4 Steps for Families in the New Year

Bible Book: Exodus  2
Subject: Moses; Family; Children; Abortion; Will of God;

4 Steps for Families in the New Year

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com

Exodus 2

The Hebrews were slaves down in Egypt and the Egyptians took notice of the fact that their numbers were growing. The Hebrews were having children in great numbers and this disturbed their captors, so the Pharaoh determined that every male child among the Hebrew people was to be put to death. A godly family had a son and they determined that they were not going to allow their son to be murdered. Their boy child was named Moses and they hid him in a basket among the reeds in the Nile River. The Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses and immediately loved the child, and through her God miraculously spared him from death.

Believe it or not, this story is as old as time but is also an up-to-date story - as fresh as your morning newspaper. The devil desires to kill your children – to rob them of the great faith their parents hold to. If you can’t see that Satan (the Pharaoh) is working to destroy your children, and your family, you are simply not paying attention.

Today I want us to consider Four Steps To Securing Your Family. I suppose that there has never been a time where more tools are available to protect the physical nature of your home. We have cameras on our doorbells, over our garages, and inside our homes. Many homes have alarms that warn if someone is entering who is not expected or welcome. We have systems that automatically call the police when an intruder comes in our home. Our children carry cell phones and call immediately if they have a need. But, have we armed ourselves against the Satanic attacks that come against our marriages and our children? That is what I want us to do today and to do it by discovering God’s way of protecting our families from the evil one.

There are four attributes that Moses’ parents had and these made all the difference in their son’s life. First, note with me …

I. A Commitment to the Way of the Lord

Note Verse 1 of Exodus 2, for here we discover a man of the house of Levi who married a wife from the house of Levi. Now, I’m not talking about the man who created Levi jeans. I say that because many people don’t read the Bible these days and you may not know that Levi was the leader of the Tribe among the Israelites who was responsible for the priesthood. This was a family with a line of people truly devoted to the Lord. The fact that a man of the Tribe of Levi married a wife from the tribe of Levi may seem rather benign to you, but I would suggest it points out something about Amram and Jochebed – the parents of Moses.

Let’s recall that Levi was the third son of Jacob by Leah, his wife. The word Levi means "to adhere" or "to stick with". In Numbers we read that the Levites are to adhere to Aaron and be a priestly tribe for all of Israel. That means that all the priests were to come from this tribe – the tribe of Levi. There is a play on words here speaking of the Levites adhering to the Lord and thus being faithful to the priesthood. It is interesting that the parents of Moses were both from the house of Levi, which would later become the priestly tribe once the people had escaped slavery in Egypt. Note that they did not marry outside their own tribe or house. There is here at least the inference that this couple was totally committed to the way of the Lord in their lives even before they were married. Excellence in this home seems to have begun in the hearts of this couple even before they met or fell in love with each other. They were both committed to the way of the Lord in their family living.

Amram and Jochebed, Moses’ parents, had three children. One was Aaron, another was Miriam and the one we are looking at today was Moses. All three of their children played a significant role in the history of God’s people and the plan God has for the world.

I am today reminded of Susannah Wesley, who had 17 children. Several of them died while young, as children often did in those days. She raised 9 of them to adulthood. I can imagine she had a hard life caring for a home which was running over with children. She did that in a day before any of our modern conveniences were available to her. Yet, she did not flee from her responsibilities. She could have packed her bags, told the Lord she meant to be a wife and mother but not run a house as big as an orphanage, and she could have fled the country. She stood her ground. She prayed with her children daily, read the Word of God to them and taught them discipline. If history is correct, she did not get a lot of help from her husband, yet she produced two sons, John and Charles Wesley, who shook two continents for God. Her devotion was rewarded, as was that of Amram and Jochebed, the parents of Moses. You see, they too lived in difficult times but they trusted the Lord and served Him faithfully even when they could not understand or explain the world in which they lived.

Let me assure you that there is no substitute for the principle of committing yourself to the way of the Lord. It does not matter the trends of the times in which you live. Every generation faces its own problems and challenges, but God will provide a way as long as we are fully committed to Him through it all. It does not matter what the world rejects or accepts, our duty is to be committed to the Lord.

Some wise guy said, “The children of fleas go to the dogs because their parents went that way before them.” That is not totally true, for many godly parents have children who run as far from God as they can once they have their freedom. Yet, if we have any reason to expect our children to honor God, we need to commit our way to the Lord and maintain that commitment as an example.

Did you hear about the mouse who committed suicide when he found out his father was a rat? Another bloke said, “Women tend to marry men like their fathers, and that is why mothers always cry at weddings.” Seriously, we need to give our children a heritage of faith in God and faithfulness to Him. Believe me, when they are older this heritage will be more important to them than any other thing you may have provided for them. Remember that there is a high probability that they will resemble us in some or perhaps many ways. Jimmy brought home his report card, and his father wasn't very pleased. "Just look at Tommy Sparks," remarked the father.  "He is always at the head of his class." The son said, "But, Dad, you have to remember that Tommy Sparks has really smart parents."

When children become adults they have to make their own decisions. No amount of family training and godly living in a family can ensure that children will follow the Lord. Salvation is an individual decision, and we cannot save our children through godly unbringing; however, it is a proven fact that that parents who have faith and live in the home give their children a much greater probability of placing faith in Christ and follow that by living for Him.

If we would live excellent lives for God in this coming year, we will have to begin by living correctly in our homes. This is true whether children are present or not. Remember, Amram and Jochebed were committed to the way of the Lord before God gave them the special children who would be used to reshape the world in their day.

So, first there is a commitment to the Lord, but also note the second thing necessary. It is …

II. A Conscientious in the Work of the Lord

Now note verse 2 in Exodus 2. Here we read here of the birth of Moses. It is probable that Miriam was born and was several years old by the time of the birth of Moses. She is not mentioned because the point of the passage here relates to the fact that the Pharaoh had given the order that only the male children should be put to death.

It is interesting that there is always an attack by the devil upon the little ones in every generation. You remember I’m sure the order of Herod to kill all the male children two years of age and under in the town of Bethlehem following the birth of Jesus. Satan knows that we are always one generation away from the annihilation of the people of God. If one generation of believers is totally wiped out, there will be no one left to share the message of God’s love that is found only in Christ. True, that isn’t going to happen, but it doesn’t keep the devil from trying. Though Satan may not persuade all to desert the faith of their fathers and mothers, he has and is prompting multitudes to do so, to the sadness and chagrin of their parents.

I cannot help but think about abortion during each new near, as we move near the anniversary week of the infamous Roe vs. Wade decision by the Supreme Court of this country. I have news for you, there is a court more Supreme than the one which sits in Washington, D.C. One day everyone, including those justices, will have to appear in a higher and more holy courtroom than any on this earth! It is sad that so many Americans do not understand what abortion is about. It is certainly not about women’s rights. How do I know? Abortion is often portrayed as benefiting women; yet ironically when decisions are made on the basis of sex, girls are aborted far more often then boys. Out of 8,000 amniocenteses, that is abortions, done in Bombay, 7,999 of them were girls and only one was a boy. This was true in China when parents were only allowed to have one child - if it was a girl they killked it. In one study in the United States, 29 out of 46 girls were aborted – whereas only 1 out of 53 boys were aborted.  So the idea that abortion benefits women doesn't seem to fit the facts; it winds up in the slaughter of women around the world.

Others believe that abortion is about producing more children who will be loved and not rejected. Some argue that abortion keeps child abuse down since unwanted children are aborted. Fascinating isn’t it, that the inhumane slaughter of unborn babies is seen as something less than child abuse. Actually, statistics reveal that child abuse has risen dramatically since Roe vs. Wade was adopted as the law of the land. Furthermore, Dr. Lenoski, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Southern California, revealed that 91% of battered children were from planned pregnancies. Another study demonstrated more deviant behavior in wanted babies than in those who are unwanted. So any argument that an unwanted child becomes abused at a greater rate than planned births just doesn't stand up to any kind of test. On the contrary, there seems to be a correlation between abortion and child abuse. When abortion was legalized in the United States there were 167,000 child abuse cases per year (it was legalized in 1973). By 1979 there were 711,000 child abuse cases; in 1982 there were 1,000,000! Britain experienced a tenfold increase in child abuse after liberalizing abortion laws. These figures have continued at an alarming rate. Do you know why? When you reduce the value of the unborn child, you reduce the value of all children.

For centuries the Western World has operated on what we could call a "sanctity of life" ethic. That is to say, a person had a right to life simply because he was human and was considered human because he was alive, but there has been a shift in recent years toward a quality of life ethic. This new ethic basically says, "A person doesn't have a right to live simply because he's human. A person only has a right to live if he meets certain criteria, certain qualities." According to that new modern viewpoint, a person has no rights simply because he is alive. Even if he is physically alive he must meet some additional criteria for being fully human. If he fails to meet the criteria he doesn't have the rights of a human, including the right to live. The unborn must meet some kind of a vague standard of genetic worthiness, or they must have a life worth living, or they must be wanted by society, or they must meet the mother's personal criteria to be considered human.

Nobel Laureate James Watson proposed that a person not be declared having the quality to live until three days after birth, to be sure he's healthy. In other words, wait three days and then if the child doesn't meet the criteria you have the right to kill the child. Other proposals would require that someone be several years old before he could be considered a human and thus qualify to live. I heard recently that in some people Scandinavian countries want to purpose that child may not be truly considered human until seven years old.

Of course, if criteria can be imposed near the beginning of life then it can be imposed at any time in life. Joseph Fletcher (you associate him with "situation ethics") suggested that to be considered a person one must have a measurable IQ of at least 40. Infants would not qualify, nor would the aged who are senile, nor would others who had certain types of accidents. "In such cases," argues Fletcher, "abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia are not taking personal life, but merely biological life."

Others argue that we should accept abortion because it stops short the birth of severely retarded children. Just think of all those who are killed today. Dr. Agnew of UCLA proposed the following scenario to his students. A man and woman are about to have a child. The father has syphilis, the mother has tuberculosis, they have already had four children: the first one is blind, the second one died, the third is deaf and the fourth has tuberculosis. The mother is now pregnant with her fifth child. The parents are willing to have an abortion, what would you tell them to do? Almost every student in the class agreed that the mother should have an abortion. The professor said, “Congratulations, students, you just aborted Beethoven.” You see, that was the family situation into which Beethoven was born.

Let me tell you something, friend, you have no right to take a human life, whether born or unborn. The Pharaoh was no less unkind and inhumane than many people today who are taking the lives of unborn children by the hundreds of thousands across this land and around the world.

I will not belabor the issue of abortion any further, but I must tell you that the women’s liberation movement, the modern media, and liberal educators in major universities have totally blindfolded the American people on this issue. Remember that the Pharaoh is a type of Satan in the Bible, and here we see him seeking to kill the male children when they are born. Imagine a man ordering that little defenseless babies be thrown into the Nile River to drown. But then, is that any different than the horrible ways that little defenseless unborn babies are wiped out in our day right here in our own country?

A quick look at this text, Exodus 2:2, might lead you to a wrong conclusion. It appears that Amram and Jochebed saved Moses from the edict of death passed by the Pharaoh because he was a sweet, beautiful baby. Let’s face it, all mothers see their babies as sweet, beautiful babies. Theologians largely agree that there is more to this text than meets the eye. What actually happened here is that Moses’ mother had a sense from God that her son was God-sent. His birth was no accident of nature. He was not just the biological production of a man and woman, a husband and wife. He was special. He had a purpose.

Oh, parent, please look at your children as gifts from God. Each child is important. Each one has a role to play for God. Some may not fulfill that role, but they have a place in God’s economy – a place in God’s plans  whether they fulfill them or not. There is some young person here today  determined to get away from his or her parents and leave this religion and moral stuff behind. That young boy or girl can’t wait till college days so the rules will change. You listen to me, you had better find God’s purpose for your life. You can go your own way if you desire, but you must reap what you sow. Most people like to plant wild seeds and then they pray that the crop they planted with wild seeds will fail. Yet, the Bible states that what we sow we will reap.

And, parents pray for your children. There is power in prayer. I will never forget hearing Stephen Olford tell about his own experience. Dr. Olford is perhaps one of the greatest Bible expositors that ever lived. He has touched the lives of kings, presidents, prime ministers, and business and world leaders for many years. He even had a great influence on the life of Dr. Billy Graham, but Stephen Olford was almost lost to God’s work when he was a teenager.

Olford’s father was a missionary. Olford came to a point as a teenager that he wanted to do his own thing. He had felt the Lord deal with him, but he turned away from that call and began to choose the wrong friends. One night he had been out till very late. He came in after midnight and tiptoed into the house hoping that his mother would not be awakened. As he went by her room, he noticed that the light was on. Then he saw her and heard her. She was down on her knees pleading with God to keep her boy from destroying his life. She did not hear him come in, but Olford heard her. He could not go to hell climbing over his mother’s prayers. Within days he fell on his knees, gave himself fully to the Lord, and surrendered to the Lord’s work. Thank God for a praying mother.

Moms and dads, you cannot make your children live right no matter how hard you try. And some kids of godly parents will go their own way, but if they must go that way make them climb over your prayers to destroy their lives. Put up a barrier between your child and Satan’s lies.

Amram and Jochebed were without doubt praying parents. Satan would not throw their child into the Nile without a fight! Moses’ mother was conscious that God wanted to save her child, God wanted to use her child, God had a purpose for her child, and she entered into God’s plan for him.

Thirdly, note …

III. A Courage in the Will of the Lord

Let us not take Jochebed’s decision to lightly. It took great courage for her to do what she did. She and her husband were at great risk for seeking to save the life of their son, Moses. They could be killed for disobeying the order of the Pharaoh and they might have brought great peril on the lives of other family members and other Hebrews; nevertheless, they would not obey the evil edict of the Egyptian king. They would rather serve the King of Kings than obey the Egyptian king. Look at Hebrews 11:23 and you will see where they got the courage to carry out their plan. They were people of faith! By faith they hid him three months and then placed him in an basket among the bulrushes.

They were not afraid of the king’s commandments. How courageous they were. They did not fear the Egyptian king because they knew the King of Kings.

Look at 2 Kings 20 (These were dark days - see this referenced in this text) Here we see that Hezekiah showed the riches of God's kingdom to the Babylonians. Isaiah told Hezekiah that he had done a terrible thing by showing the evil king all these items of gold and silver. A judgment was pronounced against Hezekiah because of this, yet the Bible records that Hezekiah was glad concerning this judgment from God. Pray tell, why would a man rejoice in the face of a divine judgment? Youo see, Hezekiah was told that a great judgment was to come upon Israel because of his unfaithful act of showing the treasures of the kingdom to an evil king; however, the judgment would not fall upon the land until after Hezekiah's death. In other words, Hezekiah didn’t care if the generation after his generation was conquered by an evil king, as long as he was protected during his lifetime. He did not care what would happen after he passed from the scene. That is a dark day. Many parents today care only for their own pleasure and comfort, and care little for the welfare of the unborn or the child they have been given. Listen to me friend, it is a sad thing when we reach the point that we care more for ourselves than our children. A poor little mother hen will stand up to a full-grown man if she thinks her little chicks are in danger. Surely we ought to have more concern for our offspring that a mere chicken has for hers!

We need courageous, self-sacrificing parents in our day, who are willing to stand up for what is right for our children and our children’s children.

Now, note lastly…

IV. A Culmination in Seeing the Wonders of the Lord

We must remain committed to the Lord in our homes so that we might we the culmination of the wonders God can perform as a result. Just reading the story of the life of Moses is fascinating. Looking at how God brought forth such great results from such humble beginnings ought to remind us that we are to never, never, never give up in our prayers and efforts to guide our children toward God's path for them.

Note that Moses refused to be called the son of the Pharaoh’s daughter. Why? Certainly part of the reaon for the stand Moses took in his service to God came from his upbringing - from his parents protection of him and their devotion to God.

Look with me at how God honored the faith of Moses' parents:

  • Faith honors God and God honors faith
  • God had the Pharaoh’s daughter come down to the Nile at just the right time
  • God had Moses cry at the right moment
  • God had the Pharaoh’s daughter to love and have compassion on the child
  • God had the Pharaoh’s daughter to listen to her slave girl’s suggestion that a Hebrew to nurse him
  • God had the Pharaoh’s daughter to pay Moses own mother to nurse and raise him
  • God had Moses to receive a scholarship to (the University of Egypt) training in the great halls of Egyptian education
  • God led mom and dad to teach Moses a faith in God - a faith worth standing for in an evil world
  • God provided the wonders when the parents provided the faith and courage
  • God led Moses forth at the right time, along with his brother and sister, and the world would never be the same again

Moses was not without sin, for like us he was not perfect. Neither were his parents, but they were willing to ...

  • Make a commitment to the way of the Lord
  • Have a conscientious habit of doing the work of the Lord
  • Be courageous in doing the will of the Lord
  • Experience the wonders of the Lord in full fruition and completion
  • Our children are so important. We must commit our homes to Lord so that He may use us and the generation to follow us in changing our world.

A little boy was eagerly looking forward to the birthday party of a friend who lived only a few blocks away. When the day arrived, a blizzard made the sidewalks and roads nearly impassable. The lad's father, sensing the danger, hesitated to let his son go. The youngster reacted tearfully. "But Dad," he pleaded, "all the other kids will be there. Their parents are letting them go." The father thought for a minute, then replied softly, "All right, you may go." Surprised but overjoyed, the boy bundled up and plunged into the raging storm. The driving snow made visibility almost impossible, and it took him more than half an hour to trudge the short distance to the party. As he rang the doorbell, he turned briefly to look out into the storm. His eye caught the shadow of a retreating figure. It was his father. He had followed his son's every step to make sure he arrived safely.

Listen to me, we are sending our children out into a cold, harsh world. We must stay close to them, if not in person at least through our prayers. The evil one wants to throw our children into the Nile, let us commit today that our children may fulfill the purposes of God and that they will be enabled to do it because we have so committed our homes to the Lord that Satan will have no power over them.