Scripture tells us that when Moses was born, his mother “saw that he was good” — what a wealth of love and tenderness is wrapped up in those words! What conviction that this child, a gift of God, was someone special! Surely every mother has a measure of that – or, one hopes, should.
But she could no longer keep him quiet, so she had to come up with a plan. We have a three-month-old right now, whose name is Joey, and while ours is a placid, smiley baby, I can well appreciate how they’re not all like that. (His older brother, Mark, would have been one of those harder to keep quiet. He’s two right now. I’ll just let that stand without further comment.)
Her plan is the now-famous Moses basket: take an ark or a casket (the Hebrew can have that meaning), waterproof it, and set it in the edge of the river Nile, among the reeds. It’s ingenious, really. The baby would be close at hand, so she could still tend to his needs, but he wouldn’t be on the premises. The river might even rock him to sleep. If he did make noise, the setting of a river bank, so foreign to a newborn, would lead people to disregard it.
Witness a mother’s love in action — the lengths to which she will go. Surely this had to have been planted within her by the Almighty, the source of all love, who compares Himself to a mother, that we may better comprehend His tender, fierce, stop-at-nothing love (e.g. Isaiah 66:13). Moses’ mother takes her place alongside women like Lois and Eunice, Timothy’s mother and grandmother, Sarah, the wife of Abraham, and the blessed Virgin Mary as worthy role models and godly women.
It’s striking that Scripture describes the infant Moses’ container (vehicle?) as an ‘ark.’ Our Lord has placed us within the ark of the Christian Church (I Pe 3:20-22). He’s placed us there for safekeeping — now and forever. Through Holy Baptism, we are kept safe through the power of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. We emerge from the water eternally safe and alive, delivered from the rage of all our enemies. We are as pure and fresh and clean as newborns — truly we are born again (John 3:5). And these promises are true even for the very youngest! Praise God for His marvelous gift!
And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.
2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.
— Exodus 2:1-3