An Allegory of Consecration

The Mother of Moses

"At which season Moses was born, and was exceeding fair; and he was nourished three months in his father’s house. And when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son."—Acts 7:20, 21 ASV

Benjamin Barton

The people of Israel had been slaves in the land of Egypt. Notwithstanding their bondage God had blessed them. He multiplied their number to the point where Pharaoh and his counselors began to realize there was danger. So Pharaoh determined to diminish the Israelite population. He issued an edict that every male child should be put to death as soon as it was born. No doubt he intended to keep that in effect until the number of Israelites was reduced to where they would be no serious source of danger to the people of Egypt. It was at that time and under that edict, that Moses was born.

Born Under a Curse

When Moses was born a curse of death was over him. The edict of Pharaoh had gone forth, and it was only a question of time until this mother was going to lose her child.

We were all in a similar position. The curse of death hung over everything that we had. It was only a question of time before we were going to lose it all—our health, our hearing, our sight, our reason, our loved ones, our homes, or our desired possessions. We knew that when we died we would lose it all. We did not know how much sooner we might lose some of those things.

According to the Exodus account (2:1-10), the mother of Moses was determined that even though she might lose, she was going to hold on to her child as long as she could, and she hid him three months. She was not going to surrender him sooner than absolutely necessary.

We determined the same thing; although we were going to lose our life, we would not do it any sooner than we had to. We were going to hold on to our money as long as possible. We would hold on to our sight, our health, our hearing as long as we could. We determined, like the mother of Moses, to hold on to all we reckoned precious as long as possible.

However, the thought that she was going to lose her child must have produced a great deal of mental agony. Day after day the thought must have pressed upon her heart, possibly this will be the last day I will have my little one; possibly today he will be discovered and put to death. On hot days she may have kept her doors and windows closed, almost suffocating herself, for fear someone might hear the child cry and, being discovered, his life might be taken. She must have been almost frantic sometimes when she heard a step outside, for fear it was a soldier coming to search the house and, finding the child, cast his sword through it.

This, too, was our position. We knew it was only a question of time before we would lose the things we valued. What sorrow it produced in our hearts! What peace it robbed us of! How often we thought that a sickness of our child might be fatal. Possibly, we thought, I might lose my life, or my strength, or my health. How anxiously we thought of the possibility of losing our money, or having our home burn down. What mental anguish this produced!

Cast On the Water

The mother of Moses, after determining to hold on to her child as long as she could, in due time changed her mind. She made him an ark of bulrushes and laid the child in the flags by the river. She might have held on to him a little longer, perhaps hiding him three months more. But she did not wait until the child was actually taken away from her. She willingly gave that child up, laying him in the ark of bulrushes among the flags. That is what we also did before we actually lost our lives. We laid the things of this life in the ark in the midst of the flags; we laid them upon the altar of sacrifice. Like the mother of Moses, we might have held on to these things a while longer; but we did not wait until all was actually removed. We surrendered them, offering them in consecration to our God. When that mother gave her child up, she did not know what the consequences were really going to be. She did not know whether she would ever get the child back, but she was willing to run the risk, whatever that was.

So when we consecrate our all to our Lord’s service, when we lay our "Moses" in the ark of bulrushes, we do not know exactly what it is going to mean. We take a leap in the dark. I know when I consecrated my life to the Lord, I did not understand all that it implied; I simply knew it meant a surrender of everything to the Father’s will. What was included in "everything" I did not know in detail. Just how it would affect my future life, my influence, my worldly prospects, or imperil my earthly friendships and ambitions, I did not know.

A Royal Possession

When the mother of Moses gave the child up, she got him right back again. He was restored to her right away. So it is with us. When we consecrated ourselves to the Lord, we gave it all to him, but we have it yet. We gave him our hands and feet, our sight and hearing, our mind, our tongues and lips—but we have them yet.

However, when the mother of Moses got her child back, he was not her own any longer. He was now royal property. So, after our consecration, our lives are not ours any longer, they are a royal possession, the property of the great King of kings and Lord of lords. Just as the mother of Moses from that day onward could look at the child and say, "This child was mine once, but he is not mine now; this child now belongs to Pharaoh’s daughter; he belongs to the royal family, and I am merely a stewardess, I am merely entrusted with him" so with us. We now say, "There was a time when these hands used to be mine, but now they belong to the King; there was a time when this money was mine, a time when these feet were mine, a time when my mind, my sight, my hearing, my tongue, were mine but now these all belong to him." We have given them all to the king and we are merely a steward entrusted with these things.

After Moses’ mother became his stewardess she no longer could have her own way with the child but had to get her orders every day from the palace. She used to determine how the child would be clothed, what it should be fed, and how it should be cared for when it was sick. Now it was different. Orders from the palace told her how to clothe the child and how he should be cared for, and it was her duty to obey the royal orders.

So it is with us. Having consecrated our all to the Lord’s service, we now get our orders from the palace. Day after day the great King gives us orders, telling us how to live; what we should do; where our feet should go; what our tongue and lips shall say. He gives orders what the mind shall think and how we should use our money, and even on how to use our time. Like Moses’ mother, we must day after day obey the orders that come from the palace.

A Higher Wisdom

Not only did the mother of Moses now get her orders as to what should be done with the child, but additionally those orders contained a degree of wisdom far beyond any wisdom she had herself. Under ordinary circumstances if that child had taken sick the mother would just have had to guess at what would have been best. Slaves in Egypt could not afford physicians. But now, when that child was sick, orders came from the palace as to what should be done and those orders were dictated at the suggestion of some of the ablest physicians in the land of Egypt.

We, too, recognize that having consecrated our lives, our orders come from the great King. How much more wisdom there is in the orders that come from the palace of the heavenly King than we could ever possess ourselves. It seems so wonderful that the God who made the universe is the God who directs our course! We have lived for a few years; he has lived for countless, endless years. We have never done anything really big; he has built suns and moons and stars. We have never done anything great. We cannot even properly sharpen a lead pencil. After we sharpen it, if we put it under a microscope, it looks like the end of a broomstick. But God knows how to sharpen—look at thorns, they are pointed; put them under a microscope and they are pointed still. What does this mean? It means we have no confidence in ourselves. We are afraid to direct our own course. We will make mistakes. If we could only find some being qualified to tell us what to do; even though he should tell us the very thing that was contrary to our best judgment, we would do what he said because we cannot trust our own judgment. That is what our Father is doing. In his word he has given us instructions.

When the mother of Moses got orders from the palace, she received, along with the orders, the means to carry them out. Perhaps she received orders to clothe the child in silk. She could never have afforded material like that. But when the orders came, there came also the material with which to clothe the child, or at least the money to purchase the material.

The same is true with us. The Lord never gives us any orders without making it possible for those orders to be carried out. If the Lord ever seems to suggest that you do a certain thing and you find it impossible and that the means for its accomplishment are beyond your reach, you can be sure you have misunderstood the Lord’s will. The Lord never gave unreasonable instructions to any of his children.

Royal Protection

That mother, before putting her child in the bulrushes, must sometimes have been almost frantic thinking this may be the last day she would have her child. Think what she must have suffered and gone through! Now it was different because the protection of Pharaoh was around the child. Now she could throw doors and windows open and not care about how much the child cried. If a soldier would step in the door she could say, "Don’t you put your hands on him, he is the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter!" What a change it made! The child was under royal protection.

We, too, after putting our "Moses" in the ark of bulrushes and surrendering all to the Lord, are under royal protection—divine protection. Our health, our life, our sight, our hearing, our reasoning, our loved ones, our money—all under divine protection. There is divine protection now around all the consecrated children of God that was not there before. If we have consecrated all to the Lord, it is all the Lord’s; and the Lord is not going to ignore one thing we have committed to him.

We are not to get the thought from this that we will never lose our money, or our health, or that our loved ones will never die. If you are a consecrated child of God, your loved ones will die, you will lose your money just as much as other people lose their money, but with the world these are accidents. If you are a consecrated child of God, it will be no accident if your child dies—not that God has called your child to die but that the King would not allow your child to die if it were not for the best interests of you and your family. He may allow trying experiences but they will not be accidents, they will be providential. The Lord may allow you to lose your money or permit your house to burn down but not unless he sees it an experience that will be best for you.

From the outward standpoint the child of God does not seem to have any advantage over the man of the world. A child of God seems to have as much adversity and his life seems to run on accidental lines just as much as the man of the world. But, with the eye of faith, it is different. God is behind the life of the consecrated one. The Lord does not guarantee that those who put themselves under his care will be free from trials; he simply guarantees that all the affairs of life will work together for good to them that love him and are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).

Paid Motherhood

Notice what the daughter of Pharaoh said to the mother of Moses, "Take this child away and nurse it for me, and I will pay thee thy wages." It seems to me that she must have been the only mother ever to receive wages for nursing her own child. No doubt she would have been willing to do it without wages, but now she was going to get paid for doing it, paid for having her child under royal protection. She was paid wages to allow her child to be better clothed. She was paid wages to allow the most expert physicians in the land to minister to him if he was sick. She was paid wages to have her fears lifted off her heart so that she might be happy. Was anyone ever paid wages for such as this mother was paid?

It is the same with us. Having laid our all on the altar of sacrifice, the Lord pays us wages. For what? For having better hopes than anyone else; for entertaining the joy and peace that the world can neither give nor take away; for listening to things that bring greater happiness to our hearts than anything else couldbring. What are these wages? These wages do not refer to the blessings beyond the vail; the wages have reference to what we are getting today. The scripture says, "He that reapeth receiveth wages and gathereth fruit unto life eternal" (John 4:36). The wages are something we receive here and now.

One particular law God gave the people of Israel was that if they employed a man to work for them, they should not hold his wages back until the next morning but must pay him every day before the sun went down. They could not pay weekly as we do today. Why was the Lord so particular about this? He wanted to show in a typical picture that he does not make us wait until the resurrection morning for our wages.

But what are these wages? The wages are the full equivalent for the services rendered. The wonderful truths he is showing us are part of our wages. The Apostle Paul counted all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord (Phil. 3:8). That excellent knowledge alone was full wages, a full equivalent for all it cost the Apostle in service to the Master.

Sometimes it seems as though the Lord gives me some little service for him, and I barely start doing it when he comes around and pays me my wages. Sometimes it seems as though about fifteen minutes later he pays them over again. And sometimes in a few minutes he pays me a third time. I cannot tell you how often the Lord pays me those wages. It shows how the Lord keeps his word. He never does less than he promises and he never does merely what he promises; he always does more than he promises.

We recalled at the dinner table how the Lord promised on one occasion, "your bread and water shall be sure" (Isa. 33:16). On that table we saw a piece of bread and a pitcher of water. He gave bread and water as he promised. Then we looked and there was butter to put on the bread, and some jelly. He threw these in extra. Then there was some roast beef, and some potatoes, and some beets. And then there was some cake and coffee. He threw that in extra. He said, "bread and water," but he meant bread and water and butter and jelly and roast beef and potatoes and beets and beans and cake and coffee. That is the way God keeps his promises.

More to Follow

We can rejoice in the wages the Lord is paying us day by day, but think of what remains! Think of the glory and the honor and the immortality the Lord has for us beyond the vail. When we think of the present blessings, even though they are mixed with more or less of trials, and when we think of future blessings which are not mixed with trial, then all the things of this world should pale into insignificance. May the result be to energize and quicken us to a faithfulness that will surmount every obstacle in our pathway and enable us to at last come off conquerors and "… more than conquerors through him that loved us" (Rom. 8:37).

But remember that in the land of Egypt there were a great many Israelitish mothers who did not put their children in an ark of bulrushes. There was only one mother that did that; the other mothers were still going around with heavy hearts. They were still trembling at the thought of losing their loved ones. Only one mother really made that surrender and received that blessing. So there are in the world many classes, and these classes are still heavy at heart, still going around with sorrowful spirits because they know not what some of us know. Yet there is one class making use of the privilege of putting their "Moses" in the ark of bulrushes. How thankful we are for all the blessings that are brought to us! We realize that there are still more blessings beyond as we journey the balance of the distance in the narrow way. And then the best things of all will come in that future time.

Condensed from "Lessons from the Life of Moses, Servant of God" from the book Pilgrim Echoes, pp. 245-259. This book is available from the Portland Area Bible Students, P.O. Box 23232, Tigard, Oregon 97223; cost, $7.

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