I find myself asking this question a lot. Not because God hasn’t shown His love in uncountable ways, but more because the great variety of the examples truly expresses, at least to me, just how intimately God knows and cares for our hearts.
While reflecting on the story of Moses’ life recently, it struck me how there is a little gem buried in this story that so beautifully expresses how God cares for our hearts as our Heavenly Father. And the example isn’t really about Moses himself—it’s about his mother, Jochebed.
To give a bit of a refresher course, Exodus starts off with an account of how the Israelites “fell out of favor” with the Egyptians after great multiplication of their numbers; this eventually led to the Pharaoh enslaving the Israelites and brutally murdering their newborn baby boys in an effort to oppress the living and control the number of men born (since at that time, the might of the army was the might of the men). When Pharaoh had no success commanding the Hebrew midwives to kill the newborns, he sent his own people to throw the babies into the Nile River.
Enter stage left: Jochebed. The wife of a Levite named Amram, she already had two children born presumably before the Pharaoh’s edict; when she gave birth to a second son (who she saw, as Hebrews 11 says, “was no ordinary child”), she had to make a choice: hide him, or give him up. And for the sake of that extraordinary child, she and her husband took the risk, and for three months they managed to hide him. But when the time came that they couldn’t conceal his existence anymore, Jochebed took a great risk: she sent her child into the reeds near the shore of the Nile, where Pharaoh’s daughter came to bathe.
This is where the story takes an interesting turn. This action on Jochebed’s part seems almost unprecedented. Of all of the places to send her child, the arms of the Egyptian monarchy seems like one of the most dangerous. Yet she seemed to walk in absolute trust that whatever happened to that child, God would protect him. And protect Moses, God certainly did. Pharaoh’s daughter took pity on the crying baby; and when Moses’ sister interceded, all of the pieces fell into place. Jochebed was summoned to care for Moses. Rescued from the arms of death, she was not only allowed to nurse her own son, but she was paid to do it, which no doubt allowed her to care better for her other two children.
When revisiting this record, it struck me deeply how much God cared for Jochebed’s heart throughout the whole ordeal of Moses’ first months of life. Not only was she able to nurse and raise her son without keeping him hidden, fearing night and day for his life, but she was also provided for with wages. This reflects to earlier in this same record, where the Bible chronicles God’s provision for another pair of women—the Hebrew midwives who were blessed with large families because they refused to buckle under pressure from Pharaoh and kill the male children of the Hebrews.
There’s such a small window of Moses’ early life, given in the beginning of Exodus 2. Not much else is said about his parentage apart from a genealogy in Exodus 6 and a mention of his origins in Hebrews 11. But I feel like this portion of the biblical record is so important…if for no other reason than that it stands as a reminder that God truly has our best interest at heart.
It can be unsettling, even downright scary, at times, to have faith and release what’s most precious to us, entrusting it entirely to His hands. But we can see over and over throughout Scripture that God doesn’t demand from us with no concern for our hearts; He cares for us deeply and tenderly, on a personal and intimate level. And when we have the trust and the courage to lean entirely on Him and to follow His leading, with every ordinary and extraordinary thing in our lives, we will always find ourselves cared for and ministered to—often above and beyond what we believed was possible.