The Hebrew word for basket in v.3 only comes in one other place in the Bible – it is the same word as is used for Noah’s ark in Genesis 6-9. So baby Moses had his own little ark, in which he floated in a situation of both danger and safety – a bit like all those animals, centuries earlier.
Both danger and safety. For Noah, being on dry land would only have seemed safe until the rains got going, but being in that boat, pitching about with all those animals for company, must have felt pretty dangerous. For Moses, being in his parents’ house was dangerous, but floating on the edge of the Nile where a random Egyptian could discover you was dangerous too.
From a spiritual perspective, ‘safety’ is a tricky thing. ‘If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall’, Paul says (1 Corinthians 10:12). Feeling safe is dangerous. In fact there is only one safe place to be, and that’s in God’s hands. There is only one safe path, and that’s the narrow path of God’s will.
I hereby predict that there will be times in the months ahead when things connected with the building project don’t go as smoothly as we would like, and when we will wonder whether we shouldn’t perhaps have stayed in Sussex Road after all (that smell of damp in the crèche room wasn’t so bad, was it?).
The Israelites had those sort of feelings quite a few times during the Exodus – and God tended not to show them a lot of sympathy. He knows that the ground which we have come to know and trust is actually not nearly as safe as the wobbly, sickness-inducing motion of the ark/basket.