Michael Youssef - Moms, Bringing Up Champions
And on this Mom's Day, I want to pay tribute to the great moms who are raising up champions for Christ. I want this message to be an encouragement to them to keep on keeping on, to raise champions for Christ. It is no secret today, motherhood is under a relentless attack. Motherhood is one of humanity's greatest calling. Motherhood is one of the most powerful and influential ministries that anyone could have. Motherhood, it has the power to impact societies, nations, and indeed the whole world.
Motherhood has greater impact for the future of the world than some of the mighty emperors. You say, "Why are you saying this"? Well, because you cannot point to someone who has accomplished great things, man or a woman, without discovering that there is a mother behind the scene in that person's life. You've probably heard me say this before. For every successful man, there is a surprised mother-in-law, but not a mother. Not a mother. Saint Augustine, who accomplished great and mighty things, to this day, 1,600 years later, we still talk about him. He's influencing the world. He came to the Lord from such a denigrated life in Italy.
Timothy, who has succeeded the Apostle Paul, accomplished great things in churches throughout Asia Minor and in Rome. According to the Apostle Paul himself, it was because of the prayers of his mother and grandmother. John and Charles Wesley became the great men who have impacted their world and continue to impact the world even now. It was because of Susanna, who prayed for each one of her children, 11 children, and she prayed 1 hour a day for each one of them. It's so hard to even fathom. But today I have chosen an obscure mother whose impact on the world has been felt deeply 4,000 years ago and to this day through her son Moses. His mother accomplished great and mighty things.
Remember this, Moses the lawgiver, Moses the deliverer of his people from the slavery of Egypt, Moses, whom God used to give us the Ten Commandments. And make no mistake about it, the Ten Commandments are the reflection of the character of God, and we dare not dispense of them, and we dare not minimize them. Moses, whose impact upon the world's still being effective today by God 4,000 years later. Moses was the product of his mother's influence, training, and prayer. Her name was Jochebed. Jochebed represented all that is positive in motherhood. Jochebed is a role model for all godly moms. Jochebed is a role model for self-sacrificing moms that fill this church.
Jochebed is a role model for trusting in the living God in the midst of a dark and even darker culture than we're experiencing, in the midst of a dangerous culture, in the midst of hostile culture to the people of God. Several years ago, someone wrote a booklet entitled, "It Takes a Village to Bring Up a Child". But both the Bible and history tells us that it takes faith in the living God. It takes prayer to the living God. It takes commitment to teach the Word of God. It takes dedication and self-giving to bring up a child in the way of God. Why? Listen to me, because a godless village will bring up godless children. An immoral village will bring up immoral children. An unbelieving village will bring up unbelieving children. The only ones that will bring up godly children are godly moms and godly dads and godly grandparents.
Back to Jochebed. The reason she represents the role model of motherhood is because she teaches all of us the priority of motherhood, the protection of motherhood, the preparation of children by the motherhood, and the provision for the children by motherhood. But before I tell you about Jochebed, I need to give you just a minute and a half of history because before I get to this priority, protection, preparation, and provision for her son Moses, I wanna give you this historic account.
You remember back 300 years before Moses was born, his ancestor Joseph, the beloved son of his father Israel, when he, out of hatred by his older brother, was sold into slavery in Egypt and there he was maligned, there he was mistreated, and there he ended up in prison, but God, who watches the faithfulness of his children no matter where they are, the God who knows and rewards the faithfulness of his children, he is the one who took him from the prison to the throne room of Egypt. And there Joseph brought his brothers. He forgave them what they've done, and he brought his father Israel, and there the people of Israel, the children of Israel, lived for over 400 years.
But within those 300 years, about 100 years before they left to go into the wilderness from Egypt, about 100 years, the numbers had grown. They grew from 73 people to being between 1 to 2 million people. That's at least some of the most conservative estimates. And in Exodus chapter 1, verse 8, it says that: "There came a new king," or a pharaoh, "who did not know all that Joseph had done for Egypt". You see, Joseph, who is Moses' ancestor, saved Egypt. In fact, he saved the entire region and possibly the world from certain starvation, famine, and sure death. For 300 years, every pharaoh that comes on the throne is kind to the Hebrews, kind to the Israelites, showed kindness toward them because they always remembered what Joseph did for the nation.
Out of gratitude for what Joseph did for that country, these pharaohs treated the Israelites well. But then came a new king, a king who obviously said to himself, he said, "You know, I don't know what this Joseph guy did, and furthermore, I don't care. These people are becoming a national threat. The Israelites are becoming a nation inside a nation. We have to eliminate them". And so, this particular pharaoh issued a decree, and he asked all the midwives in Egypt, "When you go to deliver babies among the Hebrews in the Hebrew section of town, you kill 'em before they're born or as soon as they're born". This, my beloved friend, is what you call, "abortion on demand". But when Moses was born, his mother Jochebed knew that God has a purpose for her son, and so she trusted in the Lord. She knew that her son is God's gift.
I want you to hear me right on this one. The one thing that I tell young parents when I meet with them in the office, and they will tell you this, and I've been, as I said, been doing this for 31 years, first thing I tell them that their children are not their children. Do you understand that our children are not our children? I know we think that they're ours, and no they're not. They are God's children, and God entrusts them to us to bring them up for him and on his behalf. You see, when you understand that our children are not ours but they are God's, we begin to comprehend the awesomeness of God's grace in giving us his children to bring up for him, to manage them, the awesomeness of that responsibility.
I thank God that Jochebed taught her son Moses the Word of God and the plan of God. The Epistle to the Hebrews fills in some of the gaps. If you look at chapter 11, verse 23, it says: "By faith Moses's parents hid him for three months, because the were not afraid of the king's edict". So the first thing you need to see here is that godly mothers protect their children. First of all, Jochebed hid her son for three months. They were living on top of each other and trying to keep a baby from crying for three months. That is a remarkable miracle. Then she weaved a basket and she placed it in the water of the river Nile, totally trusting in the Lord to help protect that precious boy.
Let me tell you a few things about the river Nile that you may not know and the Bible does not speak about, but this is reality. The Nile is considered to be the ancient symbol of life, that gives water and therefore gives life. But to the vast majority of Egyptians back then, the river Nile is a symbol of death, not life, because idolatry and the worshiping of the gods, the crocodile gods who lived in the Nile, was one of the big practices in Egypt. The Nile, which is a symbol of the world itself, became an instrument of life for Moses because God was in control. Pagan Egyptians would sacrifice their children to the Nile gods. Jochebed saw what is the source of death as a source of life when God is in it. Jochebed protected her child. As I told you, pagan Egyptians and mothers would throw their babies into the Nile to sacrifice them to the gods of the Nile. But Jochebed covered the basket with asphalt and so as to protect her son from the influence of the world's water.
Now, beloved, listen to me, godly mothers seal their babies' baskets of life by the Holy Spirit of God so their children grow up to believe in God, to trust in God, to walk with God, and to serve God. But not only that, I know you hear it in the news all the time. So many unbelieving parents literally sacrifice their children for the sake of money, for the sake of fame, for the sake of popularity. Godly mothers protect their children, weaving a basket of the Word of God around them. They're weaving the Word of God around them to keep their children from drowning in the world's water. When she placed him in the weeds of the Nile River, right there where Pharaoh's daughter was known to come out with her maids to bathe every day, and she kept her own daughter Miriam nearby watching very closely.
And sure enough, right on schedule, as soon as Pharaoh's daughter came out to bathe with her maids, she saw this beautiful basket, and she opened it and fell in love with that baby. All of this under the watchful eye of Miriam. As soon as Pharaoh's daughter stopped going and going about the baby, Miriam pops up from the reeds and says, "Are you looking for a woman to nurse the baby"? "Sure". Isn't that amazing, though, when you think about it? Here Jochebed got to nurse and train, instruct her own son Moses until he was about 8 years old, and then she got paid for it. Isn't that amazing? That's how God works, in case you don't know.
And as you know, these are foundational years in the life of a child between birth and 8 year old. These are foundational years. During those years, no doubt, Jochebed taught her son Moses. Before he was adopted into as a Pharaoh grandson, before she took him to Pharaoh's palace, she told him about his ancestors. No doubt she told him about Abraham and the covenant that God made with Abraham, and then with his son Isaac, and then with his grandson, Jacob, and then how all of this unfolded, how the history of the family unfolded. No doubt she told him about Joseph's faithfulness in a time when everybody was compromising.
In a time when it's so easy to compromise, he stayed faithful. He stayed true. He didn't have a Bible. He didn't have the commandments, but he knew the heart of God is sexual purity, and so he refused to commit adultery with Potiphar's wife. No doubt she told him the story of how faithful Joseph was, and no doubt she told him about God's plan to deliver his people because that's the promise he made to Abraham 300 years earlier, which was fulfilled in 400 years, just like God said to Abraham. Pagan Egyptian mothers, as I told you, listen carefully, pagan Egyptian mothers were offering their children as a sacrifice to the crocodile gods of the Nile to appease the Nile gods, but Jochebed protected her son. Can I get a witness?
In fact, Pharaoh probably thought, when he issued that edict, that he's gonna kill two birds with one stone. You know what I'm talking about? He says, "Well, I can appease the Nile gods by throwing the baby in there. At the same time, I can cull the population of the Hebrews and eliminate them". And so, it backfired. Hear me right. Pharaoh and Egypt in the Bible are always presented as a symbol of Satan and the symbol of ungodly philosophy, and this ungodly world system, always been symbolized, ungodly system of this world. But I thank God for godly mothers. Godly mothers do not do this. Godly mothers who forever are vigilant to protect their children from the ungodly influence of the culture.
I thank God for godly moms who are forever weaving baskets of the Word of God to cradle their children, I thank God for godly mothers who forever guarding the hearts and the minds of their children. I thank God for godly mothers who are protecting their children from the sleaze that is found in the rivers of this society. I thank God for godly moms who are forever guiding and guarding and watching over their children as they get into the rough waters of some of the godless school and the godless education system.
I thank God for the all the godly Jochebeds who are here in this place who are forever protecting their children from the crocodiles of drugs and the crocodiles of sexual immorality and the crocodiles of secular humanism and the crocodiles of doubting the Word of God and the crocodiles of godless friends and the crocodiles of the so-called "tolerance of sin" and the crocodiles that want to devour our moral compass in our children. I thank God for you. I thank God for you. Jochebed have everything working against her.
Listen carefully, the culture was working against her. The law, the law of the land was working against her. The government was working against her. The whole system was basically rigged. The whole system was working against her, but she did not only protect her son, she prepared her son. For nearly eight years, she prepared him for Pharaoh's pagan palace. For nearly eight years, she prepared him for Pharaoh's pagan influence. She prepared him for release into the protection of the hand of God. God's plan for our children is beyond us, and that is why, after all that is done, we need to hand them to the hand of God.
God's plan for our children is for them to be salt and light in the world. God's plan for our children is for them to be ambassadors of Jesus Christ on their own. Had Jochebed not prepared to release Moses into Pharaoh's court, the course of history would have been different. Now, I understand, of course, this is a hypothetical. God could've done whatever he could've done, but I always think, "What if? What if"? Two million Jews would have still never been delivered from their slavery. One to two million Jews would still be in slavery today, or probably would have increased in number. But it was God's plan to deliver them through Moses, but with the cooperation of Jochebed. And we give Moses all the credit, but I can tell you, Jochebed gets most of the credit.
My question for you is this: Are you cooperating with God's plan? Whether young, old, it doesn't matter, whether boy, girl, young men, young women, older men, older women. Are you cooperating with God's plan, or are you digging your heels and your song is, "We Shall Not Be Moved"? God wants you to cooperate with his plan. Because I'll tell you, if I know anything about God in my life, he will drag you kicking and screaming. He's gonna get his man. He's gonna get his woman. So, might as well cooperate with God, amen?
Beloved, had God the Father not given up God the Son, you and I would never have experienced salvation, forgiveness of sins, joy and peace in this world, and eternal life with him. If it was not for Jesus's willingness to lay down his life, we would never have been delivered from the slavery of sin.
Let me tell you this as I conclude. Every one of us have a mother for whom we are grateful. All you need to do is you look at the cameras that are on the sideline of football or whatever, and these big giant players, when they look at the camera, they say, "Hi, Mom". They never say, "Hi, Dad," you know? Just say, "Hi, Mom". We're all grateful for our moms. Those who are alive, thank God. And those of us who know that their moms are in the throne room of God rejoicing and celebrating. Either way, the most important part, and that's what I want to leave you with, is that you ask yourself. No one can say, "Oh, that's for somebody else".
It's for you, every one of you who are here, every one of you watching around the world. Ask yourself the following questions: What are you doing in carrying your mother's legacy? What are you doing in carrying your mother's legacy? What are you doing for God to perpetuate your mother's legacy? What are you doing for God to impact the world for Christ? Moses fulfilled his mother's mission, and that her risking of her own life was not in vain. What about you? What about you? Are you fulfilling that mission?