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A Remarkable Family

During their long stay in Egypt, the Hebrews were reduced to slavery, and life became very difficult for them. But many more years were to elapse before the divine promise of deliverance would be fulfilled. In this difficult period two God-fearing souls married. For them the promises of God were sure and their posterity must receive the fulfilment of those promises. Their first child was a girl. Perhaps the birth of their second child, Aaron, took place about the time that an edict of the Pharaoh to the midwives demanded that Hebrew male children should be destroyed at birth. Acting in the fear of God, the midwives would not carry out those instructions. So a further command came from the throne. Every Hebrew male child was to be cast into the river. At this time a third child, a boy, was born. He was a goodly child and his parents Amram and Jochebed were not afraid of the king's commandment. God's promises were sure. The nation must be preserved for the day of redemption. Only eighty years more and those promises must be fulfilled. For three months his parents concealed the babe in the house. When this was no longer safe they made an ark of bulrushes and hid him near the river. Those who act in faith can claim the promise "The LORD worketh for him that waiteth for Him". The daughter Miriam, now in her teens, was put to watch. She had been brought up in "the nurture and admonition of the Lord" and acted with wisdom and discretion when the hiding-place of her brother was discovered. Soon the babe, now called Moses, was restored to the family circle.

It would seem that the parents would enjoy the presence of the babe in the home for only a few years, but it proved long enough for his mother to instil into him the fear of the Lord. The early years call for special care. This is appreciated in the physical realm. Christian parents do well to realize that the early period of a child's life can be used to great advantage in preparation for the future. Care needs to be taken that the young child learns the fear of the Lord. Then a high regard for truth and honesty needs to be instilled into young hearts. Precept alone will not avail. It is the power of example in detail that will have the desired effect in influencing the character of the child. Then this again needs to be linked with instruction regarding the Sacred Writings, for these make wise unto salvation. First impressions are not easily erased, and as the parents show example the child's mind will be impressed.

The time arrived for Moses to leave the sheltered atmosphere of his parents' home. It was exchanged for the luxury of court life and the education of Egypt. In striking contrast, his brother Aaron takes his place with his fellow-Hebrews in the brick-fields. Both were being prepared for future service. Their times were in God's hands. Their circumstances were planned by Him and in that godly home the conduct of the parents had its influence upon both young men, the one in the brickfield, the other in the palace. Young Christians do well to realize that if their lives are yielded to God He will overrule for good. "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths", whether those paths lead to the lecture room, the office, the factory, the farm or the mine. When Moses was a young man Egypt was at its peak. The standard of education would be judged to be of the highest but many theories and fables may have been mingled with it. Yet all that Egypt offered Moses never obliterated the lessons learned at his mother's knee.

Christian parents who seek a straight way for their little ones need to instil divine principles into their young hearts. We are in the last days, and truth, honesty and gratitude are at a discount in the minds of men. The lack of these in human society today is having a serious influence, especially in the lives of adolescents. What is the antidote? It is what it has always been, faith in God and in His Word, which, instilled in early childhood will preserve the young from evil influences from any source and enable the young person to discern between good and evil, between the false and the true.

The boys of today are the men of tomorrow. Moses in adult life refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He championed the Hebrew cause and killed an Egyptian. Discretion led him away to the land of Midian. The contemplative atmosphere of the shepherd's life opened the door for deeper knowledge of the great "I AM". The experience led on, as all such experiences should, to a call to service. His humility led him to decry his ability, but he responded to the divine call. Aaron, too, was ready to hear the voice of God and he readily obeyed the divine instruction to go and meet his brother. Surely, as they met, reminiscence of early days would find a place in their conversation and the godly influence of their parents would still yield fruit. The boys of the slaves' home now become the men who lead the people of God.

The two brothers intercede with Pharaoh and after the ten plagues they lead the people to liberty to serve God. The Red Sea is crossed and we find the sister, Miriam, leading the women in praise. The influence in the home now reaches out to the nation. It has been said

"The slightest wave of influence set in motion,

Extends and widens to the eternal shore".

It is well to realize that this is true whether the influence be for good or evil. Whatever power we have to influence others let us use it to their blessing.

As we follow the history of these three children of Amram and Jochebed, interwoven with the history of the people of Israel, we have further instruction. The relationship of the three seems to have been cordial for a long time. But Miriam was not pleased with her Cushite sister-in-law. A root of bitterness seems to have sprung up and it yielded sad fruit. Miriam gained the ear of Aaron and together they spoke against Moses. This was the only occasion when Miriam was faulted. "Dead flies cause the ointment of the perfumer to stink". "A little folly outweighs wisdom and honour". How often an exemplary life has been sadly marred by one act of foolishness! God intervenes and Miriam is stricken with leprosy. The graciousness of Moses' character stands out as he pleads for his sister, an example worthy of emulation. But the judgement falls on Miriam and although she is healed, all the people are hindered in their progress. Yes, the family life of the people of God has tremendous influence for good or ill upon their progress. Home life and assembly life are bound together.

These three, who are reckoned by God in a later day as leaders of His people (Mic. 6:4), all passed from this earth before the people reached Canaan. Miriam, who died at Kadesh, had served God as a woman in her God-given place. Can we not see behind her life the influence of her mother? Aaron died at mount Hor. In the brick-fields of Egypt he, no doubt, had experiences which helped to prepare him for subsequent priestly service. Moses had been prepared for his service in an entirely different sphere and proved faithful in God's house as a servant. We see him finally on mount Nebo. The root of these three godly lives was found in the home of Amram and Jochebed, two humble people who lived by faith; a remarkable family that provides many lessons for families that would honour God today.