Scripture presents a number of characters, including Samuel, Samson, Jeremiah, and John the Baptist, whom God designated even before birth to do great things. Often God revealed to parents that their child would be claimed for His purposes. This prenatal calling was not simply for the benefit of parent and child, God had designated these men to do a great work for His people.
In our passage today, we meet a young Levite couple who had two children, presumably under a more favorable Egyptian regime. (We know this because Moses had an older sister, Miriam, and an older brother, Aaron.) The harsh decree of Pharaoh had now been instituted and Moses was born at a time when he should have been immediately killed for simply being a Hebrew boy. For three months, Moses’ mother succeeded in hiding him, but as he grew older, it became increasingly difficult.
What prayers must she have prayed as she prepared the little basket boat for her son? Did she ask God to protect him, to save him? Could she have had the faith to whisper what must have seemed an impossible prayer: Return him to me?
God’s grace pulsates through the action as the story moves forward from verse five. Prayers for rescue were answered, but what’s more, Moses was returned to his mother until the time of his weaning.
Here is our first introduction to the story of Moses. Not only was his survival from birth evidence of God’s protection, but God also provided for him to be reared by his own mother under the protection of Pharaoh’s daughter. What a sequence we read here: the Egyptian princess bathed at that precise hour on that day and found Moses; she was moved to compassion on his behalf; Moses’ sister was there to offer the services of Moses’ mother as a wet nurse. These details indicate more than mere coincidence. Scripture makes clear that God was working to save and prepare Moses to do His work.