A Mother's Wages!
Exodus 2: 9
Dark were the hours among those slave people in Egypt, whose backs felt the sting of the whip.
Those people experienced the greatest joy with the birth of a son.
But now, the birth of a son had turned into the greatest of life's sorrows because of the decree of the Pharaoh.
The Hebrew people had now reached the point where life had become so oppressive
that it had almost lost its meaning for them.
Yet, there was a thread of faith that kept the flame of hope flickering in their lives.
One such person of faith was a Hebrew housewife named, Jochebed, who looked with joy
into the face of her newborn son, and then felt the joy draining from her heart
as reality began to dawn upon her.
The edict that all boy babies of the Hebrew people must be slain came sweeping in
on her consciousness to slash her heart like a jagged knife blade cutting and tearing one's flesh.
To deny her God-given motherly instinct and to preserve her small son at all costs was
something she felt she must do.
She did not intend to obey the Pharaoh's edict, which stated that she should snuff out
this precious little life, which God had given her.
At the risk of losing her own life, she planned a way to save her newborn son.
She prepared a little basket from the reeds growing nearby and coating it over with pitch,
and then she placed her little son in it and carried it secretly to the river.
She placed it near the spot where Pharaoh's daughter was accustomed to bathe each day.
Soon, the Princess of Egypt came for her daily swim,
and "when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to fetch it." (2: 5)
Seeing the baby, "she had compassion on him." (2: 6)
Miriam, the baby's sister, approached the princes with the suggestion that she fine a nurse
among the Hebrew women to care for the little baby.
Receiving an affirmative response, Miriam dashed off to her own house and brought
her mother to Pharaoh's daughter, who gave her a command:
"Take this child away, and nurse it for me." (2: 9a)
The remaining part of her command to Jochebed forms the text for our thinking this morning.
"And I will give thee thy wages." (2: 9b)
What are the wages of the mother -- abuse, overwork, heartache?
In our modern life this often seems to be the type of reward that a mother may expect.
However, a godly mother can look beneath the surface, and see what the real wages are.
We can look at the story of Jochebed, the mother of Moses, and see truths pertinent
to the role of motherhood today.
A Godly Mother's Characteristics
There are certain characteristics, which are a part of a mother's way of life.
One is faith.
To keep a crying baby for three months with guards passing by the house required
of this mother a strong faith.
To have faith that her scheme to preserve her baby's life had been planted in her heart by God,
and that He would see that it worked.
This required a faith that was born out of a personal experience with God.
To have faith in the future when everything pointed to the ultimate destruction of her race
required a faith in the power of Almighty God to control the future as well as the present.
For a mother in our day to give birth to a child and to have faith to believe that he or she will see
a better day ahead requires faith in God through Jesus Christ.
For a mother in our day to believe that her child will be able to have the Christian stamina
to withstand the evils which that child will face requires faith in God through Jesus Christ.
It will require a faith like that of Eunice and Lois, the mother and grandmother of young Timothy.
(2 Timothy 1: 5)
Faith is required of a godly mother.
Another characteristic of a godly mother is hope.
Against all odds, Jochebed found that hope that her son, Moses, would be saved
from Pharaoh's sword to a life of useful service.
This was not a vain human hope, but it was a hope born out of faith, not in her own scheme,
but in the power of God to save and to sustain to be uttermost.
Today, every godly mother has hope in her heart for each child, which God gives to her.
It is a hope that her child will grow up to take a useful place in life's drama, but more especially
a place of real service in Christ's Kingdom.
She carefully imparts this hope into the heart and soul of her child while that child is still at her knee.
As Jochebed said, "Son, on the day you were born I dedicated you to God to be a servant in His kingdom."
Another characteristic of a godly mother is love.
Every godly mother must have a love that is submissive to the will of God.
Technically, Jochebed carried out Pharaoh's edict... for she did cast (place) him into the river.
Actually, however, she was casting him on the love of God, realizing His power and His love
was sufficient for her great need.
In that heart-rending moment on the riverbank, the love of a human mother for her baby
and the love of God combined to perform a miracle of salvation.
It was a miracle that changed the course of history for a great race of people.
It changed the way of life for the great Judeo-Christian segment of the human race!
In that moment on the riverbank, Jochebed found that "... perfect love casteth out fear."
(1 John 4: 18b)
A Mother's Task
I would not be so foolish this morning as to attempt to name all of the many functions
a mother performs for her children.
Wiping noses, scrubbing grimy little hands, tying shoelaces, applying a psychology book
"to the seat of understanding" -- are among some of the tasks.
Serving, as social secretary and chauffeur for their children... and many others that are too numerous to count.
There are certain general areas into which I shall attempt to define as the tasks of a godly mother.
One is to curb the child's lawlessness.
The mother has just a few short years to instill into that young life the ideals and precepts for life's best living.
The author of Proverbs expressed it best:
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
(Proverbs 22: 6)
Another task of a godly mother is to point the way to God.
In Port Gibson, Mississippi, there is (or was) a church building located on the main thoroughfare.
On top of the Steeple was a hand, not a cross.
It was the forefinger of a hand pointing heavenward toward God.
The greatest task a godly mother has in this life is to point her children to God.
During those formative years, while Jochebed was acting as nurse to her own son,
she was able to implant a knowledge of God
and of the Hebrews in the heart of her young son.
It was a knowledge that must have laid dormant for many years until the time was right
in the sight of God for that knowledge to awaken into action.
Every mother's opportunity, as well as her divine commission, is to teach the way of salvation to her child
that he or she may come to know Christ as Saviour and Lord at an early age.
A Mother's Wages
Pharaoh's daughter said to Jochebed, "... and I will give thee thy wages." (Exodus 2: 9b)
At first, Jochebed may well have asked herself, "Is the pain of motherhood really worth it?"
Did not her son, while in a fit of anger go against all her early teachings and commit murder?
Was he not forced to flee from Egypt as a common criminal?
No doubt, the thought of probably never seeing him again was almost more than she could bear.
Heartache upon heartache... was this to be the payment of motherhood?
Today, many mothers of young people are asking themselves the same question.
Jochebed may not have lived long enough to have seen the great role played in history by her three children,
who were instrumental under God's guidance in leading the children of Israel out of bondage into freedom.
However, the lives they lived created, figuratively speaking, a great monument to her memory,
erected against the skyline of history with an epitaph: "How great was thy faithfulness!"
The greatest reward or wages that can be bestowed on any mother are: