Scriptural Analysis- Exodus 2:5-6

5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.

6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.

Moses’s mother had surrendered her child to God’s mercy, committing her son to the unknown. One might think that being found an Egyptian, let alone the daughter of the very man who ordered the death of the Hebrew males, would be the worst possible outcome for that child! As we see in verse 6, the woman absolutely knew where this child came from, and it is inconceivable that she had forgotten her father’s directive. I would assume that she was able to put two-and-two together, and understood exactly why this baby had been abandoned to the river.

But then this situation took a surprising turn. She found compassion for the little boy, and I find it very endearing that the biblical record tells us why: the babe wept. I can only imagine the extreme prejudice that had been fostered in the Egyptians towards the Israelite people, the immense disdain with which they must have viewed these people who had been placed at the absolute bottom of the social ladder. Yet it would seem that all of that bigotry melted away when the daughter of Pharaoh was actually faced with a pure and innocent newborn in need.

One of the purposes for our sorrowful emotions is how they draw the kindness and compassion out of those around us. We see a person in distress and cannot help feeling moved to help them. Baby Moses’ helplessness and weakness ended up being his saving grace.

The Way That Things Are- Personal Example

I first thought of conducting this study after a recent experience with our newborn daughter in the hospital. She was still trying to get the hang of nursing, and it was a difficult task for her. She wanted to nurse, but she kept going about it the wrong way. She would bite, when she needed to suck. She would push away, when she need to pull in. She would lay idly, when she needed to work for it.

And through all this she became very frustrated. She needed nourishment, but she wanted it to come in particular ways, which ways were not in harmony with the ways of nature. At this point she had a choice. She could adapt to the way that things are, or she could try to force the world to work the way that she wanted.

Like most infants, she adapted. We are each born with a wonderful ability to recognize when we are being ineffective, and to learn from our mistakes. We feel resistance and we naturally align with the proper flow of things.

Imagine if my daughter had not done this though. What if she had thought to herself “biting, and pushing, and laying idly doesn’t give me the stream of nourishment I need…so therefore the stream of nourishment must simply not exist.” She could deny the existence of mother’s milk, she could even deny the existence of a loving mother. She could mistake the earnest efforts of that mother to correct her as being mean and punitive, refusing to meet her on her own terms.

Sadly, this sounds like a very familiar state of mind. Though we are born with the tendency to adapt and learn from our mistakes, as we get older we learn how to be more stubborn. We lean into our follies, even as they continually fail to provide us any gratification. And when our way does not work, we then deny that any right way exists at all. We claim that God must be a myth, or else He is a cruel being for not working the way that we want Him to work.

But the reality would remain what it was even so. If my daughter had chosen to deny milk, a mother, and parental love, all those elements would have existed even so. And if we choose to deny righteousness, God, and divine love, all those elements exist even so. They exist in the way that they do, and they are set in their nature. Thus it is up to us to adapt to their terms, not the other way around.

Divided from God- Doctrine and Covenants 29:40-41, Alma 42:7

Wherefore, it came to pass that the devil tempted Adam, and he partook of the forbidden fruit and transgressed the commandment, wherein he became subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation.
Wherefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the first death.

And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will.


Wherefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from my presence, because of his transgression
Our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord

We feel a separation from God and we feel frustrated by it. The first thing to understand is that this is perfectly normal, in fact our instincts are exactly correct, because we do have a very real divide from God. Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, mankind has been cut loose from the direct communion that was once our daily pleasure.
There is a direct analogy in this to a newborn having its connection to the mother, the umbilical cord, cut at birth. Of course, there yet remains a form of sustenance available to the baby through suckling, but can any of us blame that infant for mourning its sudden separation? Neither should we be blamed for mourning the very real absence of God’s direct presence. We were made to be in His presence, and now we are not and we feel that absence deep in our souls.
Like a newborn, we do learn to move on, and with the rest of this study we will examine how. But I just wanted to pause here at the start and appreciate that our perplexity is very real, and we need not be ashamed for feeling it.