yet little is mentioned of the brave mother of Moses, Jochebed.
It was Jochebed who, despite the command from Pharaoh to murder every baby boy of the Israelites, had the courage to hide her baby son for three months and then come up with a plan of faith to give him a chance of being rescued.
With a mother like this it’s no coincidence that three of her children became great leaders of God’s people! Moses, Miriam and Aaron were all raised by her and influenced by her faith, bravery and boldness. What an inspiration.
Next it was Miriam, she kept watch over her baby brother Moses as he floated down the river. When she saw him being discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter she approached her and boldly suggested that he be nursed among his own people. Her suggestion led to Moses being nursed by his own mother in the palace, not only that, she got paid for nursing him too! What courage! What faith! What redemption came from such a bold and wise big sister!
Let’s not rush on and forget the heart and influence of Pharaoh’s daughter either. She knew full well the orders of her father Pharaoh to kill all the Hebrew baby boys, yet upon finding Moses she had compassion on him and set out to raise him in excellence!
Maybe she was labelled a disobedient child, yet we know she was fulfilling God’s redemptive purpose. She could have easily done what seemed right on the surface, obeying her father, obeying the laws of the land and have Moses thrown into the Nile. But her heart of compassion and sense of justice led her to do the right thing at the right time. It goes to show that there are crimes against humanity that cannot be excused by the mere claim that I was only following orders.
May we all pray for that same heart of compassion she had for the unfair treatment of the persecuted of this world!
Moving on, we find the midwives, Shifrah and Puah. In Exodus 1:17 we read
“The midwives, fearing God, did not do as the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live.”
The two of them were brought before Pharaoh and accused of breaking his command, yet even in that moment they answered him with a courageous excuse and saved lives including their own.
God finally reveals Himself to Moses and gives him the instructions to go and free the slaves of Israel. As a hesitant Moses sets off on his journey back to Egypt with his immediate family the Bible shares the following:
And it came to pass by the way in the inn that the Lord met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and threw it at his feet, and said, "Surely a bridegroom of blood are you to me." So he let him go, then she said, "A bridegroom of blood you are, because of the circumcision."
There is so much in this text to unpack but let’s keep on our theme and focus on the woman, Zipporah, his wife. It was her faith in action that stopped a tragedy happening to her family.
Yet again we see a woman playing a significant part in the calling and purpose of God being outworked through a man’s life. She reminded a Jew, who had been brought up in Egypt, who he really was and reminded God of the covenant, saving their lives.
Here is the challenge for us. In a world and society where the morals and healthy order of God are so often distorted, how do we as women keep God as the priority and standard with relationships in our lives?
How do we relate to our brothers, fathers, sons and husbands? Do we relate in faith? Or in fear? Do we have the right perspective of God’s plans and purposes in mind for these relationships?
Imagine doing the right thing at the right time in regards to those relationships. Responding to circumstances in faith and boldness not with fear and insecurities.
Imagine if Miriam was fearful about being close to Pharaoh’s household (maybe she was!?) but her love and her desire to see her brother and her family thrive was more important to her than her own personal struggle. Justice was the priority to her.
Why did Zipporah, rather than Moses, spring into action?
Imagine if in this circumstance Zipporah had moaned, cried and complained to God this husband you have given me is lazy and doesn’t lead us well, he doesn’t follow your commands, it’s so hard for me! Death would have surely followed!
Thankfully she knew what the right thing to do in the situation was and she went into action.
Is there a situation you are in that calls for you to spring into action on behalf of your husband? It might look controversial, you might be fearful of being labelled bossy but maybe just maybe you hold the key to unlocking the purposes of God in your current circumstances and actually you just have to get on and do it and not be in fear.
There might be a dramatic action God leads you to do yet it can’t be without spending time in prayer. Only then will you be confident that your actions will help, not hinder the purposes of God. If so, then go for it!
The point is, as women we are not alone! Even if our circumstances say we are. We have God within us, we have the words, the actions, the faith and the boldness to have a righteous, holy, purposeful influence on the people around us!
Being in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. Not just for our family but also think about other people God has put around you; your colleagues, your employer, your pastor, the leaders of our country.
In your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed.