JOCHEBED, THE MOTHER WITH A PLAN
Let's start with a prayer: Father, Mother, God; help us to express that love and truth of spirit that is within us. Open our hearts and minds to the Christ within. Help us to see our path to grow spiritually and become all that God intended. Amen.
During this month of Magnificent Mothers I would like to talk about Jochebed, the Mother with a plan.
"Jochebed was the mother of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. Metaphysically she is the religious soul of man exalting, honoring, and glorifying Jehovah, Christ, I AM, by expressing the love and Truth of Spirit. When man glorifies God and exalts Him in his thoughts, man in turn is exalted and enriched."a
The high points of this story are:
1) Moses' birth and keeping him hidden.
2) Moses put in a basket.
3) Pharaoh's daughter.
4) How Moses, Aaron, and Miriam turned out.
From her faith in things unseen, Jochebed gained her strength and force. A mother who had learned to trust her creator and not to doubt, she seemed to be united to the promises of God, absorbed by them and exhilarated by them.
It says in Psalms 33:
"The counsel of the Lord stands for ever,
the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who respect him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,"b
She was a descendant of the Levi line. The Levites were charged with the care of the sanctuary. Jochebed handed down the priestly tradition of her family to her children. She knew the stories. She believed the promises. God was faithful. Hadn't her people already grown as numerous as the sand of the sea, just as he said they would?
It was probably near Memphis in northern Egypt that Jochebed gave birth to Moses, in the second half of the second millennium B.C.
At the time when Jochebed gave birth to Moses, the Pharaoh had issued an edict to midwives to kill all Hebrew male children at birth. Moses had a natural birth, but the fact that he survived and grew up when all male Hebrew children were being destroyed is noteworthy.
I'm sure Jochebed had heard the screams of the mothers echoing regularly across the Hebrew camp, as their children were torn from them. I'm sure she held her two children closely and this one she vowed would never be fodder for the Egyptian river God. She and her husband Amran would pray. They would plan. And they would trust God to help them. There is a famous saying, "Trust Allah, but tie up your camel." We can both trust God and make plans,.
It is written in Jeremiah 29:
"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, ...."c
How Jochebed managed to save her son from pharaoh's edict during the first three months of Moses life is not recorded. We can imagine she might have hidden him in a donkey stable or a storage room where she kept clay jars filled with grain, peppercorns, onions, and other foods. But after he became three months old, she knew she could no longer take the risk of hiding him.
Metaphysically when we are in what seems Egyptian darkness, and weak as water, we are ripe for the higher understanding. The thoughts that rule in the darkness are bent upon putting out all the children of light, but if we are of the house of faith, as were Moses' parents, then our desire to bring forth the higher consciousness will find a protector.
How do you think the family kept the baby quiet? If a close neighbor had heard the baby's cries, what do you think he or she would have done? What if that neighbor had just lost a newborn to the Pharaohs decrees?
MOSES IN BASKET
Through these months of anxiety, we can be sure that she lived close to her God. He had endowed her with sufficient wisdom and ingenuity to conceal her boy for three months. Now she knew that her God of infinite compassion would not forsake her. She had faith enough to enter upon a plan fraught with danger, that of leaving her baby in a handmade ark floating at the water's edge close to the dangerous current of the Nile River.
Metaphysically, we must care for the infant thought of Truth and surround it with the ark of love and trust, right in the midst of its seeming enemies.
Moses' mother, Jochebed, had one thing in mind when hiding her son and leaving him in a basket in the river. Her goal was to preserve his life for one more day, one more hour, one more moment. She could not have known how God planned to work in her life or in the life of her son. Nor did she realize he was putting into place a divine plan to rescue the Israelites from the very oppression she was resisting.
God's ways are beautiful in the extreme. He uses the devoted, intense love of a mother for her child to bring freedom to an entire race. Like Jochebed, our goal should be to hang on, trusting that God has his own purpose at work and that we and our children are part of it.
What courage she must have had as she wove by hand the Ark of bulrushes out of the long pliant tenacious stems of the papyrus plant. This plant itself she knew was a protection against crocodiles. What positive faith, too, she must have had that God would protect her child. And yet for Jochebed faith was accompanied by careful planning and work. She not only wove the Ark but with their own hands plastered it inside with clay to make it smooth and outside with bitumen to make it watertight. Her faith was not without wisdom.
With the help of her daughter Miriam, she laid her baby near the rivers bank and left this young girl nearby to watch over her little brother. What could have calmed a mother's heart in an hour like this but prayer? And surely, she had taught her daughter Miriam to pray also as she watched. Though Miriam deserves great credit, she was the pupil; Jochebed was the teacher. She bore the larger responsibility. She it was who remembered that Pharaoh's daughter was accustomed to come down and bathe at this very spot.
Before she came, baby Moses must have lain in his handmade ark for several hours. Who knows? We can be sure of one thing. Jochebed was standing nearby with a trusting faith that made her know her baby would come to no harm; And her faith was rewarded.
These events go straight to a mother's heart. How do you think Jochebed felt as she walked away from the River?
PHARAOH'S DAUGHTER - JOCHEBED AS NURSEMAID
"The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it."d "When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. 'This must be one of the Hebrews' children,' she said."e
"Then Miriam said to Pharaoh's daughter, 'Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?'"f "Pharaoh's daughter said to her, 'Yes.' So, the girl went and called the child's mother."g
So it was that Jochebed received the joyful news that she could nurse her own child. Though Moses was soon adopted by Pharaoh's daughter, it was his own mother Jochebed who had watch over him until he was seven. She it was who instilled in him a belief in God. It was she who imparted to him the sacred traditions of Israel and who told him of the divine promise to Abraham and his descendants that they would become a great nation. It was Jochebed who had him alone at night and rocked him to sleep, and during the day she could watch over him as he romped and played inside pharaoh's palace.
The pharaoh's daughter was a member of the Royal family and part of the race that was oppressing the Israelites. What is most obvious about her from these verses?
Exodus 2:9-10: 9Pharaoh's daughter said to her, 'Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.' So, the woman took the child and nursed it. 10When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, 'because', she said, 'I drew him out of the water.'
When you compare verses 9 and 10 what conflicting emotions do you think Jochebed must have felt?
MOSES, AARON, & MIRIAM
We know that Jochebed had the satisfaction of pouring great things into Moses's mind and heart during those most formative years of his life. And we know, too, that this mother of faith had instilled even greater faith in Moses and also in her two other children, Miriam and Aaron.
Her son Aaron was set apart to be a priest and became a center and foundation of the Hebrew priesthood, which he served for almost 40 years. Her daughter Miriam led the Israelites in a moment when their faith came alive as they crossed the Sea of Reeds.
The metaphysical meaning of Aaron is the executive power of divine law. Aaron, the first high priest of Israel and the bearer of intellectual light to the Israelites, signifies the ruling power of the intellectual consciousness.
The metaphysical meaning of Miriam, is the soul, or feminine side of the love quality that is active in man while he is struggling to free himself from the errors and selfishness of personality, that he may be fully released from all bondage to human limitations and enter wholly into the Promised Land of wholeness and Truth. At the Miriam stage of overcoming the soul has not yet been delivered from all its bitter, rebellious, sense tendencies or desires, though it has been awakened to its higher possibilities.
Miriam accompanied Moses and Aaron out of Egypt and on their journey through the wilderness toward the Promised Land;
The metaphysical meaning of Moses is drawing out, extracting, i. e., from the water. The birth of Moses represents man's development in consciousness of the law of his being, from the negative side. Water represents universal negation; but water also represents the great possibility. Out of seemingly negative conditions comes the new growth.
The verse says that Moses' mother and father acted by faith. Their one goal was to protect and save the child. Fear for our children's safety, for their spiritual and physical lives, seem to be an inescapable part of parenting. What part does faith play in child rearing? What is your greatest fear for your child? How can you by faith respond to your fears?
So Jochebed raised three spiritually enlightened children. By honoring and glorifying the Christ within and by expressing the love and Truth of Spirit, she gave birth to a higher consciousness in her children.
Miriam was loved and honored by all Hebrew women and many of their children were named after her. Mary which is another form of the name Miriam was probably named after this woman.
Aaron through being the first high priest of the Hebrews brought an intellectual light to the nation.
And of course, we all know about Moses who led the Israelites out of slavery and into the promised land.
Let's pray: Father, Mother, God; thank you for the gift and calling of motherhood. Help me to remember that my love for my children is merely a reflection of your own love for them. With that in mind, give me grace to surrender my anxiety. Replace it with a sense of trust and calm as I learn to depend on you for everything. Amen
aMetaphysical Bible dictionary