Connections 08.23.2020: Moses on the Nile

Exodus 1:8-10, 22; 2:1-10

Women dominate this tense, frightening, beautiful, miraculous story in Hebrew history. Let’s imagine each of them…

There’s a mother, cradling her baby son in her arms. She kisses his cheeks, runs her fingers over his soft skin, sniffs his fine baby hair. She nurtures him with her own milk, changes his wrappings when he soils them, rocks and sings as he fights sleep. She lies next to him at night, listening for his baby sounds, squinting in the dark to be sure his little chest rises and falls. When the news comes of Pharaoh’s cruel decree, she feels nauseous as fear overtakes her. The knot in her stomach won’t let her rest. She racks her brain for a solution, for a way to save her baby’s life. And when the idea hits her, she can hardly believe the risk she is willing to take.

There’s a big sister, doting on the baby boy who has brought so much joy to the family. She works even harder than usual, doing most of the cooking and cleaning so her mother can care for this new brother. She likes to tell him stories about animals. She knows he doesn’t understand her yet, but he watches her with wide brown eyes because he likes to hear her voice. Her favorite part of the day is when he falls asleep on her chest for his afternoon nap. The idea of him floating on the Nile in the basket takes her breath away. But she knows it’s the only chance he’s got, so she stands back and watches, her heart pounding as she waits to see what will become of him.

There’s a princess, stepping into the warm waters for her bath, her attendants standing by. She enjoys the luxuries of palace life but also feels restless, like something greater awaits her. Floating on her back near the shore of the Nile, she feels her hair swirling around her. She goes under for a moment and opens her eyes. It’s a different world beneath the water. It’s almost like she’s been transported to another place. She wonders what life would be like if she had been born to someone else, in some other land. When she comes up, she sees that the current has carried her close to the reeds at the water’s edge. There is no mistaking the basket sitting there, caught by the plants. One attendant wraps a cloth around her as she steps out of the river, and another goes to retrieve the basket. For some reason, the sight of the little Hebrew baby doesn’t alarm her. He is crying, and her heart breaks for him.

At this point, three stories converge. Scripture tells us that Miriam, the baby’s sister, takes the daring risk of approaching Pharaoh’s daughter and offering a nursemaid for the baby. This is how the baby’s own mother gets to care for him until he grows up, when he goes to live with the princess who has named him Moses.

Three women. Three different perspectives on life in a hard world. Three daring acts of boldness. One gigantic miracle worked by God, saving a child who would grow into a magnificent leader for the Hebrew people. What can we learn from their stories?

Discussion

  • The story of baby Moses on the Nile is a favorite among children. What elements do you think are meaningful for kids?
  • Which of the women do you identify with? What is it about her story that connects with you?
  • When is it important to be bold and daring in our faith lives? How can we cultivate those qualities?
  • How have you seen God at work in the lives of different people in order to achieve one goal?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, and her husband John. Occasionally, she appears onstage in community theater productions and can sometimes be found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel movies, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who, and she’s still trying to write a young adult novel that her girls will enjoy.

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