What If You Only Had Five Years?

by Kathryn Day

What if you knew you only had the first five years of your child’s life to spend with him or her? And what if, after those first five years, you would be required to send your child to live in a beautiful palace, full of material blessings that you would never be able to provide on your own, but a palace where God wasn’t worshiped? If you only had the first five years of your child’s life to spend with him or her, how would you spend it? And what would you spend most of your time talking about? What books would you want to be sure you read to them? What places would you want to be sure you took them?

Not many parents today have to ask themselves questions like these because, Lord willing, we will have our children in our homes for much longer than five years. But Amram and Jochebed, the parents of Moses, were faced with these questions and many more. After he was rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses was returned to his mother and father for the early years of his life, but it was a known fact that he would one day have to return to Pharaoh’s palace (probably around the age of five) and live the life of an Egyptian son. His life as an Egyptian would have been much more privileged than his life as a Hebrew. His life as an Egyptian would have given him everything he ever wanted and more. But his life as an Egyptian would not have included a home where the one, true God was worshiped.

Amram and Jochebed have recently become two of my heroes. They faithfully faced the hard providence God gave them of giving up their young son to the Egyptians by spending the years they were given teaching Moses and training him in the ways of Yahweh – the covenant keeping, one, true God. I imagine they didn’t worry so much about whether or not he learned to tie his sandals but whether he learned he was a sinner in need of a saving God. And they probably were more concerned that he learn what worship of the true God looked like rather than how to play the popular Hebrew sports of the day. Amram and Jochebed faced a daunting task – pouring into their son as much truth about God as possible in just a limited amount of time. After a few years, their opportunity to speak about the Lord, teach Moses about the condition of his heart, and point him to truth would be gone. After a few years, he would be living “the good life” in the Egyptian palace…surrounded by hundreds of idols.

In Hebrews 11:24-28, God graciously reminds us of His blessing on the teaching and training of Amram and Jochebed in the life of their son. Moses remembered what he had learned from his parents. He grew up to treasure Yahweh instead of the false gods of the Egyptians. And “he regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” What Moses learned about God from his parents in the first few years of his life were the foundations God used for Moses’ LIFE of faith.

Be encouraged – God delights in blessing our efforts as parents as we teach our children more about Him. But we also need to ask ourselves the question, “Are we using the time God has given us with our children to pour as much of Him and His Word into them as we possibly can?”