Spirit of God, You came to us in our Baptism; explain the Word to us. Amen.
Text: Exodus 1:22–2:10
So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.” And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him. Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river. And her maidens walked along the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?” And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the maiden went and called the child’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
This story is very edifying in many ways. We see the faith and courage of Moses’ parents, God’s miraculous providence with the child’s rescue and his early education in the faith of Israel, and later in the wisdom of Egypt as well, before he was sent his great call. We see how the king’s gruesome persecution in this way becomes the salvation of God’s people, and we learn that the Christians’ heaviest cross is their best help. Our story preaches this and much more. Think of it as a whole and in its details, and it will strengthen your faith. But now we especially want to call attention to the beautiful picture of Baptism we have in this event. The death-sentence hung over Moses when he was born, and when his parents had hidden him. He was a child of wrath and death’s prey. But when his mother took him home again out of the water, he was saved, yes, when he was no longer her child, but the child of the princess, a royal prince. “Take this child away,” the princess said, “and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” And from then on she considered him her own son. If she had not adopted him as her child, then his real mother would not have been able to keep him from Pharaoh’s executioners.
When you were born, you were a child of wrath, because you were born in iniquity and in sin your mother conceived you. You were dead in trespasses and guilty of condemnation, until you were brought to the washing of water by the Word, the holy Jordan that flows through Israel. When your mother took you home again, you had become a royal child, a heavenly royal child. The Church, the Bride of Christ, yes, Christ Himself snatched you from the jaws of death and freed you from Satan’s tyranny. Your earthly parents got to take care of you, but He said: “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” For in Baptism you were rescued from death and adopted as a child of God and were given the name saved, just like Moses, which means saved. It is perfectly in order to see a picture of Baptism in Moses’ ark on the Nile, for it is a copy of Noah’s ark, in which Peter finds a sermon about the saving power of Baptism (1Pe 3:20-21).
We pray You sincerely, Lord God, heavenly Father, give us grace to believe with simple childlike faith and incline all our thoughts to Your Word. Keep us steadfast by this Word, and lead us home at last through the waters of death to Yourself in heaven. Amen.
He that believes and is baptized
Shall see the Lord’s salvation;
Baptized into the death of Christ,
He is a new creation.
Through Christ’s redemption he shall stand
Among the glorious heavenly band
Of ev’ry tribe and nation.
With one accord, O God, we pray:
Grant us Thy Holy Spirit.
Look Thou on our infirmity
Through Jesus’ blood and merit.
Grant us to grow in grace each day
By holy baptism that we may
Eternal life inherit!
Kingo: L 34 ELH 241 tr. G. A. T. Rygh;
tune: Es ist das Heil