“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.” (Exod 2:9)
Do you remember the stories about Moses? He is such a prominent figure in the Bible, involved in very interesting drama episodes: his movie has action – he killed an Egyptian enemy of some Israelite, and later led Israel to war with Amalekites and many others; the movie has comedy – he witnessed a burning bush that didn’t burn, and spoke with an invisible being as if he was mad! The movie also has magic – his stick could turn into a snake and it could perform magic (we call them miracles in the Bible), like bringing the plagues in Egypt. There are indeed many interesting stories about Moses, but for today we zoom in into his early years – his childhood especially.
The theme of this year is ‘Take this child away, and nurse him for me’ (Exod 2:9), drawn from the story of Moses’ childhood. Moses was born to Israelite parents in Egypt. At that time Israelites were slaves and there was a law that all Israelite baby boys should be killed; however, Moses’ parents decided to hide him and later took to leave him in the shrubs by the river. When the king’s daughter came and found him, she liked the baby very much and decided to adopt him as her son. It is at this point that she found an Israelite woman (who actually was Moses’ mother) to take care of the child until he grew up, then Moses would be brought back to live and belong to the Palace. ‘Take this child away, and nurse him for me’: when you think more deeply about these words of the Princess, many ideas and action points come to mind:
Children belong to the Palace. Children belong to God, who is the King. The Bible clearly says ‘children are a blessing and a gift from the LORD’ (Psalm 127:3). Moses’ Israelite parents turned out to have played only a limited role of producing and nursing the boy, but legally he belonged to the king (Pharaoh); we see later that Moses actually ran away and found where he truly belonged – to the King of kings, the LORD God Almighty, who called and revealed himself to an older Moses. What does it mean to belong to God? As a child, a youth or as an adult, it is important to consider how to live as one that belongs to the King of heaven. Also as a parent, it is important to consider how to care for children and youth who legally belong to the LORD.
We need to give every Child an opportunity to grow and excel in their God given gifts and potentials. For elders and parents, respecting the image of God in every child demands a Christ-like response to nurture them intentionally. We will spend more time this year drawing lessons form nurture stories in the Bible.