Now don’t exit right away, I am not going to preach! But I do want to share an interesting story about survival and careers from the Bible. I believe it is true and that God orchestrated it, but will tell the story in secular terms just because it is fascinating. And, you may find that the Bible does have some lessons for us.
Genesis recounts the story of Jochebed, who was Moses mom. Jochebed was a Hebrew woman who had a child named Moses. At the time of his birth the Hebrews were enslaved to the Egyptians and were very abused by them. Because the Hebrews were multiplying the Pharaoh became concerned about an insurrection by the Hebrews, so he ordered that the first born sons be killed by throwing them in to the Nile River. Many were killed in this process, but Jochebed hid Moses and concentrated on finding a way to let him survive, rather than be another victim. She put him into a basket and sent him down a stream to where some Egyptian women were bathing and would discover him. They did and instantly fell in love with the baby and kept him for their own. They realized that they needed to nurse him and Moses sister, who had been watching them., came forward and volunteered her mother to take care of the baby. They took her in and Jochebed nursed her own child for them.
Moses was raised as a privileged Egyptian and in a worldly sense had it made. One day he discovered his true heritage and began defending his people who were being beaten and treated poorly by the Egyptians, and was forced to flee Egypt for his personal insurrection. In a few years he returned to Egypt commissioned by God to lead his people out of captivity which he successfully did. There is much more to this account in Exodus that is equally fascinating.
But, we can learn quite a bit about just this snippet from the Bible. Even in just a secular sense.
Jochebed was a survivor! While her friends were probably wallowing in pain and tears about losing their babies Jochebed was keen on Moses’ survival and came up with a creative plan to make it happen. She had knowledge of women and their love for babies so let the Egyptian women “discover” Moses and fall in love with him. She knew Moses would require nursing so sent her daughter to volunteer her nursing services to them for Moses care. I don’t know if she was paid, but probably got some food for her service so in actuality got a job out of taking care of her own child! How creative is that? Focusing a personal survival solution saved her child rather than focusing on her victim situation which certainly was justifiable.
One last brief lesson from this would be why did God appoint Moses to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt? Or, if you don’t believe this, then I ask how did he prepare for doing this?
He had no experience as a leader and had only recently discovered his heritage. He had been on the wrong side of the issue for a long time and would have to earn his trust from the Hebrews. He did it by proving his intent through his actions in the process of negotiating with Pharaoh.
His biggest asset for the job was his heritage. He may have been the only Hebrew who could walk into the palace and get an audience with Pharaoh. He probably had relationships with many people in the palace who allowed him to come in and get to see Pharaoh directly. He used his contacts well and achieved his mission by getting in the door.
Survival lessons from this story:
- Don’t wallow in self pity, be creative and find a solution
- Jochebed was unselfish and gave up her son so he may have a chance to live
- Sometimes it is up to us to personally assure our survival
- It pays to understand people; like Jochebed did when sending Moses to baby loving women
- Rather than give up, take a thought our risk and try it
- Use your contacts like Moses did in his mission
- Moses used his assets to help other people, not himself and became successful by being others’ centered
Survival may be very different in today’s complex world, but I think the fundamentals are the same. We need to learn them and apply them!