The book of Exodus moves from the family of Joseph to the promise that had been voiced in the book of Genesis. A new king has arrived who no longer values this relationship and is concerned about the number of Israelites in Egypt. The king issues a decree that every Hebrew boy that is born should be thrown into the Nile. This decree serves as the backdrop of chapter two and makes the reader wonder about the fate of the people of Israel. The story begins with a son born to a Levi family who will defy the decree. Levites will play a key role in the life of the Israelites as teachers and priests.
Exodus 2:1-10 (NRSV)
1Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. 2The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. 3When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. 4His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.
5The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. 6When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. 7Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” 8Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. 10When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”
If you’re like me, you probably can easily picture the “traditional American family,” a mom, a dad, 2.5 kids, and a dog named Spot. This was an image set in the minds of many for as long as we can remember. I don’t know that anyone ever told me that that is what a family is, but somehow that stereotype has seeped into my brain, and I’d bet that it has worked its way into your mind as well. However, in reality, all families look different. Some families have a mom and a dad, or two moms, or two dads, some have one parent. Some families are multiracial or multicultural, some children are raised by their grandparents, by their biological parents or by parents who adopted them. Some families are blended with step parents and step siblings, or half siblings. No matter the combination, every family is different. Additionally, many of us, perhaps all of us, have some “family of choice,” those people who you have grown extra close to, who would drop anything to help you, who invite you to Thanksgiving dinner, or have guided and shaped you in any number of ways.
As for me, my family includes my mom, my dad, my stepmom, my (half) sister, as well as numerous others who have taught me, shaped me, and most of all, have loved me over the years. Many of which are a part of our church. In fact, having been at Hayes Barton since I was in first grade, I consider our whole church a part of my family. I am ever so grateful for the family I was born into, as well as my “created family” that I have gained throughout my life.
As a child, when I learned of Pharaoh’s daughter adopting Moses, and then presumably unknowingly enlists the boy’s birth mother to care for him, I remember thinking “wow, what a coincidence” that Moses’ mother got to care for her son even though Pharoah instructed all baby boys to be thrown into the Nile River. When I read this story now, I don’t see this as a “coincidence.” Now, I see God’s provision throughout this story. Moses’ family didn’t look like the traditional family, but God loved Moses, just as God loves each of us. So God provided safety and care for Moses when he needed it most. God does the same thing for us, he knows what we need, and he provides. All the time, God provides. Even when we feel neglected, God provides.
— Emily Patton
Go on a scavenger hunt around your neighborhood and look for the following things: water, something beautiful, something you need, something that provides nourishment, light, something that makes you happy, something that grows, something that is helpful. Talk about how God provides different things for us. God may not always give us exactly what we want or what we expect, but he cares about us and our needs. He provided a family for Moses, and he provides good things for us, too! Pray together and thank God for the things he provides for your family.
When your family gathers for mealtime, consider using this prayer: Lord, thank You for the food before us, the family and friends beside us and the love between us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Pull out a candle, gather around it if there are others with you and light it. Offer a prayer or give thanks for a woman or women who have invested in you throughout your life. You might even take a moment to write a note, send a text, or make a call to them if they are still living. Make sure to extinguish the candle.
Consider this quote: “Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones that would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.” — Unknown
Prayer Prompts for the week:
- Pray for our youth and their chaperones who are at Passport Boston.
- Pray for our Foundation Conversations that will begin in a few weeks.
Join us on Sunday morning, July 7, for our Adult Sunday School Gathering in the Fellowship Hall.