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An Imperfect Baby
07/27/2008
Scripture: Isaiah 55:8-9; Psalms 103:14; Exodus 2:1...
Track 2 of 14 in the Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication series


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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


The God we worship and serve is perfect in every way. He also is a God that is very realistic. He tells Isaiah,

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Psalms 103:14 For he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

God knows very well that he created us as finite beings. He remembers that he made us from a few pounds of dirt. What is fascinating to me is how God works with all the limitations he built into us and how he loves to do great and marvelous things through the imperfect beings he created. What I can’t understand is why you and I can’t realize that fact. Why do we expect perfection from ourselves and why do we expect perfection from those around us?

Some of you might be thinking that I am being a little too critical. We don’t really expect everyone to be perfect. But if this were true, then why do we focus so much on the mistakes of others? Why are there so many “Improve Yourself” products out there? If imperfection was really accepted, would life be a whole lot easier and expectations a whole lot less?

Ladies, what would your husband be like if he was in fact, perfect? How would your marriage be different?

When we survey the Bible, there is not one example of instant effectiveness for God. One might make an argument that Joseph and Joshua were effective right at the start but with almost all the heroes found in the Bible, everyone had lapses and failures. I bet there isn’t one in this class that hasn’t had a mistake or two when it comes to relationship with Jesus. So why is it that we become terribly impatient with our own shortcomings and the limitations others have? We despair when we find ourselves not in spiritual orbit all the time but find ourselves flying below the spiritual tree line from time to time. If this keeps up too long, many Christians become discouraged and many have given up.

One of the reasons I wanted to study Moses was to remind ourselves that he was a giant for God who didn’t become effective until he was about 80 years old. He spent his first 40 years in Egypt nursed by his mother and taught by Egyptian schools. He spent his next 40 years in the desert, nursed by solitude and taught by God. He spent his last 40 years in the wilderness with the Hebrew people because they didn’t trust God. There he was nursed by trials, discouragement and tests and taught by the Law which he received by God’s own hand. Dwight L. Moody puts it this way:

Moses spent his first 40 years thinking he was somebody. He spent the next 40 years learning he was a nobody and he spent the last 40 years discovering what God can do with a nobody.

If you learn anything from this lesson series, the one thing I want you to remember is this, it’s not about the first few steps a person takes in his walk with God that counts, it is what he discovers as he walks with God and what it means to count on God, even if it happens late in life (hopefully not too late).

What do you think this statement means? Is this a statement about reality?

Last week we learned how miserable the times were for the Hebrews when Moses was born. They were slaves in Egypt for about 400 years. Nevertheless, life went on for the Jewish people. In spite of all the hardship, the Jewish people still survived. Men were married to women and they had children. The Hebrew family survived even in the crucible of oppression and brutality. Even under the Nazi regime, The Germans were not capable of exterminating all the Jews as was Hitler’s intentions. The same was true with Egypt. Life for the Jews went on because God had a plan.

Exodus 2:1-2 Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, 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.

The first thing we learn about Moses is he was a man of faith because his parents were people of faith. We learn this in Hebrews 11.

Hebrews 11:23 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.

Exodus doesn’t mention this but Moses is not the firstborn. He has an older sister Miriam and an older brother Aaron who is about three years older than Moses. His parents hid Moses because they recognized that he was a well-formed child. The Hebrew means a unique beauty.

Have you ever seen an ugly baby? Of course we are not talking about your baby or grandchild, but there are some babies that are ugly, but to the parents, the child is the most beautiful child ever born. Is this what Exodus is saying?

Scripture tells us that Moses was truly beautiful. His parents saw physical beauty but they through faith saw much more and knew they had to disobey the edict from Pharaoh. For three months they hid Moses from everyone. They knew their baby was in grave danger. If Moses were discovered, Pharaoh’s troops would have seized the boy and fed him to the crocodiles at the king’s command.

Ladies, how hard would it have been to conceal an infant for three months living in a little hut all next door to thousands of other small huts? What obstacles would the mother have to overcome? Can you imagine the agony Jochebed went through realizing that the time came when they no longer could conceal Moses from everyone? They had to do something to spare the child’s life.

Exodus 2:3 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.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think this plan is a very good plan. If Moses would have been discovered, he would have been thrown into the Nile where the crocodiles would feed on him. So what does she do, she puts him in a little boat and floats him down the Nile River. Why not hang a sign on the little boat, crocodile food for free? In the movie the 10 Commandments, the scene is shown as Miriam following the little basket as it floats down the river. But if you look closely to what scripture says, that is not the picture.

There is no doubt that Jochebed knew the habits of Pharaoh’s daughter. Jochebed knew exactly where to place the basket, when to do it and the daughter’s reaction. Jochebed did the things she knew she could control and by faith placed Moses in the hands of God hoping her plan would work. She hoped Pharaoh’s daughter would find the baby.

Exodus 2:4-5 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank.

So Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses. But it was the law that any Hebrew boy found was to be thrown into the Nile. Why didn’t she follow the law and throw him back into the river? How could she break the law and get away with it? What would Pharaoh say?

It is important to note that Pharaoh actually had two daughters and they reigned as co-regents over a section of the Nile River. It may be that Jochebed knew that fact and chose that special section of the Nile to place Moses. They were the rulers of that portion of the land so they were the law. If she wanted the baby, then it was okay. In addition, the Nile was believed to be a god and it was a god that supplied all of Egypt’s needs. To receive a baby in the manner in which Moses arrived could have been seen as a gift from the Nile god to Pharaoh’s daughter.

Exodus 2:5-6 She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. 6She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.

What evidence do we have that Jochebed knew for sure how Pharaoh’s daughter would react? What must have been going through Jochebed’s mind as she waited for to see what would happen?

Scripture tells us that Miriam watched out for the child but I doubt that Jochebed was very far from the scene. I she was off in the distance watching and waiting. There is a lot she knew that is not revealed to us from the scriptures. Lately archeologists discovered in Egypt an ancient religious ritual associated with the god of the Nile. It included a statement of trust many Egyptians may have repeated. The statement read as this:

I have afflicted no man. I have not made any man weep. I have not withheld milk from the mouth of sucklings.

Could the daughter have taken such an oath? It is quite possible. Perhaps she saw taking the child from the river as from taking the child from the womb of the river itself. Whatever happened, the princes recognized the baby as a Hebrew baby. Josephus adds an interesting idea here. We have to remember that it might not be true but it is interesting anyway to consider. He writes that the princess went around looking amongst her maidens for someone who could nurse the baby. Finding none, Miriam took the opportunity to suggest someone to help. Of course she suggested Jochebed who was probably close by to help in a time of immediate need.

Exodus 2:7-9 Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” “Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him.

Critics will say that all of this is just a coincidence. What from this passage tells you it was not a coincidence but a direct act from God? What relationship is there between a person’s faith and a very creative plan on man’s part? Are they mutually exclusive?

There is an old motto used from the Revolutionary war, “Trust in God and keep your powder dry”. What does this mean and what does this have to do with faith? What are some examples?

This is what Jochebed had as faith. She was a person who totally relied on God but definitely did her part to help the situation. She just didn’t sit back and hope things went okay. Nothing happens from hope. If you hope something will happen, most likely it won’t. But through faith, with your sleeves rolled up to work on God’s behalf, He can do anything through you.

Today we live in a society where many believe that it is someone else responsibility to cater to them. We call it a mentality of entitlement. Because of their circumstances, no matter what it is, they are entitled to a better life because life has treated them so poorly. They cling to a false hope that someday they will see that as reality. But the reality is, each person has to do their part. Each person has to realize that in order to catch a break in life; they have to create the break. So many people die waiting for the big break to take place instead of making their own breaks. What is unfortunate, many of these people are Christians. They need to look at the life of Jochebed and learn from her faith.

Exodus 2:9-10 So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.”

What was the Hebrew name of Moses? Moses is an Egyptian name. We don’t see references about Moses outside the Old Testament but we do see within the Egyptian culture, compound names using the name of Moses such as Tuthmoses III. It is interesting that the name given to him by his mother was never mentioned. He is always known by the name given to him by Pharaoh’s daughter.

In this passage of scripture, there are two events that happen that must have been very difficult to experience. What are they? Moses has a new mother, Jochebed has a new home. What changes do you think happened within the family of Moses? What happened to his dad, to Miriam and Aaron? How did their lives change? How do you think they felt about this?

How many of you would be willing to give over your three month old baby to a new mother? But not only to a new mother, but to a woman who had a completely different set of values, to someone who was a stranger, an idolater, a foreigner?

There is not a lot about the life of Moses while he lived in the palace. There is no doubt that the princess had dreams of her son one day becoming Pharaoh himself. In Acts and in some of the writings of Josephus, we learn that Moses was brought up in the best schools and universities in Egypt and probably served in the Egyptian military. Josephus tells us that Moses was a general in the Egyptian army and led the army into two wars and was highly regarded for his skill and bravery. Stephen also talked about the acts of Moses.

Acts 7:22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.

I guess the conclusion to this lesson is the fact that with God, there are no accidents. I am not talking about car accidents, but I am talking about things that happen that are planned by God and designed for a purpose. All the events in Moses life up to this point didn’t just happen out of luck, they happened because God had a plan and his mother in faith decided not to let her son die because there was no hope. She did more than hope and placed her best efforts in the hands of God.

When a Christian realizes that God made him for a specific purpose and earnestly seeks what that purpose is, then God will use that person. David was a person who understood that very fact in spite of all his flaws. Even though he made many serious mistakes, David still, through God’s leading, became the greatest king of Israel. David wrote these words:

SLIDE 14: Psalms 139:13-17 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable!

God wasn’t done with David and the good news to all of this is God isn’t finished with you either. Moses didn’t start his greatness for God until 80. That means those of you who are 80 and ready to move off into the sunset, God just might have it planned for you to get to work and do some amazing things. We all have to learn that God doesn’t make any mistakes and he is able to take our lives, with all the headaches, all the pain, all the regrets and all the missed opportunities and use us for His Glory.