Joachim’s Two Mothers
Text: Exodus 2:1-10
Proposition: The providence of God invites mothers to a faith that overcomes.
Introduction: There once were two women named Shiprah and Puah, they were poor and entrapped in a world of slavery. We know little about them except that they were drawn into a scheme to commit multiple murders, their own lives being on the line should they refuse. They were ordered to kill children, to kill at the moments of their birth, to kill the males only. The records of history tell us that these two feared God, they didn’t do as commanded and instead saved the lives of many. When the first order for infanticide failed, a second was issued. The order from the highest of authorities directed that all baby boys were to be drowned. We will never know how many died but we do know about two who survived, one was a baby boy named Aaron and the other was a baby boy named Joachim. It was the mother’s heart in Shiprah and Puah that saved Aaron, but Joachim’s life was saved because of the love of his two mothers. Turn with me to Exodus 2 as we see the beginning of his story.
I. There is Nothing Simple When It Comes to Motherhood. For three months she and her husband hid their new born baby, they went against the law of the Pharoah, they risked their own lives and the lives of their other two children. We know from subsequent records that they had a little girl named Miriam and then the little boy that we’ve already mentioned, Aaron. When Joachim was born the pressure had become much greater to control the birth rate of Hebrew boys. The Egyptians feared that they were becoming out populated by the Hebrew nation they controlled as slaves and unless they slowed the birth rate of the male children they risked rebellion. There was nothing simple about this mothers life… political, social, financial and moral issues faced her and thus spiritual beliefs were all the more crucial. There is nothing simple when it comes to motherhood, there are always going to be fears and doubts. For the mother of Joachim one thought chased her night and day, it was the thought that no matter how hard she tried, no matter how much she longed, she would not be able to keep this baby boy. Sooner or later he would be discovered and that moment terrified her. So for three months she nursed him and held him and knew that with an absolute certainty that she could not control nor guarantee his future. She had to entrust him completely, today, to God and then seek His wisdom daily as to what her role in that was. There’s nothing simple about motherhood, even for mothers here today. On the outside our Moms can seem to have it all together but their faith is the glue that holds all their other qualities together. Guys there is nothing that compares in our experiences to what she goes through from conception, pregnancy, full term, birth, the post partum changes and the wonder of her heart as she mothers the gift of this child. Our role as fathers is to love, to cherish and protect and provide and trust God with every fiber of our being just as she does.
II. There is Nothing More Enduring Than a Mothers Love. At the end of three months, when she fears she can no longer safely conceal him she does what she can. She makes a small basket, coats it with the slimy clay mud from the river bank, lets it harden so as to be water tight and then takes it and her son down to edge of the river near Pharoahs residence and there places the baby in the basket in the reeds by the shore. She has Miriam watch over it, she does what she can in faith and she does what she can in action and now she does what she can in waiting. Mothers have learned to be good at waiting, not that they like it one bit, but they wait while fathers sleep. But all waiting in a mothers mind is the result of planning and preparing and prayer. She hoped for the miracle of another mother, she hoped for the life of her child and in the Lord she waited. How could she have known that Pharoah’s daughter longed for a child, how could she have known that when the baby cried that that this woman, this second mother, would feel the tug at her heart to care for her son? How could she have known that Miriam would step forward and offer to get a Hebrew nurse to suckle the child and how could she have known that God would give her son back to her under the wings of the strongest protection. The very power that moments before had threatened his life was now enlisted to protect him and ensure a future for him. This mother did what she could and risked her son into the hands of God and God answered her prayer in a stunning way. She received her son back for at least two years and then a second mother cared, schooled, nurtured, loved, fed, clothed and guided him for the next 18 years or so. This second mother also gave him a name, Moses, an Egyptian name that meant, “drawn from the water”. Joachim, we only know this name because of Hebrew tradition, but Moses is a name known around the world 3800 years later. Who could ever have known that Moses would lead his father and mother out of slavery along with almost two million other people, the birth of the nation of Israel. To this day the most remembered event in Israel’s history is the evening that God passed over the houses marked by blood, the blood of a lamb, as He released the people from the hands of Pharaoh into the hands of Moses. Mothers, know that God works through your faith, when you do what you could do, when you put your child into His care and when you honor God and love God with all your body, soul and mind.
In many ways Moses is considered to be a person that God used to picture or foreshadow Jesus Christ. Moses was born under a threat of death as a baby boy, Jesus as an infant was pursued by Herod. Moses was raised in Egypt as a child, Jesus spent His first years in Egypt. Moses experienced the desert as a place of preparation, Jesus experienced the wilderness in a similar way. By Moses God brought people out of slavery by the blood of a lamb. Jesus would finish the slavery of sin by being the lamb of God whose blood brings the greatest freedom. As Moses led the people through the water of the Red Sea, Jesus leads His people through the waters of Baptism. What Moses led the people through in the Passover, Jesus fulfills in the Lord’s Supper, Moses points to the Messiah, Jesus is the Messiah.