Just as soon as my eyes popped open this morning, I heard the Voice of The Lord say, “Repent.” As innocently as I could I replied, “Who, Lord?” (I was trying to pretend that I didn’t know He was talking about me.) But the Lord would have nothing to do with my foolishness. “You,” He quickly responded. I well knew why I was being called to repentance.
For several weeks I had been agonizing about some stuff and things (issues of life) that I had no control over. I quickly repented and then The Lord reminded me of one of my own sermon preached about 10 years ago. It’s in my book also, Ponderings From the Heart of Mary. I sat down to refresh my memory. The sermon is called, “A Basket Case: Letting Go.” On the next pages you will find that sermon. I hope you will read it and be blessed. Don’t forget to put YOURSELF in the basket!
A Basket Case: Letting Go (A sermon delivered by Min. Mary Edwards)
Scripture Reading: Exodus, Chapters 1 and 2
Have you been struggling for months, perhaps even years, with situations that have caused you frustration and emotional pain?
Has the pain been because of a wayward child, one who has gotten off track (or never gotten on track)? Maybe it’s a marriage that’s going from bad to worse. Perhaps you have been afflicted in your body and can’t seem to get healed. Have you had dreams and visions that haven’t yet manifested after years of waiting?
There are many such frustrations that we are confronted with from time to time. The Bible refers to these as “the cares of this world”(Matt. 13:22).
Not too long ago I found myself experiencing a great deal of anxiety in a particular area. This strain on my spirit led me to fall on my face in prayer and cry out to the Lord for some relief.
What I said was, “Lord, you have instructed us to cast all of our cares on you(I Peter 5:7). No one in their right mind wants to hang on to these burdens. But how do you turn them over? It seems so much easier to say than to do. Over and over I give them to you only to retrieve them again. Lord, please show me how.”
Now it was the Lord’s turn to speak. He said, “Pray for the faith of Jochebed, Beloved.” (He always calls me Beloved.) The Lord went on to show me what He meant.
Exodus Chapter One
Stories are told in the Bible about many significant women, but Jochabed had a very special faith – unique in its own way. Jochabed had a son whose name is well known – Moses. God had a plan for Moses, but from the time he was conceived, even while he was in his mother’s womb, the enemy was out to kill him. However, in spite of the enemy’s well-laid plan to annihilate all the male Hebrew children, the Great Jehovah permitted Moses to live.
For as long as she could, Jochabed sheltered and hid her precious son from the enemy. Nevertheless, the day came when she realized that if she wanted him to continue to live she must let him go.
She took a giant step of faith and placed her beloved son in a basket, placed the basket on the Nile River, and let it float wherever it would. Moses floated right into the waiting arm of the enemy where he was subsequently raised and groomed in safety in Pharoah’s household!
Man’s plan was that Moses would one day succeed Pharoah and sit on the king’s throne and rule Egypt. But God’s divine plan was that Moses would be the deliverer of his oppressed people out of the clutches of the enemy, which eventually came to pass. Many more supernatural events occurred in the life of Moses after this.
What I have shared with you was just the beginning of the Master’s plan for His servant’s life. One of the points I want to make here is this:
God has a wonderful and individual plan for everyone’s life. That plan is that we “be fruitful and multiply”(Gen.1: 22). This is the very thing that the enemy Pharoah was afraid of (Exodus 1:10). For this reason, he implemented his evil plan to slay the Hebrew boys. As a result, Moses’ life was in jeopardy.
Again, let me remind you that the adversary had a plan to kill Moses while he was still in his mother’s womb. Why? Because he knew that Moses represented a potential threat to him. He knew that Moses and the children of Israel would greatly increase in number.
Every one of us in this room is a similar threat to the devil. God has a plan for every one of us. The fact that we were born is evidence that our purpose is necessary.
We were born to lead. We were born to give the devil a fit! God has planted a seed in our natural and/or spiritual wombs that is intended to put Satan to an open shame. That is why he is doing everything in his limited power to discourage, defeat, depress, and dethrone us. And to keep our visions and dreams from becoming realities. But we were born to reign. We were born to bring forth fruit and have that fruit remain. But we are going to need to do what Jochabed did in order for this to happen. We must trust God and let go.
Letting go is not easy for most of us because we have been fiercely taught to do just the opposite. We have been taught by the world around us to hold on, don’t let go, hang in there, don’t give up, etc., etc. The Bible has even taught us to hold fast, occupy until I come, and to persevere. So what are we suppose to do?
I have lived for well over a half century now, and what I have found from my personal experiences, as well as from counseling others is this. If we are not led by the Holy Spirit, we can become very confused. We will find ourselves letting go when God wants us to hold on, and holding on when He wants us to let go.
Let us take a look now at this chapter. Although the names of Moses’ parents are not mentioned here they are mentioned in Numbers 26:29. As a matter of fact, we don’t even know the name given to Moses by his natural parents. Later, we will see that he is named “Moses” by Pharoah’s daughter.
Moses’ name means: Drawn out. Because he was draw out of the water. You and I have been drawn out of the world. Perhaps you even feel as though you have been in water over your head – Hot Water!
As I read verse two, I am reminded of the sovereignty of God. God is the One who determines our gender while we are yet in our mother’s womb. He put a male seed in Jochabed’s womb in spite of the fact that Pharoah had put a contract out on all male children. God knew this and He could just as easily have put a female seed in Jochabed’s womb. A little “Mosette” may have allowed Jochabed to keep her child. But God is God and He had another plan. A sovereign plan for Moses’ life. His plan was for Moses to be a deliverer of His people out of the land of Egypt. Let us continue to digress here for a moment.
Have you ever wondered why God chose a Moses instead of a Mosette to lead the people out of Egypt? Did He favor men over women? No. However, I do think that the children of Israel would not have been willing to follow women. Even as you read the genealogies throughout scripture, they almost always read: “Son of So-and-So. Son of So-and-So.” In those days, women were looked upon as second-class citizens. But that doesn’t mean that God can’t and doesn’t use women as leaders. In fact, He used Deborah in the Book of Judges to lead His people and He is yet using women today.
It’s really too bad that the hearts of some men are so cold, and they are so disobedient to the heavenly vision, that we had to have an equal rights act and an amendment when God created all of us equal in the beginning.
There’s probably a woman sitting here right now called to pastor a flock. But before you can answer that call you are going to need to put away – let go of – some manmade doctrines about female pastors, and push pass some of your own indoctrination, intimidation, and inferiority. God said in His word that in the last days He would pour out His spirit upon all flesh – that means men and women(Joel 2:28). Having said that, let us continue with verse two.
“She hid him three months.” There’s a time to hold on and a time to let go. If you know anything about newborn babies, and all of you do, it’s not an easy task keeping a wet, hungry newborn quiet. But God protected him by silencing his cries from the enemy for three months.
Looking at verse three we see that there comes a time when no matter how much we love our children, we can no longer protect them and shelter them. We must let them go. However, if we are women of wisdom, we will have already prepared and laid a godly foundation for them just as Jochabed did for her son. She prepared an ark of safety for her child.
God’s people are everywhere. And He has someone watching over your child right now. Maybe your child has left home for college, runaway from home, been evicted from home, in jail. Wherever he or she is, God has someone watching over him or her. Have you dispatched your angel to encampeth round about your child?
Don’t you know that Pharoah’s daughter was a king’s kid? She didn’t need to bathe in the river. She probably had a Jacuzzi in her master bathroom! But her footsteps were ordered by the Lord.
The child Miriam was a quick thinker. She did not panic. Some of us would have said, O God No! The enemy. The very person from whom we were trying to save our child. He has floated right into the arms of the enemy. How do you suppose Jochabed felt watching this happen? That’s why we must walk by faith, not by sight.
I believe that because Mother Jochabed put him in the ark of safety and because Miriam didn’t panic, God rewarded them for their faith and Jochabed got her son back. Not only that, but she was paid – by the enemy – to care for the child! Imagine that! Have you put your child in the ark of safety?
When Jochabed got her child back I believe she not only nursed him with mother’s milk, but also gave him Father’s milk – the sincere milk of the Word of the Lord!
Isn’t it interesting that, even though Moses was still a three-month-old baby, and he still cried when he was hungry and wet, and even though he was still a Hebrew child, and even though Pharoah still had a contract out on Hebrew boys, he was not killed. Why? Because God had a plan for Moses’ life. Moses was under God’s divine protection because he had a divine appointment. He had to deliver his people from bondage.
Friends, stop fretting about your children. It may not look like it, but God has a plan for their lives also. Yes, it’s true. They may be rebellious and wayward but prodigal sons and daughters are coming home every day. The effectual, fervent prayers of the righteous availeth much. Mothers, out prayers can and do change things.
“And he grew.” And his mother had to release him – again. She did this because she was an honorable woman and had made an agreement to nurse and raise up the child and then give him back to Pharoah’s daughter.
Mothers, our children are only ours for a season. They really belong to God. And we must dedicate them back to the Lord. I see Moses being placed in the ark of safety and in the water by his mother as a dedication ceremony. In a sense, this was Moses’ baptism. Have you dedicated your child back to the Lord?
Because Jochabed released her child, the scriptures were able to say that Moses became the son of Pharoah’s daughter. And she gave him the name “Moses.” Many times when God calls us into His service, He does change our name. For many years, I used my middle name “Darlene.” In 1982, He instructed me to begin to use my first name “Mary.” The reason why is a story that I’ll save for another day.
We don’t know how much time elapsed between verse l and verse 11, but all things do come to pass and Moses grew from childhood to adulthood. All the while, God was still protecting him. Some things never change. Moses was a white Hebrew living among black Egyptians and growing up as Pharoah’s grandson. You don’t do that without God’s divine protection.
Moving along quickly, as I said, some things never change. Sin is one of those things. Moses sinned. He tried to hide it, was discovered, fear set in, and he ran. Sin is a vicious cycle.
But this can happen when we get ahead of God. Moses was acting out his call prematurely. God does not condone murder, but we see later that what Satan meant for evil, God used it for His purpose.
So, let me ask you a question: What’s going on in your life? What is Satan trying to kill, steal, and destroy in your life?
Maybe you don’t have a child as Jochabed did. But perhaps the seed is in your spiritual womb. And Satan is trying to steal, kill, or destroy your visions and dreams. It’s time to put your visions and dreams in the ark of safety.
Do you have a call on your life to the ministry but things seem to be at a standstill? It’s time to put your ministry in the ark of safety.
Someone here wants their loved ones saved but you are holding on so tight that God can’t move on your behalf. It’s time to put those loved ones in the ark of safety.
Do you have a God-given vision to start a church but you can’t even get folks to come to a home Bible study? It’s time to put that vision in the ark of safety.
Are you physically sick and can’t seem to get well? It’s time to put that need in the ark of safety.
Do you have a desire to marry and have a family but you can’t even get a single date? It’s time to put that desire in the ark of safety.
Do you desire a promotion on your job, but after five years you are still in an entry-level position? It’s time to put that desire in the ark of safety.
Are you struggling to make ends meet financially? And it’s a toss up between paying the past due light bill or the past due gas bill. Perhaps you’re holding on too tightly to God’s tithes. Do you realize that every dime that you steal from God, you you allow the devil to steal 90 cents from you? It’s time to release God’s 10%
Are you letting past pain rob you of your present and paralyze your future happiness? It’s time to put that pain in the ark.
Friends, today is the day of your deliverance. I believe that everyone in this room is holding on too tightly to something that God wants you to let go of.
Think about it. Pray about it. Then, in your sanctified imagination, place the basket on the Nile River as Jochabed did, and let it float. No matter what things look like in the natural, let it float. Walk by faith and not by sight. But don’t walk on the water to retrieve the basket. Let it float.
The relationship between Jochabed and her son Moses is an example of how to release our own loved ones, our careers, our hopes, our dreams, our pasts, our presents, and our futures into the hands of an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omnipresent God – for He is faithful.
Let us pray.