3 Principles for Putting Your Baby in the Basket

Aug 23, 2017 | Faith

“When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in the reeds along the bank of the Nile.” Exodus 2:3

It was time for Jochebed to remove baby Moses from her home. Otherwise, he would be killed.

She did all she knew to prepare him.

She took reeds and formed a basket. She coated it with tar and pitch, making sure every crack and seam was tightly protected from water seeping in. Then, when there was nothing else she could do, she placed him in the basket, laid it in the reeds, and took her hands off and stepped away, knowing God was in control.

Does that process sound familiar? Is there something or someone you’ve been preparing, and now it’s time to let go? Are you sending a child to preschool, high school or college? Are you struggling to take your hands off your adult children as you see them make bad choices? Have you poured your heart into a project, situation, or relationship and don’t know how it’s going to turn out?

Moses’ mother wasn’t different from me or you. Every one of us has similar fears and struggles when taking our hands off of things we need to release to God.

There are three truths about letting go we can learn from Jochebed in this short verse.

1. There’s a time to let go. The time for Jochebed was when Moses was only 3 months old! Yet, God knew this situation before Moses’ conception. He also knew the plans he had for Moses.

Whether it’s your child, a situation, a hope, or a dream, God usually asks you to let go of that person, situation, or object before you’re ready. Letting go doesn’t mean you’re removing the situation or person from your life (unless God’s asking you), it means you’re releasing control of the person or situation to God. There’s a time to hold on. And there’s a time to let go.

2. Obedient preparation is your responsibility. Jochebed had to gather those reeds. Weave them together. Get the tar hot. Put it on the basket, and seal every crack. I’m sure she went over it again and again until she realized she did all she could to make the basket safe.

She was faithful to do what she could given the resources. You and I need to do the same. Whether it’s a relationship, a job change, or preparing a child for a hard situation, God asks us to prepare to the best of our ability. Then, we have to let go.

When my son got married this summer, I wondered if I had done all I could to prepare him for marriage. I realized I hadn’t counseled him on marriage because his dad and I were busy raising him to be a responsible man whose heart was tender and turned towards God.

Then, I realized I had done what I could to prepare him to be a godly man, including his role as a husband. I pointed him towards Scripture as the source for life’s instructions. I hopefully modeled respect for his dad and trained him how to take care of himself instead of expecting me or another woman to pick up after him. We taught his fiscal responsibility and how to work hard. I often talked to him about being a servant leader.

I had done what I could to the best of my ability.

Giving him one big final lecture before his wedding would have been completely awkward (so I wrote a blog post instead). I had to trust I had been responsible with the task God had given me all along.

The same is true for anything God’s asking you to let go of. Medical conditions, relationships, pursuing a dream. There comes a time when we smooth that last bit of tar on the outside of our situation and say, “I’ve done all I can. Now it’s time to let go.”

3. Trusting God is the only way you do it. Jochebed released control of the deadly situation to God. She had to have faith that God would provide for her baby in the river filled with crocodiles. She had to be certain of what she hoped for and sure of what she could not see (Hebrews 11:1).

Hebrews 11:6 says without faith you can’t please God. Obedience pleases God, but obedient faith is where He works. God was already working, though Jocebed couldn’t see what was going on (for the compete story, read the rest of Exodus 2). In these moments, she had to trust. She had to have faith. And so do you.

Whether you’re releasing a child to a new school year, letting go of a situation out of your control, you can depend on God to provide. He’s in control. But He can’t work if you refuse to put the hope, dream, person, or situation in the water. Lay it down. Let it go.

And see what God does.

How can I pray for you as you put your baby in the basket? I’d love to hear from you.


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  1. Glenys Nellist

    Beautiful post Brenda! I remember suffering four agonizing years of worry before I finally put my 21 year-old son in that basket, (I could almost see his long legs dangling over the edge) and stepped back. God saved him, just like he saved Moses.

    • Brenda L. Yoder

      Oh Glenys! What a beautiful testimony! Thank you for sharing because all parents need this. And may God continue to work in the life of your son, your family, and continued healing!

  2. Debi

    My only son who Will soon be 23 this month has officially moved to his new place in Chicago tonight. His own place. As we packed up his belongings weeks before I kept moving forward knowing it is his time. Tonight symbolizes so much for me as I am quite aware of releasing him to be the man not the boy to live and somehow it is all okay

    • Brenda L. Yoder

      Debi, I understand that pain and everything wraps inside of it. So much loss, believe, grief, and uncertainty. You’ve done well, mama. Let God carry you. Every step of the way.

  3. Lacy Hensley

    My baby boy is in Kindergarten this year. It’s been a week and a day since he started, and I have struggled with doubt, did I do everything I needed to or should have before this journey began!? I have been attacked and doubting myself. I have 4 little guys and know I have a huge responsibility to raise Godly men. I loved reading this post, and am in tears as I reply now. Please pray for this tired Momma! Letting go is so hard, but knowing Who you’ve released them to is comforting! They were dedicated to God and I know He has great things in store for each of them! I’m so happy Jen shared your blog post with us MOPS mommas!

    • Brenda L. Yoder


      Thanks for sharing this! As a mom of three boys, I feel your burden. But it is possible as you are grounded in Christ. Each step along the process is not any easier (I wish I could say it would be!), but as you trust God more, it gets easier. Thanks so much for sharing this, and praying for your peace, as God gave Jochebed!

    • Sandy blilie

      While not one of the scenarios you mentioned I am in the heart-sick position of looking for a care facility for my mom who suffers from Lewy body dementia.
      It is ruining her brain and body and the connection between the two.
      I don’t want to do this. Your words helped give me a word picture for all the research of places as “gathering the reeds and preparing the basket.”
      I am doing what I can do. My dad andd sister and I will choose as best we know how. We may have to make adjustments along the way. We may not like everything or anything about the situation. We may be limited by openings and finances. We will do what we can do. God knew we would be in this position at this time in mom’s life. He loves her and cares for her as Heavenly Father. The letting go is ripping our hearts. We know He is with her always.
      Thanks for your timely words.

      • Brenda L. Yoder

        Oh, Sandy, I take these words in as I have watched a caretaker of someone with that same disease. Your explanation of how this situation takes many forms reminds us almost all situations require this preparation and yet release. May God grant you His peace as you and your family have faithfully done the best you can with the knowledge and resources at your disposal. Blessings to you as you walk each step.

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