Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6.
Jochebed was a woman and a slave. Her lot in life was humble, her burden heavy. But through no other woman, save Mary of Nazareth, has the world received greater blessing. Knowing that her child [Moses] must soon pass beyond her care, to the guardianship of those who knew not God, she the more earnestly endeavored to link his soul with heaven.
She endeavored to imbue his mind with the fear of God and the love of truth and justice, and earnestly prayed that he might be preserved from every corrupting influence. She showed him the folly and sin of idolatry, and early taught him to bow down and pray to the living God, who alone could hear him and help him in every emergency.
She kept the boy as long as she could, but was obliged to give him up when he was about twelve years old. From his humble cabin home he was taken to the royal palace, to the daughter of Pharaoh, “and he became her son.” Yet even here he did not lose the impressions received in childhood. The lessons learned at his mother’s side could not be forgotten. They were a shield from the pride, the infidelity, and the vice that flourished amid the splendor of the court.
How far-reaching in its results was the influence of that one Hebrew woman, and she an exile and a slave! The whole future life of Moses, the great mission which he fulfilled as the leader of Israel, testifies to the importance of the work of the Christian mother. There is no other work that can equal this. To a very great extent the mother holds in her own hands the destiny of her children…. She is sowing seed that will spring up and bear fruit, either for good or for evil. She has not to paint a form of beauty upon canvas or to chisel it from marble, but to impress upon a human soul the image of the divine….
Let every mother feel that her moments are priceless; her work will be tested in the solemn day of accounts.
Conflict and Courage p.80
—–Please pray for a troubled young man. L
For the first five years of my life, my grandparents had a piano in the front room. Oh, how much I wanted to play that piano but I was not allowed to touch it. Sometimes I would sneak in when my grandmother was busy in the kitchen and try to pick out melodies. Instead of making arrangements for the lessons that I needed, my grandmother sold the piano. I’ll never forget that day. A tall, thin man with gray hair came to our house. He sat down at that old piano and played the most beautiful music I had ever heard. Enthralled, I sat on the daybed and listened intently. Oh, how I wanted to play like that. Then the man bought that piano and took it away. I was heartbroken. All hopes of my learning to play a piano was gone.
From that moment, I secretly desired to have a piano for my very own. After I went to live with my mother, I began to tell her of my desire. A few months before I was 14, my she asked me what I would like for my birthday. Of course I told her that I’d like a piano. She thought about it for a few moments and said that she would try to find a used one in the paper. One day she saw an advertisement in the newspaper for an old upright piano for $100. Telling me about it, she gave me a choice; I could either have that old upright piano or she would pay for lessons: she couldn’t afford both. It didn’t take me long to make the decision. What good would lessons be without a piano to practice on?
One April day, two months before my birthday, some movers brought the piano into our apartment. What a joyous day it was for me! After they left, I sat on the piano stool and touched the keys lightly. After all those years, I finally had a piano of my very own . I was so happy! My mother plunked an old hymn book down in front of me and said, “Your grandmother used force me to take lessons and hated every minute of it. All I can remember is where to find middle C.” She showed its location to me on the keyboard and on the music staff. Then she told me in an authoritative voice, “If you really want to learn to play, you will just have to figure the rest out.” and walked away.
Thankfully, I had listened intently to the music teachers I had had in school over the years. Some of those teachers didn’t just have us sing, but actually taught us some music theory. I drank in their words as does a man who has great thirst. Every day, as soon as I got home from school, I would sit down at the piano and painstakingly figure out the notes. Before I would realize it, four or five hours had elapsed and it was bedtime. Yet, I loved every minute of it! It was a joy to me!
Within two months I was playing songs out of the hymnal. Whenever someone would come over who knew anything about music, I gleaned whatever knowledge they were willing to share. I began to collect sheet music from various sources and had some rather difficult pieces from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s that I enjoyed playing so much. I never did become a skilled musician like the man who had bought my grandparent’s piano so long ago, but during those years when I spent so much time practicing, I played rather well—much better than I do now.
Even though I didn’t realize it then, our Great Creator was helping me to learn to play that old upright. Through His help I learned to play well enough to help wherever needed for the various churches that I have attended over the years. Some of those churches had no one to play and were very happy to have me even though I was not an accomplished musician. Using my talent, small though it is, has been my offering to God throughout the years.
Just as I had greatly desired to have a piano from the time that I realized what one was, so we should intensely desire to follow Christ Jesus our Saviour. He should be our Hope, our Joy, our Salvation, our whole focus. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 Just as those hours that I spent learning to play the piano were joyous hours for me, so thinking of Him, talking of His goodness, meditating upon His Word should bring us the greatest joy.
Studying God’s Word should bring us this same joy and gladness for our Dear Saviour bids us, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” John 5:39 From Genesis to Revelation, we can see our Dear Saviour’s love and care. As we read of God’s dealing with the patriarchs and prophets who lived so long ago, we can understand His dealing with us. As we read of their failings, we can see what He would have us avoid. Paul tells us, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Cor 10:11
The Bible is no ordinary book. Peter tells us, “prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:21 Paul adds, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Tim 3:16,17 As we read God’s Holy Word and hide it in our heart, we become changed. As we study His life, we become more like its Divine Author. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor 3:18
May we daily “study to show [ourselves] approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15 May we hide its words in our heart that we might not sin against our Great Redeemer. (Ps 119:9-11) May we, as we meditate upon it truths, become like our Dear Jesus is my prayer.
A Slave Mother