Key Verse

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
— Psalm 37:5

In God's Keeping

Exodus 1:22; 2:1-10; Hebrews 11:23



Jochebed knew she could trust the Lord with her baby.

Jochebed sat in her small home, straining to hear the sounds of Miriam’s returning steps. Her troubled thoughts went to the frightening things that had been happening to their people.

Pharaoh had decreed that all their baby boys must be killed when born, but the midwives who assisted in the births had found ways to keep them alive. Defeated in this, he had ordered that all their infant boys be thrown into the river.

Many of Jochebed’s neighbors and friends had lost their baby boys in this way. There was scarcely a family in the land that had not been affected by this cruel law.

Jochebed’s eyes filled with tears as she thought of the events of the morning. For three months she had hidden her own baby, defying the king’s command. Her husband, Amram, had helped her and so had Miriam, their daughter. But now the baby was too old to be kept quiet in the small home, and the last few weeks had been spent in agony, fearing that he would soon be discovered.

A few days earlier she had thought of a plan. She would hide the baby in a new place—in the reeds at the edge of the river. Pharaoh had said the babies should be thrown into the river, so who would think of hiding one there? She had made a small reed boat, just large enough to hold the carefully wrapped baby. After coating the little boat with pitch, she had let it dry, and then tested it for leaks. At last she was satisfied that it would float.

Very early this morning she had gently laid her precious baby in it, and carefully put on the cover, checking to be sure he could breathe. “Come, Miriam,” she had said softly, “we must get to the river before anyone can see what we are doing.”

Hurriedly the two had walked to the river’s edge. Jochebed had waded into the reeds, picking a spot where they were especially thick. She placed the small boat where it would not tip over. “Lord God,” she said, “this child is now in Your keeping. I trust You to do what is best for him. He is Yours.” Struggling to hold back the tears, she returned to where Miriam stood. Miriam’s eyes were filled with tears. Jochebed thought: What will happen to him if we go away and leave him? She said quietly to Miriam, “Stay here, my child, to see what may happen.”

Now Jochebed was at home, waiting. Waiting for what? She had committed the child to the keeping of her God. But what would God do in these circumstances? She wasn’t really sure. She only knew that God had helped in times past. He had heard her prayer, she knew. Now she would see what He would do for her and for her baby.

Suddenly Jochebed was aware of the sound of running feet. The door of the home was thrown open. “Mother!” Miriam’s voice was urgent. “Mother, come quickly!”

“What is the matter? Is the baby all right?”

“Oh, yes, Mother. Come! I will tell you as we go.”

Quickly, Jochebed followed her daughter. As they hurried past the other small homes Miriam spoke softly. “I watched from the edge of the river. I was going to throw a rock if a crocodile came. But, Mother . . .” Here the girl stopped, her eyes opened wide with wonder. “Mother, Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the river to bathe. She saw the basket and sent one of her maidens to find out what was in it. When they opened it up, the baby was crying. She must have felt sorry for him because she took him out of the basket. He stopped crying when she held him close, and then he started to smile. She seemed to love him right away.

“Then I heard her say, ‘Poor baby, he’s one of the Hebrew children. If I had a way to feed him, I could keep him for my own.’ When I heard that, I ran up and asked her if she wanted me to go and get a nurse from among the Hebrew women. That’s when I ran home for you. I didn’t tell her that he was your baby.”

By now they were at the path that led to the river’s edge. Jochebed looked ahead and saw the princess with her maidens gathered around her, holding the precious baby. Slowly, trembling inside, Jochebed approached and knelt before the ruler’s daughter.

The princess looked at Jochebed carefully, then down at the baby in her arms. “This child is one of the children of your people, but now he is mine. I will call him Moses, because I took him from the river. Take him and care for him as if he were your own; I will pay you. My father’s guards will be told that he is my son. When it is time, I will call for him, and he will come and live with me in the palace of my father.”

Silently, Jochebed stood up and reached for her baby, and in a few moments she turned toward her home. Carefully cradling the infant in her arms, she spoke to him softly. “Moses. She called you Moses. I will call you that too, because it means ‘drawn out.’ My Son, the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has caused you to be taken from the river. He has given you back to me for a little while. As long as you are with me, I will teach you about the one true God. Who knows but perhaps from Pharaoh’s own house you may someday help free our people from slavery.”

Then Jochebed praised the Lord. The Lord had answered her prayer!