Monday, November 2, 2009

Adoption in the Bible Part I: Moses

November is adoption awareness month and I want to follow-up on my previous post about the theology of adoption with a few posts on adoption in the Bible.

I have to confess to you that I didn’t go to a Bible commentary and try to come up with an exhaustive list of all adoptions in the Bible. If you do, I’d love a copy, though.

Undoubtedly, Moses is the most famous adoptee in the Bible, so I thought I’d start with him. We all know the iconic story of Moses. The wicked Pharaoh, frightened of the growing strength and numbers of the Israelites, decided that he would kill all sons born to the Jewish slaves. The Hebrew midwives, fearing God more than the Pharaoh, did not commit murder for him so Moses was born a “beautiful child.” Pharaoh, frustrated by the disobedience of the Hebrew midwives, had by this time commanded the Egyptians that every Hebrew son should be cast into the Nile. Moses’ parents knew that if discovered he would be killed so they hid him only as long as they dared. When he was three months old Jochebed made a floating basket for her baby and instructed his sister Miriam to take him to the river and lay him in the reeds next to the riverbank.

Miriam watched as Pharaoh’s daughter, the princess of Egypt, came to the riverbed to bathe and found Moses. It seems likely that Jochebed knew or at least prayed that the princess would discover her baby and want to adopt him. I can’t think that his life would have been safe if anyone else had discovered him. The Egyptians had been commanded to throw all Hebrew babies into the Nile. If anyone else had found him he would have been killed. (Hebrew male babies would have been easy to identify). And of course he wouldn’t have been safe with any other Israelite families either. So, really his only option at life was being adopted by someone close enough to Pharaoh to wrangle an exception out of him. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that Moses was such a beautiful child. Little did the princess know that she was a pawn in the hand of God that day.

I love the story of Moses. Most of all I love that the Exodus story is a foreshadowing of our salvation with Moses as a type of Christ. Moses rescued the Israelites from slavery whereas Christ rescues us from bondage to sin. The Israelites were saved from the plague of death of the firstborn by covering their doorposts with the blood of a sacrificial lamb. We’re saved from death by Christ’s sacrifice once for all that covers our sins.

It must have been heartbreaking for Jochebed and Amram to give up their son, but they did it out of desperate circumstances to save his life. God’s hand was on Moses from the beginning, for God knew to what He had already called Moses. God orchestrated the events at the river that morning perfectly so that Moses would be spared and brought up first in his own home in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and then later in the palace of the Pharaoh. God had a plan for Moses and He has a plan for each of us. God is able to accomplish His plans for us despite our circumstances. In this case God used adoption to carry out His plan to free His people from slavery. He could have used any means, but He used adoption. I think that’s pretty cool.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my goodness!
    This is the best adoption post I have ever read! You wrote it so beautifully. The story of baby Moses and his adoption is my very favorite in the Bible.
    Thank you for writing this.



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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.