Following Instructions

“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.” Exodus 2:3-4

Years ago, in the junior department at a camp meeting in the New York conference, I was beginning a worship talk about the interesting relationship between two ant species and I began my talk by instructing the children to, “Repeat after me.” I then said the scientific names of the two ant species pausing between each name so that the children could repeat as instructed.

The names having been clearly emphasized I continued with my talk and every one of the juniors continued repeating every word I said. I didn’t want them to continue repeating but my instructions at the beginning of the talk hadn’t been specific enough and they were so enjoying my dilemma they wouldn’t stop. Even my orders to “stop repeating” were repeated back to me.

My co-workers, other pastors that had been assigned to the division so that we could help each other, were no help at all. They just sat back with big grins on their faces and let me cope on my own.

And I did cope. I presented my talk and the juniors repeated every word. Thinking back I’ve probably never been so closely listened to, by so many people, for so long, at any other time in my life.

And technically they were just following my instructions.

Technically, Moses mother was following Pharaoh’s order when she placed him in a basket-boat, in the reeds, at the edge of the Nile river. His order had been that, “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river.” The Hebrew word translated “cast” literally means, to remove or dispose of and he did specify how the babies were to be disposed of.

It occurs to me that at times in life we too will receive instruction or orders that we believe are unjust, cruel and immoral. What ought we do?

The example of Moses mother, and other examples in scripture, is that as far as possible we’re to obey those that have authority over us.

God’s plan of protection didn’t activate for Moses until his mother had put him in the river. This act led to him being found by the Egyptian princes and the rest is both providence and history.

God’s will is that we submit as far as possible to those in authority over us and he promises that he will take care of the rest. The question is; do we trust him?

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