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January 12, 2016

The Blessings of Obedience

Whitney Capps

Exodus 2:2-3 (NIV) “And she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.”

Obedience always brings blessings. I’ve heard that message preached, but Exodus 2 teaches us we must be very careful what we expect for our obedience and what we define as a blessing. 

Fearing the growth and potential power of the Hebrew slave nation, Pharaoh orders that all baby boys be murdered. Jochebed, Moses’s biological mother who is named in later chapters, hides her son and then entrusts his life to the protection of God alone. Because the midwives boldly ignored Pharaoh, he commanded his entire nation to assist in killing Hebrew boys. Jochebed knew her son was in danger. Placing him in the basket in the river is a bold, faith-filled move. We can learn a few important lessons from her example.

First, blessings on this side of eternity are temporary. 

Jochebed received the blessing of a healthy baby boy, but that blessing was brief. When she realizes she can’t hide the baby any longer she puts him in a basket and places the basket in among the reeds of the Nile. The word for “basket” here is the same word used to describe Noah’s ark. This basket would also be a picture of God’s great grace and protection.

Second, obedience positions us to see God work in spectacular ways.

Jochebed trusts her baby of blessing to the careful watch of her good God. God did not disappoint. He directed the Egyptian princess   come, find the baby and rescue him. Watching this unfold from a distance, Moses’s sister, Miriam also named in later chapters, offers to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby. 

Jochebed would be given the privilege of nursing and raising her son, likely for three years! 

Third, obedience does not always remove our difficulties.

Let’s not forget an important detail about Jochebed ¾ she still had to give her baby boy up a second time! This must have been a heart-breaking reality. Her faith would be tested again when she left him for the last time in the care of Pharaoh’s daughter.  Blessings and burdens are often a package deal of obedience. We must trust God in both.

Finally, obedience builds our faith.

Perhaps Jochbed’s greatest blessing was realizing that her boy was safest in the hands of her great God. Her faith had been tested and rewarded. I want God to grow my faith, refine my character and chisel away my selfishness. Those treasures won’t always feel like blessings. I’d like to be the kind of person who trusts God to give and define my blessings. I’d rather be changed for eternity than comforted temporarily. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, there are so many things that I say and pray easily, but find hard to live out. I really do want You to change me, not just make me comfortable and “blessed.” Help me to have an eternal and global perspective when I think about my wants and needs. Move my heart toward prayerfulness and compassion when I see brothers and sisters around the world in crisis or need. Bless me by changing me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Go deeper with today’s First 5 by writing in your Study of Exodus Experience Guide. Don’t have one?Get yours hereDigital Download option now available for $8.

More Moments: In the end of Exodus 2 we learn a bit about Moses. He was a man who struggled with a bit of an identity crisis. As a man of probably 40, he goes out to “where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor.” (Exodus 2:11) Read More

My Moment: In today’s passage we see how God can use our pain to bless others in profound ways. Jochebed had to entrust her son to God, and we will see how He uses Moses in a mighty way. Obedience often produces blessings for others. Are you in a situation right now with pain that is still raw, recent and seems meaningless? Write a prayer asking God to give you a vision for how He can use this situation for His purposes. If you’ve seen God turn your personal sacrifice into a profound blessing, would you share it to encourage others?

How’s that? A work in Progress…

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