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Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Brooksyne's flowers she arranged in a basket for a friend this morning.
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"A Basket Story"
"But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him" (Exodus 2:3,4).
Baskets are huge collector items. Here in Lancaster County, which has a lot of tourism, there are stores just for baskets, including one called "Basketville" which we often pass by out on Rt. 30. In Ohio the Longaberger Company specializes in baskets and their headquarters is actually shaped like a huge basket!
Brooksyne is very practical in the use of baskets and in our home the main use for baskets is for flowers and plants. She really isn't very interested in the heirloom quality. On a practical level we also have laundry baskets and trash baskets.
Today I want to consider a time in the Bible that a basket was used in a functional way as a means of deliverance. Pharoah had decreed that all male babies were to be destroyed. After the birth of her son Jochebed had tried to hide him. But at three months of age she could hide him no longer.
Babies have a will of their own and though Jochebed may have sung and rocked the baby to try to pacify his infant whimpers, surely it turned into loud inconsolable crying as the child grew. All parents experience this with their growing babies. God could have intervened in this matter by silencing the baby but He didn't work things out this way. So Jochebed came up with a plan. She got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch (to make it waterproof) and placed him in the basket among the reeds along the Nile River.
I am intrigued by the actions taken by Moses' older sister, Miriam, in the next several verses. Even a child had a part in God's redemptive plan! After Jochebed placed Moses in the basket and down into the water Miriam "stood at a distance to see what would happen to him." I wonder what she was thinking? How much had her mother explained to her? How long did she wait?
Well, in time, Pharaoh's daughter came down to the river, found the crying baby and "had compassion on him." Miriam, who had been watching all along boldly sprang into action with an ingenious plan. She cleverly volunteered, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" Notice she doesn't say "my mother" or "his mother" but "one of the Hebrew women." Of course upon approval she went to get the baby's mother! It has long been my conviction that Moses' later greatness is a result of the godly influence of his mother (and perhaps father) during that formative time. But Miriam also played such a vital role in God's plan.
It's a small role but significant and that's how so much of life is. Small, seemingly insignificant, acts of faith and obedience have a major part in the mosaic of God's master plan for our lives. We may desire to do something great for God, but often His plan is the simple day by day acts of obedience to Him in following His leadings, both large and small. We'll just have to wait and see how it all fits together. May the Lord help us all today, like Miriam, to do what is appropriate for the moment!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we're grateful for the supernatural work You perform in our lives. Two of the greatest works we thank You for is our natural physical birth and our supernatural spiritual birth. There are so many other marvelous works You carry out and ways in which You intervene on our behalf. Alongside Your providential care for us we rely on Your wisdom, understanding, and direction as we encounter difficulties along the way and situations that are beyond our control. Help us to follow Your leading in the small day to day promptings we receive from Your Spirit as we go about our activities. The way You cared for Moses is a great reminder that we are never without hope when we walk in Your ways and trust You for that which concerns us. Amen.
As we prepered today's message a contemporary song from the seventies came to mind:
"Ordinary People" (lyrics)
We especially like these words:
He chooses people just like me and you.
Who are willing to do everything that He commands.
God uses people that will give Him all.
It doesn't matter how small your all may seem to you.
Because little becomes much as you place it in the Master's hand.
Another old song that came to mind takes us both back to our pre-Bible School days and we sure appreciate this local home-made version. "Jesus Use Me" (mp3)
As I listened to the song I was especially touched by this line, "I'll follow Thee though death should come my way" since I am reading the biography of Chet Bitterman. He was a missionary martyr who was slain by guerillas in Colombia over 25 years ago. He was from Lancaster County and graduated from Conestoga Valley High School, the same school that Mike Stillman, a friend of mine attended. Chet was just two years older than I am and we both prepared for ministry in a Bible College. I am quite sure this was a song he often sang in preparing for ministry for Christ.
He had written in his diary while in language school in Costa Rica: "Maybe this is just some kind of self-inflicted martyr complex, but I find this recurring thought that perhaps God will call me to be martyred for Him in His service in Colombia. I am willing."
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
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