“Someone’s trying to get in the house!” I hissed again. Fear paralyzed me, yet I didn’t want to wait for intruders to find us. The horrendous noise that woke us continued. We presumed it to be the home invasion crew recently described to us by a deputy sheriff.
“Yeah, ya got yer two dozen break-ins the last two months. If yer door’s locked they just hack at it with axes.”
Someone was axing our door right now while we laid in bed trying to figure out what to do!
Ken dialed 911 and whispered our suspicions to the operator then locked our bedroom door. Within five minutes, the front of our house looked like a drug bust going down. A loud knocking on our front door, accompanied by, “Sheriff’s department, open up,” propelled Ken to the door. At that moment, he realized the noise we heard came from our screen door not being latched and throwing itself on the front of the house.
Can you remember a time when fear grabbed you, throttled you and challenged your ability to reason or move? If you can recall a moment like that, it will help you admire and understand the commando faith of Moses’ parents, Amram and Jochabed.
Giving birth to a healthy, beautiful child should create intense joy for any parent. For Moses’s parents, it forced them into a time of crazy courage and radical trust in God.
Moses’ birth occurred during the season of the Egyptian pharaoh’s edict that all Hebrew boys must be murdered at birth. Close your eyes and try to imagine what it felt like to be a pregnant Hebrew woman at that time. Let your mind wander a bit over the landscape of horror and grief that law unleashed in the Israelite nation.
That story always came across to me in picture books with Moses’ parents cowering in fear. Scriptures paint a different picture. Let’s review the facts in Exodus 2.
Pharaoh proclaims his edict.
Jochabed gives birth to Moses and observes that he is “especially beautiful and healthy.” (Exodus 2:2 AMP)
The decision is made to hide Moses for three months.
At the end of three months, a special basket is built, Moses is placed inside and positioned in the portion of the Nile River where it is known that Pharaoh’s daughter regularly bathes.
Miriam is placed on guard duty.
What prompted this monumentally unique response from Moses’ parents when they were surrounded by others who stood by helplessly as Egyptian soldiers slaughtered their newborns? I believe that the crazy faith of these remarkable parents connected with God’s desire to move heaven and earth to spare Moses’ life.
Hebrews 11: 23 highlights this: “By faith Moses, after his birth, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful and divinely favored child; and they were not afraid of the king’s decree.” (Amp) Unlike many Israelites, it seems clear that Amram and Jochabed did not adapt the false gods of Egypt. They hunkered down with Jehovah, the One who promised to send a deliverer.
Joshua confronted the Israelites about this issue years later. “Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in truth; remove the gods which your fathers served….in Egypt, and serve the Lord.” (Josh. 24:14 AMP)
Amram and Jochabed seemed to be set apart from their culture. To be unafraid of a powerful tyrant is noteworthy. The whole basket in the river strategy represented a solid belief that God’s power far exceeded Pharaoh’s, and that he also knew the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter. Otherwise, how did these parents know she wouldn’t murder Moses in deference to her father? The only conclusion is that God shared his thoughts with them. He let them know that if they took this wild step of faith, He planned to make it come out right.
The takeaway here is simple to say and so challenging to do. If you are expecting God to do great things in the places where fear and chaos threatens, you must be in the kind of intimate relationship with Him that allows him to share his plans with you. Knowing God deeply through prayer and studying his word means we are able to see his supernatural workings all around us and join him in his work.
Like Israel, Christ-followers are set apart. The way we face catastrophes and set-backs, the way we spend our time and resources, and the way we obey God, should all be distinct within our sphere of influence. Sometimes we are called to be different even within the midst of God’s chosen, as Moses’ parents were.
It’s entirely possible that other Israelites mocked Moses’ family for continuing to worship a God who left Israel in bondage for 400 years. I imagine voices screaming, “Where is your Jehovah now?” while Hebrew families wailed with grief over their murdered infants. In the same way people around us often cry, “Where is God?” in the face of natural disasters, mass shootings or terrorist events. Overcoming evil with good takes an aerobic, ever-growing faith, the kind of absolute trust in God that empowers us to be calm within chaos, loving in the face of evil, courageous when surrounded by fear.
I am inspired by Amram and Jochabed, whose trust in God lifted them above the soul-crushing circumstances of their circumstances to lay the foundation for the deliverance of the entire nation of Israel. We need that kind of dangerous faith to arise in the soul of every believer so that we are ready to be conduits of heaven’s power and peace into every situation of chaos and fear.