Read - Exodus 1:15-21 - James 1:2-4
Message - Alan Burke
God in his providence had led his people to Egypt and he had allowed a new king to rule in Egypt. This king, pharaoh was the tool of Satan, he enslaved the people of God, made their lives bitter, filled with hard service, treating them ruthlessly didn’t have its desired effect, they continued to multiply and now pharaoh told the Hebrew midwives that if a Hebrew woman gave brith to a boy that he should be killed (14). These were days of darkness that none of us can comprehend and all of this was part of a spiritual battle that was first displayed in the garden of Eden, when Satan in the form of a serpent appeared and tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God and fall into sin.
Yet in the midst of all the hardships and the opposition that the people faced, we learn of two of the many midwives that there would have been, these two are singled out as the representative leaders of the rest. They are singled out because although they were instructed to carry out the plan of Pharoah, to dispatch the sons of the Hebrews they did not. For the simple reason that they feared God (17). Shiphrah and Puah made a stand against the most powerful man in the world, a man who had the power to kill them where they stood and they did so to defend the rights of the children then helped to deliver. For Shiphrah and Puah knew that by what ever way that they tried to justify it, what ever name they would call it, if they did what pharaoh commanded them to do they would have murdered an image bearer of God.
These midwives show that fearing God means obeying him even when it means suffering and danger. That may be not something you really want to hear today but it is the cost of being a child of God through Christ Jesus. Sooner or later, we will be forced to make a stand, whether we fear God of man. We will all face choices and we choose either one way or the other to fear God or fear man.
Here (22) Pharaoh in his anger he decreed that the to all his people: “Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” His attempts were futile, for God was at work in the midst of it all. God was faithful to his people in what they were facing, although they were oppressed and suffering God had promised that they would become a mighty nation. That is why the Lord God told Jacob not to be afraid to go to Egypt (Gen 46:3).
God by his power had led hid people into Egypt, and he would lead them out, it was only in the years that followed would his people understand what God had done in spite of their suffering, for he had made them a people in their own right (Ps 105:23-38),
Exodus begins with the stark reality of the suffering of God’s people, they are a people who as the opening verse reminds us are a people that are chosen by God, they are known by name and individually numbered, God knew and knows each one of his people, we also know that they were there by God’s divine plan, purposes and promise. God had not sent his people to Egypt as a punishment that was a result of their sin, rather God was using it to begin glory to himself, it was to glorify himself, to increase their faith, so that he would gain glory over pharaoh and his army, so that they would know that he is the Lord and greatly to be feared above all gods (Ex 14:10-15, 31).
Why God allows us to face trials and temptations, well we need to turn to the book of James, for James as he writes to God’s people, the twelve tribes of the dispersion, identifying the church of Jesus Christ as the true Israel. And what does he say… 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (Ja 1:2-4).
Q54 What is required in the third commandment?The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God’ s names, (Matt. 6:9, Deut. 28:58) titles, (Ps. 68:4) attributes, (Rev. 15:3–4) ordinances, (Mal. 1:11,14) Word, (Ps. 138:1–2) and works. (Job 36:24)
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