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SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH OF LOS ANGELES

Inspirational messages for Sunday May 10 through Saturday May 16, 2020

 

Sunday May 10, 2020

 
And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.  2And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.  3And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.  4And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.  5And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.

6And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.  7Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?  8And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother.  9And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.  10And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water. Exodus 2:1-10 (KJV)

Background of the passage of scripture

One of the children of Israel living in Egypt, was married to Amram, a Levite, and had a daughter  Miriam and two sons, Aaron and Moses.   Her son Moses was born just after Pharaoh had decreed that all Jewish male infants should be killed.  This is a story of a woman who is mentioned only a few times in Scripture. Yet despite her low profile, she provides a portrait of a mother whose determined to do what she can to protect her child.  Her name, according to Numbers 26:59, was Jochebed. She was Moses' mother.  

 
We find ourselves facing challenging circumstances created by the choices of someone else.  Life  presents us with challenges and circumstances that are life threatening.  What is clear in this passage is the circumstance was created by the selfish choice of a government official who was in the position of leadership to shape policies and practices that threatened the lives of others.   

Gandhi has said, "The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members."  The Judeo-Christian heritage makes it clear in the Old and New Testaments that widows, orphans, poor, needy and handicapped persons, the disenfranchised etc. are those that are vulnerable.  The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® reminds us every child deserves a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. 

Consider the example of Jochebed and what it means when you are put in a vulnerable position by circumstances beyond your control that are life threatening.

 

Monday May 11, 2020

2And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.

Jochebed hid her child from the threat as long as she could. Jochebed child's safety was a priority with her.  She found a way to shelter the child from harm for a period of time of three months. She made her child's protection and safety a priority. She violated Pharaoh’s command and saved her son’s life putting herself in danger of the Pharaoh's wrath.  Pharaoh was a harsh ruler with no particular sympathy for the Hebrews. This is the guy that killed babies.

Michelle Alexander in her book "The New Jim Crow" shares how mass incarceration and the industrial prison complex uses laws that target people of color, the poor and disadvantaged.  She highlights the racial dimensions of the war on drugs and the disparity of income inequality and lack of access to adequate health care.  Covid-19, the corona virus is disproportionally represented in groups of people of color, seniors, and those who are challenged with lack of income and health care.

As Jochebed did what she could to shelter her child to protect his life from what threaten his existence, we need to do what we can to shelter ourselves from what threatened our lives and our children's lives.  Shelter yourself from what threatens your life whatever it may be. 

Consider the threats to your safety and well-being, whether communal, personal, political etc. and what you can do to shelter yourself from the threats that would make you less safe and secure.  . 

 

Tuesday May 12, 2020

3And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.  While you do what you can for as long as you can, you will discover that you may have to become creative courageous in going beyond what you were doing to exploring other means of providing the protection you require. 

As Moses grew it became more challenging to hide him.  Sooner or later he would be discovered and if so put to death.  It is challenging for a mother when she is trying to keep a baby quiet and the child doesn't want to cooperate.  Jochebed had to use her courage creatively to save her child's life.  She devised a plan to hide him in a little boat she built out of bulrushes.  Bulrushes were the stalks of papyrus plant that grew in abundance in ancient times along the banks of the lower Nile.  She used what was available to her to do what she could to shelter her child.  She use the resources available to her creatively. 

Consider what resources are available to you when what you have been doing is insufficient to insulate you from the insidious life threatening danger you are facing.    

 
Wednesday May 13, 2020


4And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.  5And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.
 
One of the many challenges mothers face is what they have to do to protect their children.  Jochebed had to let her child go to save her child.  However, she planned strategically what she was going to do.  She was familiar with the environment in which she was living, culturally and politically, which was a factor in what was happening to her safety.  She had her daughter watch where the currents of the river carried the ark in which she put her child to see if it reached the intended place she wanted it to go.  She was deliberate in doing all she could with making an ark, having her daughter watch to see if the ark reached the intended place where she wanted it to end so that her hope born of faith could be realized.  She thought through want she wanted to accomplish, planned strategically and provided visual oversight to be sure what she wanted to accomplish was achieved.  

 
Consider what you need to do to let your hope be full of faith about managing your present predicament to bring about a positive future possibility.   

 
Thursday May 14, 2020

 
6And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.

Imagine having to let go to gain what you ultimately want to keep. Sometimes we have to give up what we want to keep what we most desire.  She desires the safety of her child whose life is threatened.  She is willing to compromise given the circumstance to preserve her son's life even if it mean giving him up to someone else.  Wow!  

Letting go can bring what you want most in life.  It has been said that letting go acknowledges our need for help beyond ourselves.  We have to reach out.  We reach out to others.  We reach out in faith to whom we believe to see us through what we are facing.  We gain knowledge, strength and wisdom by trusting when we reach our limits.  After Jochebed had done all she could she trusted in someone else.  Her basic trust was in what she believed about the providence her faith tradition believed, God uses what happens in our lives to bring about something larger than we can expect or imagine. 


Consider when you have done all you could and had to acknowledge your limitations in which you gained knowledge, strength and wisdom to trust for help beyond yourself.  

  


Friday May 15, 2020

7Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? 8And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother.  9And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. 

There are reversals that occur that are simply astounding.  Imagine Jochebed was paid to nurture and rear her own child by the household that decreed her child's death.  That may sound like a fairy tale.  However, the classic phrase, "what someone meant for evil, the Lord uses for good," (Genesis 50:20).  That is the story of our lives as interpreted through the lens of the biblical faith of the testimonies of witness who discovered who God is, how God is and where God was at work in their lives. 

Consider a time or times when there was an obvious reversal from what would ruin your life to redeeming your life. 

 

Saturday May 16, 2020

10And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son.

Jochebed got the opportunity to teach her child about her faith heritage which reinforced in him a sense of his identity that could not be eradicated by any amount of exposure, experience or education. 

There is an idiom which says, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Mothers ultimately have the greatest power in the world because they influence the way their children develop and the things they do when they grow up. It is apparent that his mother taught him well about the faith tradition into which he was born.  He was educated by the culture into which he was raised yet he did not lose his sense of identity in a culture not his own.  Evidently, Moses' mother instilled in him a sense of his destiny to be more than what the culture offered with its privilege.  Wow!  Providence reminds us that there is a burden in the blessing and there is a design of destiny in the destructive decisions.  It was said of Moses in retrospect that "by faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called a son of the Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin." (Hebrews 11:24). 

 

Consider when in retrospect you realized that hindsight is twenty-twenty because even in the predicaments of difficulty there is an opportunity for a destiny to be fulfilled beyond what you imagined producing a future that dwarfed the difficulty making it a design of providence.