Bible Society of South Africa

Moses’ parents: faithful prudence – 27 August 2021

By Xanthe Hancox

Bible text(s)

22Finally the king issued a command to all his people: “Take every newborn Hebrew boy and throw him into the Nile, but let all the girls live.”

Exodus 1:22GNBOpen in Bible reader

Powerful people like Pharaoh are notoriously afraid of losing their power. That’s why Pharaoh became an oppressor and a slave master. He wanted to suppress the Israelite population so they would not rise up against him, so he ordered that all their newborn baby boys be killed.

Moses’ birth was an act of faith. His parents defied Pharaoh’s order. “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.” (Hebrews 11:23)

You might wonder why they bothered to hide their son at all if they were not afraid. Why not just take him out in public view, if they were trusting in God? Faith is not opposed to using prudence. Trusting God does not mean taking reckless chances. While they did not fear the king’s edict in the sense that they defied it, they no doubt did fear not only for the life of their baby boy, but for all their lives. If Pharaoh’s guards had caught them, they would have executed the entire family for insubordination to the king.

Faith in God causes us to see the world differently and to act differently. Moses learned this from his parents.

It’s not that believers like Moses or his parents are never afraid. We all know fear. But as faith grows, fear recedes. We learn to overcome our fears. We are no longer ruled by our fears but by faith.

The choice that Moses’ parents made to hide, based on faith, meant short-term suffering, but eternal blessings. Their son grew up to be the greatest leader in Jewish history. He delivered the Jews from slavery. Under divine inspiration, he wrote the first five books of the Bible.

We may never know what eternal blessings will flow from our choice to obey God by faith.

Prayer: Lord, help us to trust that we are always in your care, and help us to make choices that help your people. Help us to choose for justice more than for luxury or worldly success. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.15
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