The story of Jochebed is one many moms can identify with at this time of year. As they ready their cherubs for college, high school or even kindergarten, they may remember the brave mother who placed her baby boy in a basket in the river so long ago. As they wave goodbye, trusting the Lord for His protection, perhaps she will come to mind.
Last Wednesday night, our church kids began a series on Moses. The true story is a gut-wrencher when you put yourself in his family’s shoes. You may have heard it a zillion times, but to little children it’s a bit surprising AND frightful. I feared they might not sleep at all that night!
We began with the mean king. I had a great picture of Pharaoh in a hat with a snake on it. When they learned that Pharaoh wanted to throw all the baby boys in the river — and not to swim — they gasped. They were sad when they heard he was so mean to God’s people.
When Jochebed saw that her new baby was beautiful, she tried to hide him. (Terrible, but true. When a baby was beautiful, people felt it would have a special purpose. Sorry, ugly babies.) We talked about how difficult it would be to keep a baby hidden. “What does a baby do?” I asked. “CRY!” they all cheered at once.
Next, we saw pictures of the baby’s mom making a basket, then covering it with pitch to make it waterproof. Can you imagine what was going through her mind?!
Finally, it was time for her to put her beautiful baby boy in the basket … in the river. Eyes were big all around the table. They learned that the baby’s sister watched the basket from the bushes, but God was the one who really was watching over it. There were lots of bad things that could have happened to that baby, you know. The basket could have been hit by a boat. Birds or snakes could have gotten in it. It could have been gobbled up by a crocodile or a hippo. “Because hippos eat people!” Jonah yelled. (He’s 4, and I have no idea how he knows that.) “You are exactly right, Jonah! God kept the baby from being eaten by a hippo!”
The kids loved that the basket floated straight to where the princess was taking a bath … exactly where God planned it to go! We finished the story with the baby’s real mom taking care of him until he was a little older. Finally, they learned that the princess named him “Moses.” And so it begins.
We made baby Moses crafts and ended with “Cry Baby” — a card game that brings screams of frustration and then whoops of laughter, getting louder as we took turns.
At the end of class, one of the kids yelled, “Is it over already?!” My heart melted, and I haven’t stopped smiling. It may have been my favorite Wednesday night ever!
The true story of Moses is a good one for moms. It helps us trust God with our children even in scary times. But it’s also for kids of every age! Read it along with us. Start in Exodus, and hang on to your hat! It’s a roller coaster ride showcasing how big God is!