She was Jochebed ( Numbers 26:59) whose lovely God-honouring name means ‘ Jehovah is Glory’. With Amram, her husband, she gave birth to Aaron, Moses and their sister Miriam in Egypt, the land of slavery, under extremely oppressive and cruel circumstances (Exodus 1:8-22). Jochebed’s courage and ingenuity in preserving the life of baby Moses are well known as recorded in Exodus 2:1-10. Though unnamed in Hebrews 11, she and her husband were listed as Moses’ parents among the Heroes of Faith.
Prayerfully ploughing through Hebrews 11:23-28 with reference to Exodus 2:1-10 and Acts 7:17-22, we can gain insights into the role, resolve, resilience and resourcefulness of Moses’ mother Jochebed. Upon careful reflection one may ask, “How was Moses able to:
1)refuse such a prestigious princely title as ‘the son of Pharaoh’s daughter’?
2)make such a difficult choice as to be mistreated along with God’s people rather than to enjoy the palatial pleasures of sin?
3)regard disgrace for Christ’s sake as of greater value than the bountiful treasures of Egypt?
4)be fearless of the deadly threat of the king’s anger and to endure the deep disappointment at the rejection of his own people whom he was trying to help until he had to leave Egypt ( Exodus 2:14-15)?
The answers are very likely to be found in what were imparted to him from infancy by his parents especially his mother, much like the way Timothy received faithful teaching from infancy from his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice – 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15. Apparently then, during the infant-nursing years that Jochebed had with Moses, she must have diligently and carefully imparted to him a strong sense of his true identity, a clear understanding of different values and holy virtues, and a vision of faith in the true and living God with a deep sense of destiny that produces great courage in the face of challenges. The early impressionable years of a child are crucial for imparting knowledge, truth and values. The Jesuit priest Ignatius Loyola once said, “Give me a child for the first 7 years and I will have him for life.” This underscores the significance of vital influence during the years of infancy.
Moses had imbibed well from his biological mother Jochebed who had bred and nurtured him faithfully despite the absence of Scriptures and depending only on meticulously memorised oral traditions that were subject to community correction and refinement at that time. God was preparing Moses to be the very first writer of His Word, the Holy Scriptures. Hence the highest academic training in the Egyptian palace (Acts 7:22) and the vital spiritual and moral input of his parents, particularly his mother since his father had to be at the worksite slaving away under tyrannical task masters and leaving Jochebed to attend to the children.
God was also preparing Moses to lead His people out of Egypt to fulfil His sovereign purpose of preserving a special people and holy nation from which the Messiah, the Saviour of the world would come. Jochebed had faithfully fulfilled her role in this great holy purpose of God. We pray on this Mother’s Day that all mothers and those having mothering roles will faithfully fulfil their responsibilities in imparting godly vision, eternal values, spiritual virtues and a right sense of true identity to their children and charges so that God’s will be done and Christ’s name be glorified through the work of grace by the Holy Spirit. A very Blessed Mother’s Day to all mothers, grandmothers and all ladies assuming parenting responsibilities to impact young lives for eternity!
By sister Leong King Teng