Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Call to Join the Jochebed Club

     If the name "Jochebed" sounds vaguely familiar but you just can't place it, don't be embarrassed. She's what we would call a "minor Bible character."  In fact, there are only nine verses in the entire Bible about Jochebed - eight in Genesis and one in Hebrews.  So, in case you are still wondering who this woman was, she was the mother of Moses (and Aaron and Miriam too).  Nine verses are all we have in the entire Bible to tell us about Jochebed.  We know that she was married to Amram, a Levite (Exodus 6:20, Exodus 2:1).  We know that she lived as a slave in Egypt.  We know that she lived during the time when Pharaoh had ordered the murder of all the Hebrew baby boys in the land (Exodus 1:16).  And we know that she defied Pharaoh and risked her own life to protect and hide her son (Exodus 2:2).

     But, if we do a little more investigating, we can find out SO MUCH MORE about Jochebed. 

How?  By looking at the children she produced!  Think about it.  Jochebed - a slave, the wife of a slave, living in what we can only imagine was a poor little shack somewhere in Egypt, during one of the most difficult times in Hebrew history, under enormous hardship, gave birth to and raised 3 children.  And what did these 3 children become?  Well, Miriam was a poetess, a songwriter, and one of only a few prophetesses (female prophets) in the Bible. - In fact, I believe there are less than 10 mentioned in the entire Bible!  She was also a leader - who led all the Hebrew women in a victory song after they marched across the Red Sea (Exodus 15:20-21).  She became FAR MORE than most women of her day could even dream of!  And then there's Aaron.  Aaron would not only become Moses' right hand man, his mouthpiece, charged with going before the mighty Egyptian Pharaoh, and assisting Moses as he led God's people through the wilderness, but he would also become Israel's VERY FIRST High Priest.  And lastly, there's Moses.  Describing his accomplishments and his significance to us even today would take more time than I have.  He is mentioned in SEVEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FOUR VERSES in the Bible (as opposed to Jochebed's nine verses). He is responsible for the first FIVE books of the Bible - including the Mosaic Law, which is at the heart of most of the world's judicial systems.  He is the man through which God gave us the Ten Commandments.  And of course, he was God's chosen instrument of deliverance for the Hebrew people during his lifetime.

     So what does all of that have to do with Jochebed?  Well, these three children didn't get to their positions of godly leadership by themselves.  They were raised in the ways of God, they were taught the principles of God's word, the faith of God's people, and the stories of God's great works.  They were invested in - and at an EARLY AGE.

     For the sake of this blog post (and time), I'd like to look mainly at the story of Moses.  We know from Exodus chapter 2 that Jochebed hid Moses for 3 months after his birth, at which point it became impossible to continue hiding him (Exodus 2:3).  She then made an ark of bulrushes, covered it with pitch to make it waterproof, laid her precious three month old baby in the little ark, and placed it in the Nile River.  Now, this sounds completely crazy, right?  I mean, why on earth does it seem safer to place your baby in the crocodile infested Nile than to just continue trying to hide him at home?  I don't believe Jochebed was crazy.  And I don't believe she had given up hope and placed her baby in the river thinking that he would be killed.  She simply came to a point where she could no longer protect her little one, and so her only alternative was to PLACE HIM IN GOD'S HANDS.  Perhaps she was remembering the story of Noah, and how God provided deliverance from destruction through an ark, when she fashioned that little boat of bulrushes and pitch.  I imagine she pleaded with God to protect her little one as she wiped the tears from her face and placed the little boat into the water.  I wonder if she asked God to bring that little baby back to her one day? 

     We know that she left, probably not able to stand by and watch, but trusting God to do what she could not and save her little baby.  But her daughter Miriam didn't leave - curious to see what would happen; learning, at an early age, just how deep her mother's faith in Jehovah was.  She watched as Pharaoh's daughter found her little brother, and immediately she offered to go get someone to nurse him.  We all know the end of Jochebed's Bible story - Miriam brought her back out to the river and Pharaoh's daughter asked her to take the baby and nurse him.  I wonder how long it had been since she'd placed the baby there.  I wonder if she was amazed at how quickly God brought her baby back to her.  I wonder if she laughed out loud at the thought that the daughter of the man who had ordered the murder of her little baby would now be PAYING her to care for him!  I wonder, as she and Miriam carried baby Moses home, if they sang songs of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord?  Did Miriam get her gift for music from her mama?  Who knows!  All we know is that Jochebed was able to take Moses home until he was weaned, and then she delivered him to Pharaoh's household.

     But there is one more thing we can tell about Jochebed by looking at Moses - and that is that she was DETERMINED to get as much truth into him as possible during the little window that she had him.  That bit of information is CRYSTAL CLEAR when we look at one of the books Moses wrote -  the book of Genesis, and all the stories that Jochebed taught little Moses. How JEHOVAH created the world (not the Egyptian gods), how Noah built an ark and GOd saved him and his family from the flood the flood, about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Esau, and of course, JOSEPH!  Do you think Jochebed spent a lot of time telling Moses about Joseph - another young Hebrew man who spent time in the court of Pharaoh, but did not forget who he was or Who his God was?  Do you think Jochebed told Moses about how God raised Joseph up to deliver His people from a horrible famine?  I think she probably did, considering that Moses devoted ONE-FOURTH of the book of Genesis to the story of Joseph!  She taught him, she sang to him, she prayed with him.  And he left her house (probably sometime between the ages of 3 and 5) fully equipped, fully grounded in the knowledge and the wisdom of God.  So ingrained was this teaching, that even years of living and being schooled in the Egytpian ways and religions did not blot out what his mother had taught him!

     So how was she able to do it?  And how can we do it?  Well, experts now say that 50% of a child's character and personality development takes place by the age of three and 75% by the age of five!  That's all the time Jochebed needed!  And she worked hard during those years and she reaped the reward of Proverbs 22:6 - "Train up a CHILD in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" - even before it was written! Jochebed realized that she had a very short window to dig deep into Moses' heart and plant the word of God and she took advantage of that window!

So, finally, this brings me to the title of my blog post: "A Call to Join the Jochebed Club."  I have decided not to let this window close in my kids' hearts before I have filled them full of God's Word!  I will teach them God's Word.  We will memorize Bible verses together.  We will do Bible crafts and sing Bible songs.  We will learn about Jesus!

Will you be a Jochebed?  Don't let that window close in your child's heart.  Don't wait until they are "older" to start teaching them God's Word!  Do it now!  Fill them up to overflowing!  And then just imagine what God will do with them!  If you would like to join the Jochebed club, just make it known in the comments section below.  Let's raise up some more Moseses, Aarons and Miriams for God to use!


  1. What a great idea! Looking forward to raising my children in the Lord with you.

  2. Yay, TaMara and Sarita!!! So glad you are joining with me!!!! I pray that more mamas will join! :)