Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Exodus 1:18, 20-21 NASB

"So God was good to the midwives, and the [children of Israel] multiplied and became very mighty (or numerous).  And it came about because the midwives feared (revered) God that He established households for them." 

Though we don't live by a religion that has to appease God, there are some things that get His attention every time.  And there's nothing like the attention of God!  As "the sons of Israel," as promised by God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, "increased (lit., swarmed) greatly, and multiplied, and became exceedingly mighty (or numerous), so that the land was filled with them," (Exodus 1:7), the ruler of Egypt began to worry that they could cause Egypt trouble.  In his paranoia, he began to afflict them with hard labor, "but the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread out," (1:12).  So the king of Egypt intensified their suffering, making "their lives bitter with hard labor in mortar and bricks and all kinds of labor in the field, all their labors which they rigorously imposed on them," (1:14).  And if that wasn't enough, in a desperate attempt to cut the strength of Israel down, he tried to employ some Hebrew midwives to kill the baby boys as they were born to the Hebrew women.  This, he figured, would demoralize and depopulate the people at the same time.  But in this madness, he didn't figure on the likes of a couple of midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah, and the other was named Purah, whom the writer says "feared (revered) God,and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live..."  All it takes is just a few people who have the courage to do what is right and it can mess Satan's schemes up real quick.  In his madness, he doesn't count on this kind of courage, but this has been the undoing of many of his plans down through the years.  These are a people whose sense of right isn't determined by the surrounding culture and conflicts but by God alone.  They don't make decisions based on the fear of man.  They make decisions based on the reality of God.  This, and this alone, is their guiding compass, and God knows them well.  And thus the writer notes:  "So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied and became very mighty (or numerous).  And it came about because the midwives feared (revered) God that He established households for them."  However God chooses to express it, there is nothing greater than His attention and affection.  When you live under this umbrella, you have made a place of strength for your whole "household".  And we need this stronghold because Satan doesn't quit. Through the "Pharaoh's" of this world, he will look for other ways to destroy God's people:  "Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, 'Every son who is born you are to cast into the Nile, and every daughter you are to keep alive,'" (1:22).  And this is where the story of God really gets interesting.  This is the story of Exodus!  So read on and learn His ways.  You'll soon discover this great truth about God:  He knows Satan's schemes, and, like a Master Chess Player, He can take Satan's evil intents and outmaneuver him every time, by using even the evil to work against him, for His glory and our good.  You'll want to stick with a God like this because He never loses!

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