Beautiful Words about the Baby in the Basket

Eric Schumacher has a good biblical-theological piece of fiction here:

Centuries after Moses died, after Joshua brought the people into the land, after the rise of King David and King Solomon, after the divide of the kingdom into Israel and Judah—the people of Israel have been carried off into exile, where they are worked as slaves.
On the banks of a river, there is a makeshift city of little one-room Jewish houses, each with a small Jewish family. We look inside one of them.

It is late at night. The family has just finished their supper. The children have crawled onto their straw mats and grabbed their tattered blankets. Father is about to extinguish there lamp, when a little voice says, “Papa, will you tell us a story?” And the others join in, “Yes, Papa! Will you tell us a story? Just one? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease?” Papa, unable to resist, sits on the floor beside their mat, as they gather around him, and says, “Ok, children, but just one. Papa is tired and must work tomorrow.”

In the dimly lit room, his story begins, “Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, ‘Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.’” And within a minute or so, it concludes, “When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, ‘Because,’ she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’” (He has recited for them our passage, with all the drama that a good father ought to use when telling children true tall tales!)

And as he moves to extinguish the lamp, he hears a noise, a small weeping. He turns to see his 7 year-old daughter crying.

“What is it, Naomi?” he asks.

“Papa, why is our life so bitter? We live in a foreign land. We had to leave grandma behind in Israel. You and mama work as slaves for wicked men. Yahweh has made our lives very bitter here. Why doesn’t he send us a Moses to lead back to the land, like he did for Israel so long ago?”

And then 12 year-old Jeremiah complains, “Mother’s last baby died in these conditions. And next year, I too must leave to be a slave or a soldier. Everywhere I go, mothers are weeping over their lost children, and fathers are dead and dying. Yahweh has forgotten us!”

And then little, 5 year-old Jacob, pipes in, “Is that true, Papa, has Yahweh forgotten us?”

And then the father, pierced to the heart, returns to knees before his children. He takes their faces in his hands and says tenderly:

“My sweet Naomi, life is very bitter for us now. But as sure as the sun and moon and stars, Yahweh will once again make the life of his people pleasant.

“Yes, Jeremiah, even as Rachel died, weeping over Benjamin, the mothers of Israel weep for their children. But keep back your voice from complaining, for there is hope for our future. Yahweh will redeem his people once again.

“And Jacob—hear, O Israel, Yahweh, our God, keeps covenant and steadfast love. He never forgets his people. He always keeps his promises.

“Yahweh did send baby Moses to deliver his people from Egypt. And before he departed, Moses said that Yahweh would said a prophet like him, one that we should look for and to whom we should listen. So, when you hear this story of Moses in the Nile, you should not hear a story of what Yahweh did once, but a story of what Yahweh will do again.

“Yahweh will send his Servant to redeem us. He will redeem us, not only from this foreign land, but from the sin that brings such judgment upon is. Look for this new Moses, this new David—set your hope in Him.”

See Eric’s post for introductory and concluding thoughts.

I think Eric is exactly right that Moses included what he did because he expected the patterns to be repeated, from Abraham’s sojourn in and plundering of Egypt being repeated in the nation’s exodus, to the deliverance of Moses from Pharaoh being repeated in that of Jesus from Herod. As someone has said, every story whispers his name.

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