According to the cruel order of “all-mighty” Pharaoh, Baby Moses should have been thrown into the Nile River and died. But, according to the hesed of Almighty God, Baby Moses was saved and nurtured in order to save and nurture God’s people from slavery in Egypt!
“Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: ‘Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” (Exodus 1:22).
According to this cruel order of “all-mighty” Pharaoh, Baby Moses should have been thrown into the Nile River and died.
But according to the compassionate hesed of Almighty God, Baby Moses was saved and nurtured in order to save and nurture God’s people from slavery in Egypt!
The word hesed in Hebrew is translated a number of ways in English:
—Faithfulness. (Psalm 117:2 NIV).
—Love. (Psalm 136 NIV).
—Mercy. (Psalm 136 KJV).
—Steadfast love. (Psalm 136 ESV; Exodus 34:6-7).
—Lovingkindness. (Psalm 136 NASB).
—Kindness. (Micah 6:8).
Since no one English word captures the richness of the Hebrew word hesed, I will use the word hesed in this blog.
It is hard to imagine a better example of hesed than the story of Baby Moses.
For three months after his birth, his parents hid him. But then, they could hide him no longer.
His mother coated a basket with tar and pitch so it would float. She placed Moses in the basket and “put it among the reeds along the banks of the Nile.” (Exodus 2:3).
The baby’s sister “stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.” (Exodus 2:4).
Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the Nile to bathe. She spotted the basket. “She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. ‘This is one of the Hebrew babies,’ she said.” (Exodus 2:5-6).
The sister of Moses was watching. She seized the moment. She found the courage to speak to Pharaoh’s daughter and ask: “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” (Exodus 2:7).
The daughter of Pharaoh was stirred by hesed. She showed mercy and kindness to the baby, instead of killing it.
The mother of Moses was stirred by hesed. She showed love—steadfast love—by hiding her baby for three months and then putting him in a place where Pharaoh’s daughter might be stirred by hesed—by mercy and kindness—to save Moses.
Hesed prevailed! Love, steadfast love, mercy and kindness prevailed!
Hesed parted the “waters” of racism, nationalism, hatred, and bigotry.
Furthermore, not only did hesed save Moses. Hesed nurtured Moses!
Hesed created a dry path through the waters of slavery for Moses to learn the teachings of the LORD God from his own Jewish mother.
Moses’s Jewish mother nursed him—not only on milk, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Hesed created a dry path through the waters of racism, nationalism, hatred, and bigotry for Moses to be brought up as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. (Acts 7:21)
Moses’s adopted mother, Pharaoh’s daughter, nurtured him—not only by training him to be “powerful in speech and action”, but also by educating him in “all the Wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22).
Therefore, from the very beginning of his life, the story of Moses teaches us “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
In all things, God works for the good of those who have been called according to his hesed!
Indeed, from the very beginning of the story of Moses, we learn that in all things, we are more than conquerors through the hesed of God. For neither death nor life, angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the hesed of God. (Romans 8:37-39).
For more of my thoughts about the hesed of the LORD God, please read my blog “The Hesed of the LORD Endures Forever”.
For more of my thoughts about the mother of Moses, please read my blog “My Mother’s Preaching and Teaching” and the passage “Moses’ Mother Saves Him” in my book The Promised Land, at page 81-82, together with its endnotes 1 & 2 about my own mother.