In Exodus 1-2 we read the story of the birth of Moses. He happened to be born at a time when the Pharaoh was worried that the Hebrew slaves were growing too numerous. He ordered that Hebrew boys born during this time be murdered.
Two Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, defied the king’s orders. So did Moses’ mother. So did Moses’ sister, Miriam, who hid him in a basket in the Nile. And so did Pharaoh’s own daughter who found him in the basket and adopted him. These brave women all put themselves in harm’s way to give Moses life.
I was reminded of that story recently when I read a famous letter. Right before his death in 1791 at 88 years old, John Wesley wrote a letter to William Wilberforce. At that time, Wilberforce was leading the fight to abolish the British slave trade. To that point, he had been completely unsuccessful. Wesley wrote:
Dear Sir: Unless the divine power has raised you up…I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise, in exposing that villainy, which is a scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by opposition of men and devils. “But if God be for you, who can be against you?” Are all of them stronger than God? “O be not weary in well doing.” Go on, in the name of God and the power of His might till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it.
That He who has guided you from your youth up, may continue to strengthen you in all things, is the prayer of your affectionate servant, J. Wesley.
Wilberforce kept that life-giving note of encouragement and read it often…for decades. Finally, in 1807, several months after Wilberforce’s death, slavery was outlawed in the British Empire.
Maybe you have a William Wilberforce in your life, just needing nurture and encouragement. Maybe there is a Moses in your life. Maybe not.
Shiphrah and Puah, who saved Moses, also saved countless unnamed children. But are these boys less important? Weren’t their parents just as grateful? Aren’t all of us worth immense value to our Lord?
In the end, it doesn’t matter if it’s Moses or Wilberforce or someone else, God calls us to give life to others. We are to invest in others – add value to their lives – and influence them for the Kingdom.
Join us Sunday for Mother’s Day and my sermon “Moses’ Mothers” – ladies, we have a delicious treat for you!