Moses' Parents

Hebrews 11.23

Return with me to the book of Hebrews, where we are going to pick up in chapter 11, continuing our movement through the book of Hebrews together. I had pastor Alex read from the account that’s given in Exodus 1 and 2 because that provides us the setting of the singular verse we are going to look at this morning in Hebrews 11, look with me at verse 23. 

We of course, as stated, are moving through chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews. Which is, as most of us know, the faith chapter, for us in particular, a biblical theology of faith. God revealing the accounts of the stories of said individuals of their enduring trust in the Lord, in YHWH, to the greater story, which was the sending of God’s own son, the promised Lord Jesus Christ to redeem both them and us. As we move through this, and in each account as we move through them, it’s pretty evident that there is one form of difficulty or another that is provided in their circumstance to which we then see their persevering faith in God. When you get to this particular verse it’s kind of easy, to miss the story of Moses’ parents as it’s found here in Hebrews 11. Yet I have found this, in studying it, it is an incredibly wonderful and encouraging story, their account, as it fits in of course to the rest of the gospel story. I find it to be strengthening and encouraging to us who desire to have gospel centered families and gospel-centered homes. 

You may or may not know the names of Moses’ parents but they are Amram and Jochebed.  Amram and Jochebed kind of sound like a bad monster movie. For those of you that grew up in this area, I know as a kid, every Saturday Godzilla would come on. That was, when I was a kid, one of the highlights of the week. I couldn’t wait for Saturday because on channel 50 Godzilla was going to come on and he was going to fight a particular monster. So I was a Godzilla fan. When you look at Amram and Jochebed, and you kind of say their names quick that is what it sounds like, a bad monster movie. But these are the parents of Moses. Amram his father, and Jochebed being his mother. However brief it is presented here in Hebrews 11, it is a very important moment in our history. I kind of need you to pull this together with me because we are going to look at three different passages. We are going to jump back to Exodus 2, we are going to look at Acts 7 in a few moments here, and then we will tie this in to Hebrews 11 to see how this account formulates. 

Getting us to that point I want to share just a couple things about Amram and Jochebed by name, which are pretty significant. Amram name means an exulted people of abundance. His name means love and companionship, peace and harmony, and also his name means aggressive. So it means an exulted people of abundance, love and companionship, peace and harmony, and aggressive. Jochebed has a beautiful name as well, in terms of her meaning. The meaning of Jochebed means YHWH or the Lord is glory. And of course you and I understand that YHWH, the Lord, we come to know as the person of Jesus.  When you put these two together, you of course, know the story of Moses, and as we are going to look at it, the picture is pretty clear.  Theirs was, even in the center of tremendous difficulty and turmoil, a happy home.  They had a faithful home.  They had, if you want to call it, a gospel-centered home.  They were living to the glory of YHWH.  Just as you and I meet here weekly as the design of God, his church, we all have desires (there’s no doubt in my mind or else you wouldn’t be here) to live to the glory of Jesus, both personally and most assuredly as a home.  I think what you find in Amram and Jochebed’s name is that their home was filled with love and peace and harmony.  Compassion was exhibited. They were faithfully living out and following after YHWH.  And inside of that home, understand this, they were parenting aggressively… strong, godly parents. Amram and Jochebed, they’re mentioned in Exodus chapter 6 verse 20, by name, as Moses’ parents. Exodus chapter 2, they were from the tribe of Levi.  And what the Bible tells us there in Exodus chapter 6 is this household of Amram and Jochebed had Miriam, a prophetess, Moses, who becomes one of the greatest leaders in the history of Israel, and also Aaron, his brother, who becomes a high priest.  Amram and Jochebed had a faith in the Promise.  And God enters them into the picture. When you look back again to verse 23, it’s easy to almost miss this, it says, “By faith Moses, when he was born…” Well, when Moses was born, he was hidden for three months by his parents.  It was the parents’ faith that had hidden Moses for three months for this reason because they saw that the child was beautiful and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.  Moses was born under a tremendous amount of distress on the people of Israel. They were under bondage.  They were in slavery, of course, as Pastor Alex read from Exodus 1:15-22. You know this; you’re familiar with this, as you’re familiar with the story of Moses.  It was a dark time in Israel’s history.  They were under oppression by the Egyptians.  And Pharaoh, the leader of the Egyptian nation, enslaved the Israelites.  He was a ruthless individual.  Some of you even groaned in the account that Pastor Alex read from.  He was a gruesome individual.  And he wanted to keep these people under control because he had them in bondage.  They were their slaves.  In doing so, he placed amount of great burdens on them. And he offers, as we note together, an edict found in Exodus 1:16, which Pharaoh began to fear the growth of the nation of Israel.  Now, you can imagine being subject to slavery and such heavy lifting and the things of this nature (because undoubtedly they were used to build much of the pyramids and all of those things that were going on in the construction) much would cause the men of the nation to grow strongand mighty and powerful.  And they not only were growing that way physically, but more importantly God was giving them homes and families. In a tremendous amount of difficulty and distress, they were having families. And they were trusting, even though they were in bondage and slavery, they were trusting in the Lord.  And the Lord was making preparation to free them.  Pharaoh, of course, was concerned that this group of people (the Jews and the nation of Israel) would surpass Egypt.  And he was fearful of being overpowered by them, and so he orders the murder of males.  And yet, as the text tells us, the midwives feared God and they did not obey Pharaoh and God made provision for them (Exodus 1:19-21).  And the people had families.  The number of the people of Israel were growing.  It was said that when they left, the nation of Egypt had at least 2 million people.  Egypt had had them in bondage.  And it’s in that backdrop that we’re going to look at three different texts that tell us and give us the faith of Amram and Jockebed.  

Amram and Jochebed believed the Lord. They trusted in God’s promise.  They believed, which is really the theme of all of chapter 11, they believe and they obey.  Their belief is demonstrated by their obedience.  These parents had followed YHWH, and it was a winsome kind of home.  There was love, and there was peace, and there was harmony, and it was being lived out to the glory of YHWH.  These things were shared.  You get to chapter two then, and amidst this difficult, stressful time comes the birth of Moses.  Now, again, I wanted you to stay with me, and I want you to follow this.  This is kind of easy to miss if you do this in a casual reading.  But this will bless you.  And God left it there in time and space as the story of redemption unfolds.  

So, we’re going to turn to Exodus chapter 2, and we’re going to go the three spots all at the same time.  Then, we’re going to go to Acts chapter 7, and you’re going to hold your spot here in Hebrew chapter 11.  So, go ahead and do that.  I want to get everybody turned over there and get settled in so you can follow this with me.  And I trust this morning it will encourage you certainly, as it did me.  Exodus chapter 2, the book of Acts chapter 7, and of course you know that’s where Stephen is preaching through the Old Testament, a biblical theology of the Old Testament, and then Hebrews chapter 11.  

There is something stated within each of these texts that are consistent.  One particular thing. It’s a curious thing; you will see this as we read it. You’ll notice this with me that in this set of circumstances Moses had an unusual birth and those things that happen that surround his birth and his early infancy. Read Exodus 2:2. Now turn with me to Acts 7, I’m going to read a bigger section here that isn’t too long, look at verses 17-22 because it’s here that Stephen as he is preaching, who obviously ends up stoned and martyred, as he is trying to point to the people the promise of Jesus that is found in the Old Testament. He enters into this in verse 17. 

So here in verse 20 of Acts 7, the Bible tells us that Moses was beautiful in God’s sight. Now once again turn to chapter 11 of Hebrews and we will pull all this together. Exodus 2:2, “a fine child”, Acts 7:20, “beautiful in God’s sight” and Hebrews 11:23, “the child was beautiful.” What is the significance of that?

If God says something once it’s important and he means it, but its stated in three different accounts and three different time frames. In one respect, don’t all parents think their kids are beautiful? I think back to when our first, Drew, was born and the excitement we had in waiting for him, and yes I did help deliver all three of my boys. But I have to be honest with you, I never necessarily thought any of them were beautiful. I kind of thought they came out the same way, dark headed and red. But as it were, they were beautiful to us. Because the truth is, parents think their kids are beautiful. So in one regard, Moses was a good-looking infant. But this translation an appearance can also mean favor. When it is translated that way beautiful in God’s sight in Acts 7:20, it would have to be that the child had God’s favor on him. That’s more the significance, though he may have been a pretty little boy. The significance of what’s going to take place, that God was pouring his favor into Moses who would be the deliverer of God’s people. 

Let me say this, here is one of the reasons why I believe that, God is not interested in your looks. You don’t get saved because you are good looking. You don’t get saved because of your intellect. You don’t get saved because of your wealth. You don’t get saved because of the particular family you come from. That is clear on a lot of fronts, in particular John 1:12-13. There is nothing in and of our lives, which is even true of Moses, that God is going to be overly impressed with. But God does pour out his favor. You are the recipient of his favor, as I am, that have been converted to Jesus Christ. So it was going to be for Moses, and in particular was already the said faith of his parents Amram and Jochebed. Go back again to verse Acts 7:17. As Moses was being born and the edict had come forward from Pharaoh, Amram and Jochebed had an understanding of this and were trusting in YHWH for his protection. There was a greater purpose to this than just some random plan to put him in a basket and to set him into the water, even though that was a part of their narrative. Moses, to Amram and Jochebed, was going to have a unique destiny beyond just his own parent’s thinking but they knew it was going to come from the Lord himself. That Moses was going to have a play in God’s promise of redemption. He would be the delivered of God’s people and one who would make a covenant with the nation, a covenant made under Moses. Now go back to Hebrews 11, having taken those things into account, and that’s a part of this story that is given to us, however brief it is, of Moses’ parents Amram and Jochebed in verse 23. 

They were trusting in YHWH though the lived in a time of great duress, slavery. God had provided for Amram and Jochebed protection. They were trusting in YHWH and their faith appears to us as reckless and very brave. They conceal Moses for as long as they can, for three months. Can you imagine trying to keep from birth to three months a baby from crying? It’s difficult and it’s impossible. But they were trusting in the Lord and they did not fear Pharaoh. Their lives were committed to the ways of YHWH over against the difficult environment that they lived in. That is truth to live on. They trusted in YHWH and it resulted in them obeying him. They were believers in God’s promise, they conceal Moses’ presence and their doing so, under the fear of death for Moses, perhaps even Mariam and Aaron, and as well to themselves. Their faith certainly is brave; it’s reckless. Amram and Jochebed come up with this creative plan. Here is what I want you to know about this, it is important and indicative to all who believe in Jesus Christ, our faith is a reasonable faith, it makes sense. It isn’t just some random blind thing. That is, when you really believe and have been converted to Christ, God calls upon us to think. We have think through things and we have to give ourselves to a faith that is active, condition upon the things that are going on in our home and the things that are going on in our church. Faith is not blind in the sense that I believe and that’s it. Real faith is moved to action, I think you see that to be true of the people in Hebrews 11. 

We know it to be true for those people in Amram and Jochebed’s home. They come up with a plan. Jochebed makes a basket, a papyrus basket, it’s coated with pitch. They sent beautiful Moses into this basket. Now just think about that for a moment, that’s terrifying. Are you kidding me? That’s terrifying. We can almost read through that as if it’s not that big of a deal. They were trusting in YHWH, they were believing in the promise, but they were setting this thing forth. Now before we continue on, I want you to turn to Proverbs 21. Because I think in all of our lives, in all of our family’s lives we are called upon by God to trust him and obey him no matter the set of circumstances. Here is what works with trusting the Lord, trusting in Christ, and giving yourself to his ways, when sometimes you don’t have the answers. Any number of things could have happened to Moses, but they were trusting in YHWH. 

Look at Proverbs 21: 1. You and I, as followers of Christ are in the hand of the Lord and our circumstances, sometimes that we don’t necessarily have the answer to, need to continue to trust in Christ, to obey the things of Christ when maybe we see things being altered. Because the King’s heart is in the hand of the Lord and he turns it however he wills.  See your life is not being lived in some random fashion, we aren’t some people who are Johnny-come-lately. God is at work in the lives of those who believe. Here again, beautiful little Moses is placed into the basket and then placed into the water where Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing and big sister Mariam is set there to watch, “You watch there Mariam.” Baby Moses is found, he melts the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter, Mariam pops up and offers a great suggestion as the account is given to us, “shall I go and find a Hebrew woman to nurse the child?” And the result is this, Jochebed raises Moses, probably for most people believe, up to age 4 and she gets paid. You know why? Because following YHWH, following the Lord, following Jesus is always win-win. We win now, no matter the circumstances, no matter what life brings us, and we win in the end. You will never be able to out-give God.

Jochebed gets paid for nursing her baby Moses and she raises him in his early years, and again many think that was probably until age 4. She, along with Amram, continues to live out to the glory of YHWH and it is a home filled with compassion and love and peace and harmony, and they are following after the Lord, it’s a faithful home. Man, this is a haven! Moses, at this point, is spared at 3 months through his parent’s heroic faith. Amram and Jochebed raise Moses for four years, he is nurtured and powerfully given the things that pertain to the Lord. He becomes aware of his origin, he is taught to fear YHWH, and he learns of the things of YHWH and God reveals other things to him as his life unfolds. To make note of that, to know that is true and I am not just making it up, look at Acts 7:25.  This is when Moses behaves wrongly and kills an Egyptian. Moses begins to reveal him and he always cultured in this empire of Egyptian, he begins to understand who he is, and he acts in this part in the flesh. His first forty years are spent in Egypt and then he goes into the desert, and on and on and on it goes. His life is being formulated by God. Moses is going to become the deliverer. 

Just to pause for a moment, for us, Christianity always endures difficulty. No matter it is. Jesus told us, in this life you will always have trouble. God doesn’t bring trouble because you can handle it, cause you are tough or you know how to get the answers, God brings trouble into our lives to nurture, develop, and strengthen our faith, and to develop us into running to Jesus, because otherwise we will act too independent of him. What an encouragement! This Godly home, this Godly family, with nurturing parents. Faith in YHWH, they bathed Moses’ life in prayer as the turned him over. Their faith possessed a bravery to it. It was almost reckless! They were nurturing in their own home. I want you to get this, just as a side application, nothing replaces the home. Not the church, the school that you send your kids to, nothing replaces the home. The responsibility, as my children were raised here, was never on their particular Sunday school teachers. The burden of the account of the day has always been placed on me, first and foremost as head of the household. It is my responsibility as that, to create an atmosphere like Amram had; Godly, peaceful, harmony, loving, compassionate, and being very aggressive. In this day and age, past some of those things, because I have found this to be true and I don’t know the circumstance of all the families in our church, but from time to time in our church we have had people in our church choose various forms of education for their children. Sometimes Christian school, sometimes homeschool, and sometimes public schools. As it were, people would approach me about my opinion on it, time to time they would. Which I have always replied, “You know what is best for your child and what you want them to do and what you want them to become and I would never try to replace those things.” For a moment in our lives, sometimes our kids went to a Christian school, even sometimes, I just want to be honest with you, I was approached by a family who had two toddlers that said, “I can’t believe you’ll throw kids to the wolves by sending them to public school.” I looked her like, “Woah, ain’t you sassy.” They are no longer here, and I didn’t rebuke her. But I am serious when I say this, as a pastor I will support you as a family. We are in this thing together! We are all trying to raise Godly homes, and not just Godly homes that make it to church once in a while, we are talking about homes filled with love and compassion and gospel conversation and peaceful and harmony that stems from a right relationship with the spouse that provides security for the children that observe it. Not just child-centered parenting. I want to reissue this to you, nothing replaces the home in terms of responsibility. Now I am thankful, with all my heart, for all the people who have had influence into my life, my wife’s life, and my children’s lives in the church. Obviously church you know as I am saying this, obviously it’s not that it’s not important, I’m just submitting this to you, that coming here and trying look right doesn’t mean anything if at your house, hell is going on. 

It stems first and foremost, Amram and Jochebed had a right relationship with each other. Amram, there is no doubt in my mind, lead the charge in that. He wanted a right relationship with Jochebed, and they together wanted to live to the glory of YHWH. Man, do I want to look like those two people! Because, guess what, we are all living in a difficult environment. In an environment that hates the things of God. We are not going to shrink back from that! We are going to have our homes to be havens. We trust to be gospel-centered, we support ministry that will love and support that, and we are going to engage the world we live in, for the glory of Jesus. We want to make his name famous. 

Parents, if you are sending your children to a Christian school, or you are homeschooling them, or sending them to public school for their education, there is no doubt in my mind, if you are following after Christ, that you are trying to do the best you can for your kids. Guess what? We are going to love you and support you in it. To the degree that God has us involved in their lives, we are going to support that, we are going to encourage that. Amram and Jochebed were raising their home to the glory of YHWH. Of course, as this is, we know that their story as it unfolds in Hebrews 11 fits into the great story who is the greatest hero of this, Jesus. Jesus is the hero to their story, as he is to our story. Moses’s parents, as read here, had this creative plan and they turn Moses over, as all of us parents have to do. We are raising our children for a new nest. As this unusual plan unfolds for Moses, they turned him over so Moses could live and wouldn’t be murdered. In doing so, they trusted in YHWH to protect him. Our heavenly Father has an eternal plan. His plan is a foolproof plan to bring salvation to you. The Father turned to his son Jesus and said go. He didn’t protect him to live, he asked him to die. So that you and I could enjoy the life that he gives. Why would we not want to have homes that aggressively follow after YHWH? Jesus dies so many could live, and those who are living are you and I church. Moses’ parents had a son, in this case Moses, and Moses would become a deliverer as he is known in the history of Israel. Moses is a deliverer of a nation. The Father has a son, his name is Jesus and Jesus is a deliverer. Jesus did not only deliver a nation, he has blessed the nations. He is the sole deliverer of all nations; he is the only way someone can know the Father. Matthew 28:18&19, you know this passage. Jesus delivered you from your sin, for eternity. Trust and obey Jesus, as that song goes. Trust and obey for there is no other way. You want to be happy in Jesus, then you want to trust and obey. 

Parents, let me ask you this as we sum this up as we prepare to take the holy family meal together, is your home a happy home? I am talking about, not being a happy home centered upon things materials you have obtained, materialistic things or sport related or because they’re smart. Is your home a gospel-centered home? Centered upon the only one who can bring happiness in this life. I am asking you dad’s is your home centered upon Jesus? Are you having gospel conversations with one another, with your spouse in a loving way? Are having gospel conversations with your children that are filled with love, even if they stumble and sin, just like you do? Is your home filled with companionship? Is peace and harmony to be said in your household? I guess what I am asking is, do you have a happy faithful family? Well the one of the ways God uses that, I believe this with all my heart, is that you must parent aggressively. If you don’t want to parent aggressively for the glory of Jesus, your household is getting run over. Now just stating that, and just me even saying those words, trust me there is burden and guilt that comes to my mind. For all of us to one degree or the other, there’s been some failing in this. But Jesus succeeded. In saying that, the gospel message and gospel centered living centers on, “Lord I’ve messed up and I want to make it right with you, I want to make it right with my spouse.” Even if need be, your sons and daughters need to hear the words, “I’m sorry, will you forgive me?” Aggressive parenting for the sake of Jesus, because life is difficult. Listen to me, it was meant to be. It was meant to be, for us as Christians so that we would possess the type of faith that this list gives us: atrusting in Jesus faith and an enduring hope in the gospel message itself, and sometimes not having the answers. We’re going to the Lord, we are going to obey the Lord. We know even some in this chapter, many died. Trust Jesus, trust the gospel, be filled with love, be filled with graciousness, deal with life with one another in a gospel centered, grace filled way. Then we can look like Amram and Jochebed. They are not a monster movie, they are a beautiful couple that God used in this story of redemption.