Matins Devotions: March 27, 2023
Pharaoh had just ordered the slaughter of all male Hebrew children by casting them into the waters of the Nile River in order to drown them. Yet Moses’ mother defies this wicked tyrant by placing her newborn son into a waterproof basket where Moses would be protected from both the murderous schemes of Pharaoh and from certain death in the waters of the Nile river. Of course, you know the rest of the story.
It’s interesting to note the word that we translate as basket. The word is tēbâ. Though this is the final time that this particular word is used in the Hebrew scriptures, it’s not the first time. In fact, we see this same word all over the place in Genesis 6-8, because this word happens to be the same word we translate as “ark.” That’s right. As in Noah’s ark. Of course, you know how that story goes as well. In Noah’s tēbâ , God’s people are saved from certain death in the waters of the Great Flood. They are spared from the judgment that was made necessary because the seed of the serpent had filled the world with violence and men’s hearts with wicked schemes.
No doubt, this is why the Holy Spirit inspires Peter to identify the Church as our tēbâ. Peter is writing his letter to Christians in Rome who are suffering “fiery trials” under the cruel and violent hand of the emperor. Therefore, he reminds them of where they truly are. Not under the dominion of a wicked tyrant. But safely kept by the Lord in the tēbâ of the Church through their baptism. A promise and a sign that the schemes of the wicked will not defeat the plan and the purposes of God. A promise that God will save his people from a certain death and bring them up safely out of the waters of this world of sin.
The name Moses, we’re told, means drawn out—because eventually he is drawn out of the his ark by Pharoah’s daughter so that he can be placed back into the loving arms of his mother. Likewise, those kept safe within the ark of the Church are also called the ecclesia—the called-out ones. Like Noah, and like Moses—one day our sea-faring journey will end. Our ark will come to a place of rest. And we will be placed into the arms of Jesus.