Lessons from Jochebed on How to Balance the Risks and Rewards involved in Making Our Dreams a Reality

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Through studying Shiphrah and Puah last week, we found out that the Pharaoh reigning at the time of Moses' birth gave a command that all Hebrew sons be killed at birth. This is because he was afraid that the Hebrews' great number and might would mean that they would one day "join [Egypt's] enemies and fight against them" in the event of war (Exodus 1:9-10). However, these two midwives did not do as Pharaoh said and "saved the male children alive" because they "feared God" (Exodus 1:15-17).

As a result of Shiphrah and Puah's brave act of civil disobedience, Moses' mother was able to keep him. Scriptures such as Exodus 6:20 and Numbers 26:59 let us know that she was called Jochebed, although in Exodus 2:1-11 (which is the scripture that we will be delving into today) she remains nameless. According to this passage:

"...when she saw that [Moses] 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 bank. And his sister (Miriam) stood afar off, to know what would be done to him" (Exodus 2:2-4).

To cut a long story short, God had it so that the person that discovered Moses was Pharaoh's daughter. However, although she realised that he was a Hebrew child, Exodus 2:6 says that "she had compassion on him". I think that it was because of this that Miriam was bold enough to approach her and ask if she should go and call a Hebrew woman to nurse him for her. But there are two things that are especially remarkable to me:

  1. The fact that Pharaoh's daughter was willing to go against her father's orders by giving Miriam permission to find Moses a nurse, thereby preserving his life even further (Exodus 2:7-8)
  2. The woman that Miriam called was Jochebed and, not only did the Pharaoh's daughter give her permission to nurse him, she paid her to do so until he was old enough to be weaned and brought back to the palace- making Pharaoh's daughter Moses' adopted mother (Exodus 2: 8-10)

Point number 1 I will discuss in another devotional, especially about Pharaoh's daughter, soon. Point number 2, on the other hand, reminds me of a concept that I like to call "balancing the risk and the reward".

There is an adage that says "fortune favours the bold," which basically means that most big wins come with a certain amount of risk. We've seen this with many of the Biblical women that we have explored thus far. For example:

  • Achsah, who was audacious enough to not only ask for land for her dowry but water to irrigate the land as well
  • Jael, who was willing to put her life in danger to help the children of Isreal win a war
  • The Woman with the Issue of Blood, who was willing to be unorthodox and upset the status quo to get what she wanted (her healing)
  • Rebekah, who used the opportunities afforded her to ensure that God's promises to her came to pass

And Jochebed illustrates this same principle. She went from living in fear having to hide Moses' very existence because of Pharaoh's decree to being able to nurse him, watch him grow and become a man with Pharaoh's daughter's blessing! But she never would have experienced such good fortune if she wasn't willing to take the risk of leaving him by the river bank.

Think about it, she had no real guarantee that leaving Moses by the river bank would save his life. In fact, it could have gone in quite the opposite direction with whoever found him fulfilling Pharaoh's decree where she and the midwives hadn't. But when she weighed (or balanced) it up, the small chance that her son might have the chance to live (the reward) was greater than the risk of it all.

Through Jochebed (and all the other ladies mentioned above) we see that, more often than not, our desires come with both risks and rewards. I believe that this is what stops most people from chasing their dreams or making big decisions- they're so paralysed by the fear that the worst case scenario could happen that they get completely turned off from the possibility of the best case scenario.

Does that sound familiar, lovely? Well here are 6 things that Jochobed shows us about how to handle the risks and rewards of a given situation:

  1. Balance the risks and rewards: Consider the pros and cons of taking a particular decision in order to be fully informed of the best and worst case scenario before you act. For example, the thriving business that you want may require you to invest. The risk here is that money could be lost but the financial rewards of doing so could be exceedingly; abundantly above even what was seen in your mind's eye. Or you may want a godly relationship but that may require you to have to be uncompromising in some areas with the risk of the person you're currently with either choosing to walk away or rise to your standards
  2. Ask yourself, do the potential rewards outweigh the risks: In other words, is the potential win worth the gamble in your particular situation? Will you be able to live with yourself and the consequences in the worst case scenario? For Jochebed, the answer was yes which is why she took the action that she did
  3. Don't put all your eggs in one basket: As much as Jochebed literally left Moses by the river bank in a basket, he was never alone. Miriam was watching him, meaning that his survival wasn't purely left to luck and chance as she was able to intervene and really secure his safety when the opportunity arose. Likewise, we need to make sure that if possible we have some sort of safety net in place when we take our risks
  4. Be willing to collaborate: Not only was Jochebed willing to use Miriam as a safety net, she was willing to let the Pharaoh's daughter adopt her son if it meant that she achieved her end goal- saving her son's life. When it comes to the manifestation of our goals and dreams we must also be willing to collaborate with other people- whether that means building a team to lighten our load, seeking a mentor, joining a mastermind or hiring the right professionals- if that will further our cause(s).
  5. Seek and obtain permission: Jochebed didn't take Moses home and nurse him of her own volition once he was found. She did so with the permission of Pharaoh's daughter and her authority backing her. Like Jochebed, we must also make sure that our decisions are backed by the ultimate authority- God. That means seeking His face in prayer and taking His direction before we so much as move to take any risks
  6. Believe, trust and have faith: If God does direct you to take the risk involved in seeing your wishes come to pass, believe, trust and have faith in Him the way that Jochebed did Pharaoh's daughter. No matter the risk, if He says that He will do it, He will be your life line just like she was to Moses

So what about you, lovely? As scary as it can be, your breakthrough lies on the over side of risk. There's just no getting around that! But, when you weigh it up, will the reward be greater than any risk involved? Is there any way that you can lower the risk by giving yourself a safety net of some sort? Who can you collaborate with to ensure the success of your endeavours? Seek God's face in prayer every step of the way for as one of my favourtite scriptures (Proverbs 3:5-6) says, if you trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding and acknowledge Him in all your ways- He will direct your path.