A Mother’s Love: Jochebed
We all know of a mother’s love: it is unparalleled in this world. We have heard enough tales depicting the dangers that a mother will brave through for the sake of her child. In fact, we all have experienced first-hand the love our mothers have for us. The Bible too describes in many instances the mother’s love. For this mother’s day, we will just focus on one example in the Bible of a mother who had great love for her child: Jochebed.
Jochebed was the mother of Moses. She lived in a difficult time in Israelite history, while the Israelite nation was enslaved in Egypt (Exodus 1-2). At the time that she gave birth to Moses, the Pharaoh had made a decree that all the male babies of the Israelites be drowned in the river. However, Jochebed defied the king’s commandment and hid the child. In this we see a mother’s love, which motivated Jochebed to risk her life to keep her child alive; not just her love, but also her faith that God will be able to protect the child from harm (cf. Hebrews 11:23).
In Jochebed we see the selfless love that mothers have for their children, that drives them to risk their own lives for the children’s sake. Jesus describes such a love as the greatest kind of love that a man can have (John 15:13). We are all called to have such a selfless love for one another, that just as Jesus had laid down His life for us, we also should be willing to lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:16). When we are able to love one another actively, we know that we are indeed of the truth (1 John 3:19).
In Jochebed we see a faith that is able trust in God despite the grave danger surrounding her son. It is easy for parents to worry daily over the hundred and one problems that could threaten the well-being of their children. In Numbers 13-14, when the Israelites heard about the giants in the Land of Canaan, they were afraid for the welfare of their children; therefore, instead of trusting in God, they decided to take matters into their own hands and resolved to return to Egypt (Numbers 14:3-4). That generation was punished for their sin and unbelief. In contrast, Jochebed did not lose her head or do anything foolish in order to protect her son; she trusted in God. When beset with troubles, whether for ourselves or our family, we ought always to trust in God and allow Him to work in our lives and lead us out of temptation (Matthew 6:13; 1 Peter 4:19).
We see Jochebed’s love and faith, not only in her hiding Moses, but also in her teaching Moses to make godly decisions. By God’s providence, she had the opportunity to nurse baby Moses until the time for him to return under the care of Pharaoh’s daughter, after which he was brought up in the palace (Exodus 2:5-10). It must have been during those early years that Jochebed impressed upon Moses his heritage and taught him about God. Therefore, when Moses grew up, he was able to make his own decision to “suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season,” and forsaking Egypt in order to serve God and his people (Hebrews 11:24-27). Blessed are the parents who are able to raise their children up, such that they can make their own decision to fear God and keep His commandments. As the Proverbs writer wrote, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
May Jochebed continue to be a shining example to all women for her love and faith in God. May God bless all mothers who love their children, who have faith in God, and who train up their children in the way of the Lord. Wishing all mothers a Happy Mother’s day!