By Greg Steele
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Jasper
Focal Passage: Exodus 1:16-17, 22-2:9
The reason I love to hear the sound of children is because that indicates to me a growing and alive church. Dead churches don’t have young babies in the sanctuary.
The passage of Scripture we are looking at is a pretty dark situation. A nation whose moral compass has been so broken that they’re willing to grab infant boys and throw them into the Nile River.
Can you imagine what it would be like for someone who is of a different background or race than you to legally just walk up, take your son out of your hands and kill him. You could do absolutely nothing about it. You couldn’t fight back in any way or you would just pile up more violence upon you and your family.
This is the situation faced by our brothers and sisters in Egypt. It cannot get more sickening than this.
At this point in history women were looked at as just a piece of property. Women were traded for cattle, tools, weapons or anything that made the man or house stronger. Pharaoh showed his true colors by having all the baby boys killed.
The midwives whose responsibility it was to perform this terrible act basically said no. This is a ruler who has declared, “Murder babies! Murder them! ”
Don’t you think that they knew by disobeying Pharaoh, they likely signed their own death certificates? Not just their own deaths, but maybe the deaths of their families.
They’re saying, “No, no, no. The power of this God is at play. We will surrender to that power.” They were used mightily by the Lord. Never believe you’re too small. It’s the power of God at work in the smallest things that God reaps His glory and our joy.
When we know it’s not us but Him, there’s a freedom that is found. To simply give yourself over to obedience is one of the more beautiful surrenders a Christian can make. God is working behind the scenes with eternal care.
The midwives were summoned. They knew why they were being summoned. They knew what they had done. They were before Pharaoh. He asked, “Why have you done this?” They make up this really crazy story, saying the Hebrew women were strong and were having the babies so quickly they couldn’t get there in time. The Bible tells us what their motive really was and what was really going on. They feared the Lord more than they feared Pharaoh.
What we see happening in this text is not that we would become a passive people but that we’d be a people who live fearlessly in action. We engage with compassion and graciousness, because our fear is not in what man can do to us but the God we serve.
In fact, Hebrews 13:6 says, “Therefore, we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? I love that question! “What can man do to me?” Because here’s the answer: a lot! Man can do a lot to us, but nothing when we compare it to eternal glory.
This is what it means to fear the Lord, to be in awe of God rather than in awe of other things. God is at work. God uses the weak to overthrow and conquer the strong and mighty, and fear and awe when appropriately placed, leads to freedom and courage in action. B&R