Moses: From Basket to Palace
- Tell who kept baby Moses safe.
- Feel safe knowing that God is taking care of us.
- Thank God for watching over us and taking care of us.
In the last session, Jacob’s son Joseph had been placed in a position of power second only to the pharaoh himself. Now, hundreds of years later, we hear the ominous message: “a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt” (Ex. 1:8).
Start your reading of this story in Exodus 1. Pharaoh finds himself with a burgeoning population of non-Egyptians settling on his borders. It’s not difficult to understand his concern. His response, like any tyrant, is to oppress and master the population through enslavement and downright genocide. This story depicts God’s people under the control of an evil empire.
The names “Shiphrah” and “Puah” should live on in our biblical memory. Ordered by Pharaoh to kill Hebrew babies, these midwives not only defy him but cunningly get away with it. Don’t you love that line, “[Hebrew women] are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive”? But it isn’t just the cunning of the midwives that saves Hebrew lives, it’s their obedience to God.
Pharaoh then orders all his people, not just the midwives, to kill all Hebrew baby boys by throwing them into the Nile. One day, a Levite family gives birth to a fine boy. After hiding him for three months, his mother knows she can’t keep his existence a secret much longer. So she tries something utterly daring. She puts the child in a basket coated with pitch (probably a plant resin) and sets it in the water along the banks of the Nile. The baby’s older sister, Miriam, watches from a distance so she can report back to her mother what happens.
Along comes one of Pharaoh’s daughters, of all people. She takes pity on the crying baby even though he’s a Hebrew and subject to death. Miriam, apparently without any direction from her mother, offers to find a Hebrew wet nurse for the child. When Pharaoh’s daughter agrees, Miriam runs to get her mother. After the child is weaned, Pharaoh’s daughter adopts him as her own son. Only then do we hear his name—a name that will echo throughout history: Moses.
One of the striking features of the story is that, again, God is almost hidden. We hear that the Hebrew midwives feared God and that God rewards them, but the whole drama of Moses in the basket is presented in purely human terms. A desperate family takes desperate action. Still, through it all, they sense the guiding hand of God.
Though our circumstances may not be as desperate as those of Moses’ family, we find similar things happening in our lives. We struggle along, trying to solve our problems, often making mistakes. Only later does it become evident that God has been guiding and directing our path all along.
Children's ResourcesDwell's colorful, engaging resources come in a variety of formats designed for use in church and at home. Order them here.
OptionalNeed something for younger children? Many churches use the God Loves Me program for ages 2-3. Learn more.
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