Server Outage Notice: is transfering to a new Server on Tuesday April 13th

2365 sermons as of May 17, 2024.
Site Search powered by FreeFind

bottom corner

Author:Rev. Ted Gray
 send email...
Congregation:First United Reformed Church
 Oak Lawn, Illinois
Title:A Love Greater Than a Mother's Love
Text:Exodus 1:1-2:10 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Role of the Mother

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Selections from the Trinity Psalter Hymnal:

217 – My God, How Wonderful Thou Art

496 – My Jesus, I Love Thee

119B – How Shall the Young Direct Their Way?

188 – O Jesus, I Have Promised

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

“A Love Greater Than a Mother's Love”
Exodus 1:1-2:10
Each year in the United States, Mother’s Day is observed on the second Sunday of May. The observance of Mother’s Day began in the 1800’s, but it was not widely observed. It wasn’t until 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson approved the second Sunday in May as a National Day to remember the faithful service of mothers and wives and their essential role in American and family life.
But this morning we go back in time long before 1914 when the second Sunday in May was designated as Mother’s Day. We go back to the year 1571 BC, approximately, to see that Moses – the instrumental leader of the people of Israel – was shaped and molded not by one mother, but two.  
Moses was influenced in his early years by his birth mother, whose name we know from Exodus 6:20 was Jochebed. But he was also influenced and educated by his Egyptian adoptive mother, who was Pharaoh’s daughter.
As we look at the unique childhood of Moses, we see that both mothers chose life, even at great personal risk. Jochebed, Moses’ birth mother, put her life on the line when she fashioned that small basket of bulrushes, coated it with tar and pitch, and floated Moses down the Nile River. That action could have cost her, her life. Pharoah had proclaimed this decree to all the people in Egypt: “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.” (Exodus 1:22).
Admittedly she was keeping the letter of the law; she put Moses in the Nile River, but she had no intention of drowning her son. Pharaoh could have made quite the example of Jochebed!  But she didn’t care. Life was precious to her, and she chose to keep Moses alive despite the consequences. She chose life at great personal risk.
The same was true for Pharoah’s daughter; she also chose life at great personal risk. When she opened the basket and saw Moses “She took pity on him and said, ‘This is one of the Hebrews' children.’”  She also knew the edict of her father that every Hebrew baby boy must be put to death. She knew that by law, Moses must be put to death. Would her father give her a special exemption from the law?
We might think so, but the rulers of Egypt – the Pharaohs of that day – were known to be ruthless. People believed they were half god and half man; they could do whatever they wanted to whomever they wanted.
Furthermore, most of the Pharaohs had many wives, although only one wife was the Queen. With their multiple wives the Pharaohs had many other daughters and sons. Besides, in that culture daughters were not considered valuable like sons, so why wouldn’t Pharaoh put this disobedient daughter to death? That would make an example of her! That would put fear in everyone’s heart!  If he put his own daughter to death, no one else would try to spare a Hebrew baby boy!
From our view, it might seem natural and normal for Pharaoh’s daughter to pick up baby Moses, to have sympathy for him and to eventually adopt him.  But in her culture, about 1571 years before Jesus was born, she was putting her life on the line. She also chose life at a great personal cost.
The application for us in the 21st century is obvious. We live in a country that aborts close to 1 million babies per year.  Some of our tax money and public aid is used to perform abortions, not only in our nation, but in nations we aid because our “aid” to other nations includes helping them abort their babies.
Closer to home, some of you may have family members or friends who had an abortion. Studies show that mothers who have not chosen life live with great guilt and pain. And if that is the case for someone you know, or even the case for someone in our church today, know that the sin of abortion is like every other sin committed. By the grace of God, it is forgivable, and the guilt is covered by the precious blood of Jesus. 
No matter what your sin is, whether you are a boy or girl, man or woman – whatever your sins are – confess them to the Lord with saving faith that the blood of Jesus covers your sins. Take the words of 1 John 1:9 to heart “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  Take to heart Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Trust in God’s promise recorded in Isaiah 1:18: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall yet be white as snow.” Take to heart Romans 10:11, “It is just as the Scripture says: ‘Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.’”
But may we also realize, from the example of both Moses’ birth mother and his adoptive mother, that choosing life, even at a great personal cost and risk, is always the right choice. It is the right choice because every life is given by God and begins at conception.  With David we acknowledge in Psalm 139:
 You created my inmost being;
     You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise You because I am
     fearfully and wonderfully made;
    Your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well…

Your eyes saw my unformed body.
    All the days ordained for me
        were written in Your book
        before one of them came to be.
 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
(Psalm 139:13-15a, 16-17)
The right choice is always to choose life, even at great personal cost.
Sacrificial Love and Tender Teaching
A second characteristic that we see in both mothers is that they both demonstrated sacrificial love. Can you imagine the thought process in Jochebed’s mind as she made that little basket? You women who have had the joy and privilege – the great blessing of motherhood – can you imagine what sacrifice was entailed in that basket of bulrushes that Jochebed built?
Admittedly, compared to the alternative of drowning her baby it was an easier choice, yet we have already seen it was a decision that came with great risk. There was great risk, not just for Jochebed, but for Moses. Who would find him? What would happen if he tipped over in the little basket?  Would he be rescued, or would he drift far beyond the sight of his older sister who was keeping watch? Would Jochebed ever see this gift of life again, this precious son she had given birth to and nursed for three months? 
We cannot begin to imagine how hard this must have been for a mother to send her baby down the river in a basket made of bulrushes and sealed with tar and pitch. But the only alternative was certain death by drowning. The tar and the pitch, painstakingly applied to the little basket, were undoubtedly accompanied by innumerable tears and prayers.
However, downriver there was also sacrifice on the part of Pharaoh’s daughter. In the gracious providence of Almighty God, the little basket came to the shore just where Pharaoh’s daughter had gone to bathe. And as her heart went out to this little Hebrew baby, a sacrifice was made on her part. 
Verse 6 says he was crying, and she felt sorry for him.  Moses’ sister, obviously very wise for her age, asked in verse 7, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”  When she brought her mother to Pharoah’s daughter, the king’s daughter said to Jochebed, “‘Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed him.” (9).
Both women, the birth mother and the adoptive mother, had that characteristic that we see in almost every mother: a willingness to sacrifice for their children.
Both mothers were also instrumental in training Moses. We aren’t told in Scripture how old Moses was when Jochebed brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter. Some believe that he was two, but many commentators believe she kept him as long as she could, nursing him, also teaching him about the Lord, about the God who had graciously preserved their ancestors through the sale of Joseph to the Ishmaelites. Perhaps she taught him about Joseph’s powerful political position in Egypt, long before this new Pharoah came to power who did not know Joseph.
We don’t know the specifics, but you godly mothers know how to instill the knowledge of the Lord and a love for the Lord in your children’s hearts, even at a very young age. Two of my granddaughters are just a little over a year old. And I have to force myself to close my eyes when we pray because it is so precious to watch them fold their hands before the meal. Without being asked, they fold their hands because they know that a prayer will be offered to thank God for His blessings – not just for physical food, but for spiritual food. No doubt, Jochebed did the same. Like Lois and Eunice with Timothy, Jochebed undoubtedly instructed Moses from infancy and early childhood. (cf. 1 Tim. 1.5; 3:15).
But Pharaoh’s daughter was also instrumental in training Moses.  Because of his upbringing in the palace Moses was a highly educated and articulate man, even though he gave the Lord an excuse not to serve because of his stammering tongue.  In the New Testament, Stephen, in his final speech before martyrdom, pointed out in Acts 7:22, “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.”
The imprint of Pharaoh’s daughter was also on Moses. She made sure that he had the best education that Egyptian money could buy. And Egypt was at a zenith in power and learning. Dr. Robert Rayburn writes: “With the possible exceptions of Solomon, Daniel, and Nehemiah, no other Israelite figure of the Old Testament received such an education.” (Faith PCA, Tacoma, website sermon).
God’s Love Reflected in Christ’s Redeeming Work
But as we see that both mothers chose life, both mothers demonstrated sacrificial love, and both mothers were instrumental in training Moses, how do we apply those truths to our lives today?
First, we certainly see that a mother’s sacrificial love reflects the love God has for us. It was the hymn writer Frederick Faber, reflecting on how wonderful God truly is, who wrote: No earthly father loves like Thee, no mother, half so mild, bears and forbears as Thou hast done with me, Thy sinful child.”
There is biblical truth in those familiar words. In Isaiah 49:15 the Lord says, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.” (Isa. 49:15-16a).
Both Jochebed and Pharaoh’s daughter loved Moses with a wonderful, sacrificial motherly love.  Most of us have been blessed to have the same experience from mothers who loved us, protected us, trained us and helped to shape us into the people we are today. 
But none of those motherly sacrifices come close to the sacrificial love of our God. Rather, a mother’s love reflects to us the greatness of our God’s love for us.  Because He has engraved us on the palms of His hands, the Lord also provides for us and protects us.
And having been engraved, we are held. You mothers hold your little children so tenderly. Yet you hold them so tightly, so closely. You shield and protect them. But the Lord does even more for us. Consider the promise of Jesus recorded in John 10:27-30: “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
As mothers hold their children, with a tender yet firm hand, so our Lord holds us in the palms of His hands, so that no one can snatch us away from His love and protection. His love and protection are eternal, tender yet Almighty, greater than the love of the most devoted and faithful mother.
A second observation is that just as Moses was spared by being placed in a basket, so we are spared from the flood of God’s righteous and proper judgment through saving faith in Christ alone. 
The Hebrew word for “basket” in Exodus 2 is the same Hebrew word translated as “ark” in the account of the worldwide flood of Noah’s day. That is significant because the water represents the flood of God’s righteous and proper wrath against sin. The flood of Noah’s day represents the judgmental flood of God’s righteous and proper wrath. All of us, because of our sin, deserve to come under that wrath. The only way for Noah to escape the judgmental waters was by the ark. The same was true for Moses; he was spared from drowning by being in the basket of bulrushes – a miniature ark. And in the same way, you and I only escape the flood of God's righteous and proper wrath against sin through saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Peter brings that out in 1 Peter 3 where he describes the ark and the flood of Noah’s Day. He reminds us that only a few – a remnant – were saved; the rest of the world perished in their sin.  And in that context, he writes: “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”  (1 Peter 3:18).
In that sense, the ark was a type, or foreshadow, of Christ. Just as the ark spared Noah from destruction, and the little ark – the basket – saved Moses, so we are saved from drowning in our sin; we are spared from damnation through saving faith in Christ. It was J.C. Ryle who pointed out, “What the ark was to Noah” – and this would also apply to Moses, and to you and to me – “Christ is to the soul.” It is through saving faith in Christ alone that by God’s grace and Spirit’s power, we are spared from drowning in our sins.
Another application: Although we are to thank God for mothers who have lovingly raised us, we must never put our affection for them above our love for the Lord. Jesus was up front and direct about this. In Matthew 10:37-39 He said: “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for My sake will find it.”
In some ways those words of Jesus can be summed up with this question: When you got up this morning, did you think, “This is the Lord’s Day”? Or “This is Mother’s Day”? It is first and foremost the Lord’s Day. We gather to worship Him and to set aside the day as a special day of rest because of who He is and because what He has commanded us to do. 
There is a danger that we get so affected by our culture that we put the cultural mandate signed into law by Woodrow Wilson in 1914 ahead of the Lord. If we are not careful, we will put Mother’s Day ahead of the Lord’s Day. That is, incidentally, borne out in many churches in the evening attendance on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. For many Christians there is the temptation to make those days “family days” more than the Lord’s Day. 
When properly observed, the Lord’s Day can be – and should be – a wonderful family day, too. But it is always first and foremost the Lord’s Day, from beginning to end. You mothers and wives are wonderful blessings from the Lord. We thank the Lord for you and your priceless influence in the lives of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. But the Lord’s Day, and the worship of His holy name, always takes priority.  
Two Separate World Views
The priority of the Lord was certainly ingrained in the mind and heart of Moses. Moses was in an unusual situation in that he had the affection and motherly love of both his birth mother, Jochebed, and his adoptive mother, Pharaoh’s daughter. And the two mothers represented two separate and totally opposite world views. 
Jochebed had a Christian worldview. She undoubtedly taught Moses about the Lord, perhaps about His care for Israel by putting Joseph in Egypt to provide food for Jacob’s family during the great famine described in Genesis 37-50.
By contrast, Pharoah’s daughter had a secular world view. She taught Moses about Egyptian culture and the attainment of power, wealth, and prestige through the palace of Egypt. When Moses lived in the palace, he undoubtedly had quite the life! Every delicacy was served, literally, on a gold platter. There was a servant for every need.  There was prestige, power, pleasure and wealth all rolled into one palatial package!  
On a grand scale he had to choose, not just, “Do I follow the cultural mandate of a Mother’s Day?” But “Do I follow the culture of Egypt, with every worldly pleasure?”  Or “Do I follow the culture of Israel, of suffering for my identity with the eternal God I have learned about?”   He had to ask: “Do I choose the wealth and the prestige of the palace – the glitter and glamor of the world?  Or do I choose the life of service to Christ and His people?” 
His decision is recorded for us in Hebrews 11:24-26: “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.”
The year 1571 BC goes back a long time. More than 3590 years back. But some things never change. The same crossroad that came in the life of Moses comes to every individual. That crossroad comes into your life. And that crossroad comes into my life. Do we follow after those things that our culture puts before us, the pleasures of the life Pharaoh’s daughter put before Moses?
Or do we, by the grace of our Sovereign God, follow Christ, and esteem Him above all earthly goods, esteem Him even above our closest family members, loving Him even more than our wives, our mothers, our children and ourselves?
Even though we love our families so much, may our love for Christ always be our first priority. And may we, like Moses, reject the fleeting pleasures of sin, reject the anti-Christian dictates of our fallen culture, reject the allurements and treasures of this world, to follow Christ, now and always! Amen!
bulletin outline:
“And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, ‘Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed him.  When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son.” –  Exodus 2:9-10a
“A Love Greater Than a Mother's Love”
Exodus 1:1-2:10
I.  If there had been a “Mother’s Day” in ancient Egypt, Moses would have two mothers to
      1) Both mothers chose life, even at great personal risk (1:22)
      2) Both mothers demonstrated sacrificial love (2:3-4, 9-10)
      3) Both mothers were instrumental in training Moses (2:10; Acts 7:22)
II. Observations:
     1) A mother’s love reflects the love God has for us (Isaiah 49:15-16a)
     2) Just as Moses was spared by being placed in a basket (literally “ark” – the same
         Hebrew word is used for Noah’s ark), so we are spared from the flood of God’s
         righteous judgment through saving faith in Christ alone (1 Peter 3:18-22) 
      3) Although we are to thank God for mothers who have lovingly raised us, we must never
          put our affection for them above our love for the Lord (Matthew 10:37-39)
III. Application: The two mothers represented two separate worldviews, forcing Moses to
      make a decision. We are challenged to follow his example as “he considered the reproach
      of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt…” (Hebrews 11:26)




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 2011, Rev. Ted Gray

Please direct any comments to the Webmaster

bottom corner