First Presbyterian Church of Blackwood
21 E. Church Street
Blackwood, NJ 08012
Sermon Notes (Mother’s Day Sunday, May 14, 2023)
Rev. Dr. Mouris A. Yousef, Pastor
“Jochebed: The Story of a Faithful Mother!”
Exodus 2:1-12; 2 Timothy 1:1-5
First and foremost, I would like to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, aunties, and all mother-like figures out there. Today is a day when we take the time to honor the one human being who unselfishly gives herself to her children and her family over and over again, without asking for anything in return. If your life has been blessed by the touch of a godly mother, a mother-like figure, a grandmother or an auntie, then you have enjoyed one of this world’s greatest treasures and blessings. Not everyone has enjoyed this great blessing but those who have, will always remember the love of their mother.
We set aside one day a year to honor mothers and mother-like figures. As I thought about my sermon topic for this morning, the Holy Spirit led me to the story of Jochebed. Before I draw a couple lessons from the life of Jochebed, let’s get to know Jochebed a little bit. Who was she?
Who was Jochebed?
In the passage we just read from Exodus chapter 12, we are introduced to a woman from the Tribe of Levi named Jochebed. She stands out as one of the greatest mothers revealed in the pages of Scripture. Her selfless love and sacrifice changed the course of history. Jochebed was the mother of three famous people in the Bible. She was the mother of Moses, the leader of Exodus and the deliverer of Israel. She was the mother of Aaron, the first high priest of Israel. And she was the mother of Miriam, a prophetess, poet and singer in Israel. Aaron was three years older than Moses, and Miriam was probably about ten years older than Moses.
Although Jochebed is not named in our passage today, she is named in two other places in Scripture, both genealogies, in Exodus 6:20 and Numbers 26:59. Jochebed’s name means “honor or glory of God,” and she certainly honored God with her life and her faith. The story of Jochebed reminds us of two great lessons that I would like to share with you on this Mother’s Day Sunday:
First: Our Holistic Responsibility towards our Children
No doubt that parents play a huge role in the children’s holistic development. As human beings created in the image of God, we have body, spirit, and soul. Our children got physical needs, emotional needs, and spiritual needs. As God entrusts the little ones to our care, He expects us to meet those needs and provide our children the best care possible.
Moses was born during a very difficult time. The Israelites were slaves in Egypt at this time. Pharoah was so concerned about the growing numbers of Hebrews, so he ordered the Hebrew midwives to kill all the Hebrew males as they were being delivered. When the midwives refused and let them live, Pharaoh issued a new order: “Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live,” Exodus 1:21. After Moses was born, Hebrews 11:23 tells us, “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.”
But when Jochebed could hide the child no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed Moses in the basket and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. Miriam, Moses’ sister, stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. Long story short, Moses is found by pharaoh’s daughter, and, through God’s provision, he is given to his mom again to nurse him. Moses stayed with his mom until he was weaned. So let’s say Moses stayed with his mom until he was at least 3 or 4 years old.
At that young age, Moses was taken to live at Pharoah’s Palace. He lived his childhood, and youth as an Egyptian Prince. But, how did he grow up knowing his true identity? It seems to me that Moses’ mother laid the foundation in him. She nursed him the faith of his parents. She taught him about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. She taught him about the covenant God made with them as a people. Jochebed reminds us of our wholistic responsibility towards our children. God expects us to attend for their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. Part of our responsibility towards our children is to tell them about the love of Jesus and to instill the faith in their hearts. Our job will never be complete without this wholistic approach.
Second: We Do Our Part and Trust God with the Rest
Often times, I get to meet people, wonderful Christians, who lament the fact that their children have nothing to do with Christ and the Christian faith. They did what they could; took them to Sunday School; prayed with them and for them regularly; shared Bible stores with them, but after they grew up, they abandoned their faith and care less about it.
I wonder if Jochebed wrestled with the same thing. I am sure that she asked herself many times if her child will be worshipping the true God of Israel or rather will be worshipping one of the many gods of the Egyptians. The Bible doesn’t say anything about the faith of Moses until the age of 40 when Moses decided to leave the Palace behind and pursue the God of Israel. After all, the seed didn’t die. The story of Jochebed and Moses reminds us that we do our part and leave the rest on God.
Friends, like Moses, our children today are born and raised up in extremely difficult times. Like Moses, they are surrounded by hundreds of false gods. Godly parenthood matters. In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul tells us that Timothy’s sincere faith was first lived in his grandmother Lois and in his mother Eunice. Godly moms and grandmoms make the whole difference. Godly parents realize that their responsibility is one of a wholistic nature. We are to care for our children’s spirits and bodies. We are to feed them the daily bread and shouldn’t forget about the Manna that come from heaven. And when it’s time for them to fly solo on their own exploring what God might have for them in the world, may we always trust God’s sovereign care. Like Jochebed, do your part and leave the rest on the Lord. Happy Mother’s Day. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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