How a well-known Bible story illustrates the life-affirming mission

How a well-known Bible story illustrates the life-affirming mission (Garrett Jackson/Unsplash)

Heart pounding, the girl peers through the reeds, watching the entourage make their way along the riverbank. 

Her eyes cut to the water, where a little pitch-covered basket floats among the reeds. Inside the papyrus vessel lies her charge—her infant brother, hidden there to spare him from certain death.

Their courageous mother has hidden the infant for three months, despite Pharaoh’s order to throw every newborn Hebrew male into the Nile.

(She put him in the Nile, all right—but she cleverly made it his hiding place instead of his watery grave.)

The girl, Miriam, stifles a gasp. A slave has fetched the basket and brings it to her mistress, the daughter of Pharaoh. The woman opens the basket and discovers the crying baby.

Miriam is beside herself. Surely her little brother’s wailing will finalize his death sentence! But the woman takes pity on him and croons, “Why, this is one of the Hebrew babies!” 

Miriam bolsters her courage and makes her move. “Shall I go get one of the Hebrew women to nurse him for you?”

Pharaoh’s daughter not only says yes but pays the baby’s own mother to nurse him until he is old enough to be weaned and raised in Pharaoh’s household.

His adoptive mother names the baby Moses because she drew him out of the water. 

The story of Moses speaks with relevance to the life-affirming mission (Exodus 1-2).

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Moses was arguably the greatest leader in the history of ancient Israel. Not only did he act as deliverer to rescue a whole people group—God’s people—but he served as a foreshadowing figure to Christ.

And just like Jesus, his beginning was fraught with peril.

How much more vulnerable could little Moses be?

Condemned to death at birth by virtue of his ethnicity. Hidden for three nerve-wracking months. Finally, floating in a hand-made basket in the dangerous Nile as his brave and desperate mother attempts to keep him alive just a few more days.

All of Moses’ male peers were being systematically wiped out in a nationwide infanticide campaign. He was born into a culture of death. 

Unbelievably, infanticide is on the table again today. Our national conscience is so seared we are at least considering regressing to ancient, hideous practices—and in some cases, doing so.

But even without infanticide in consideration, ours is a culture of death. Pharaoh still rules in spirit, and his modus operandi is abortion.

Before Moses was born into a culture of death (and racism), he was conceived into it.

Moses, like every baby ever knit together in the womb, had a destiny planned by God. For him to rescue a whole people group from severe oppression and bondage, he had to first be rescued from death himself.

Consider the millions of preborn people who have perished in the womb. We will never know what God had in mind for them to do in their lifetimes. We will never know what we have lost.

Tweet This: Consider the millions who have perished in the womb. We will never know what God had in mind for them. We will never know what we have lost.

I’m not attempting to address the mystery inherent in the tension between man’s choices and God’s sovereignty here, nor am I making the argument that babies should be rescued because of their utilitarian value (what they may offer or accomplish later in life), nor am I focusing on the issue of racism, although racism and abortion are certainly twin evils.

I’m simply saying this: God is the supreme Author, writing every human story. We have no right to play editor, wiping out all the future chapters of a person’s destiny just because that person came along at the “wrong” time.

Before a baby has been born (and even afterward), we have precious little foreknowledge of who that little boy or girl is or what he or she may do for others one day.

It is both foolish and arrogant for us to presume that we can determine which people’s lives are not worth living.  

Tweet This: It is both foolish and arrogant for us to presume that we can determine which people’s lives are not worth living.

Even if a child is born with special needs, that child’s presence in the world is a blessing.

Human beings are created in the image of God; therefore, every person’s existence is full of meaning no matter what talents each of us may possess or lack.

With all of that said, let’s return to the story of Moses. 

We know about Moses precisely because he did not die at birth. 

Instead of being tossed into the Nile to drown, he was hidden on its waters and rescued by someone from the very household that had decreed his death.

One day, little Moses would grow up and stand before Pharaoh to advocate for God’s people, and God would demonstrate His power over that of Pharaoh.

One day, the very one who ruled over the culture of death would drown instead of tiny Moses, child of slaves.

As I ponder this life-affirming story from Scripture, I wonder:

How many deliverers are we tossing into the Nile today by means of abortion? 

How many people will suffer and stay in bondage because another deliverer was destroyed before birth?

When humanity cries out for answers to the ills of our world, the way God has consistently answered throughout history is this: he sends a person to help.

Martin Luther King. Mother Theresa. Jonas Salk.

Of course, God’s ultimate answer to our sin-based dilemmas is in the person of Jesus Christ—but He has sent many others to play smaller, yet significant, roles of rescue. 

By participating in the life-affirming mission, we help make it possible for God’s answers to arrive in our world.

We help make it possible for more living blessings to grace our planet. 

Let’s continue keeping watch at the banks of the Nile. 

You never know who may be drawn out of the water next.

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