Desperate Faith and God’s Faithfulness

moses4cMothers have been known to do desperate things to save their children from danger. Exodus 2:1-10 describes faith exercised in a desperate situation, but even more importantly, points you to God’s faithfulness in Christ.

Trust God, even when times are desperate. You, like the Hebrews in Egypt, live in desperate times. Pharaoh’s atrocity may not be practiced in our country against believers (at least yet), but Christians in parts of the world do face similar persecution. Pharaoh, having found that neither harsh slavery nor ordering the midwives to murder the baby boys worked, now orders that Hebrew baby boys be thrown into the Nile.

By faith Jochebed kept alive the future deliverer. Jochebed, not mentioned by name until Exodus 6, recognized something beautiful about her boy, see Exodus 2:2; Acts 7:20. Certainly Moses was not the only handsome baby born in Goshen. Nor was Jochebed the only mother to think her son was beautiful. More is going on here—she and her husband have some kind of recognition, some kind of trust, that in their son God is going to prove faithful to his people. They acted in faith. More is going on here than maternal instincts. Thus she hid the baby, then resorted to the ark. Miriam, apparently a young teenager, not only watches over her brother, but has the wisdom to speak to the princess at the right moment and suggest a Hebrew nurse for the baby. Jochebed may not have know all that her son would do, but she did know that it was wrong to kill her baby. Instead of fearing the king, she obeyed God. Trust, faith, gives you to strength to follow God boldly. Continue reading “Desperate Faith and God’s Faithfulness”

Death or Life

obeycParents teach children to obey. Children are learning to respect authority. The Fifth Commandment ties that obedience to obeying God. But there are limits to obedience to human authority. Exodus 1:11-22 gives a powerful example of when God’s people must disobey.

You live in a culture of death. Pharaoh’s plan for Israel was extermination. Ancient Egypt may seem very strange and distant—but the heart issues are very modern. Pharaoh, who did not remember Joseph, was threatened by the size of the people of Israel. Plan 1 was to put them to hard labor, building cities for the Egyptians. When that failed to control them, Plan 1a was to treat them ruthlessly. Then he instituted Plan 2: summon the midwives and command them to make sure Hebrew baby boys did not survive childbirth. As we will see, when this plan failed, the third step was to order all Hebrew baby boys to be thrown into the Nile just after birth. Imagine the anxiety and grief!

You live in a culture characterized by death. Slavery of the kind Pharaoh practiced may not be common today, but human trafficking continues, even in our nation. Our culture with its worship of self and commitment to convenience sometimes purchase that at the price of life—both of the not yet born and of those at the other end of the age spectrum. Support for abortion is a required position in some political circles. Oregon was the first, but not the last, to legalize physician assisted suicide. Our corporate ethics are not particularly higher than those of ancient Egypt. (Remember that abortion is not an unforgivable sin. And often people other than the mother bear even more responsibility. God’s mercy and grace reach there as well.) The decision the midwives made is a decision you may have to make. Continue reading “Death or Life”

A King Who Did Not Know Joseph

ayear0845ocAn exit sign is important when you need to leave a room. The Book of Exodus recounts Israel leaving their slavery in Egypt. But it is not only an exit from Egypt. It is an exit in order to worship and have fellowship with their covenant God, first in the wilderness, then in the promised land. Exodus 1:1-14 sets the stage as it describes the rise of an Egyptian king who did not know Joseph.

What do you need to know about Joseph? Joseph, ill treated by his brothers, became the savior of Israel. Exodus begins with a series of names which connect you with the end of the first book, Genesis. Stephen’s sermon in Acts 7 summarizes the treachery of the brothers which resulted in Joseph being sold as a slave into Egypt. Their terror, when they encountered him years later, as he was the ruler of Egypt, was countered by Joseph’s statement that they had intended their actions for evil, but God for good. His rise to power in Egypt brought salvation from starvation, for a famine had gripped, not just Egypt, but the surrounding area. Jacob and his sons move to Egypt kept them from being absorbed by the increasingly wicked Canaanites. Stephen reminds his audience of a betrayed, persecuted brother who brought deliverance for his people. Among the listeners was Saul of Tarsus, though it would be some time before the point of Stephen’s message sunk in. Continue reading “A King Who Did Not Know Joseph”

What a Fool Says

 

psalm_10608cWhat examples of folly come to your mind? In Psalm 14 David points to the ultimate folly.

The fool speaks. To deny God is foolish. The fool speaks in his heart. His denial of God may be vocal and theoretical. Or he may be a practical atheist, ignoring the law of God, the law which calls God’s people to live in fellowship with him, Psalm 15. Practical atheism is evident in the following verses. The heart is the deepest core of your being. What you are there will work itself out in your life. God calls atheism of either variety foolish. The use of the term “fool” is serious (see Matthew 5:22), but this Psalm uses that language to describe those who deny God. This Psalm closely resembles Psalm 53, except for its use of “God” instead of “the Lord.” You, and all mankind, deal, not with some abstract or generic god, but with, YHWH, the covenant God who is the sovereign Creator and Lord. Foolishness is moral and ethical rather than primarily lacking in intellect or judgment. “They may not plainly deny the existence of a God, but they imagine him to be shut up in heaven, and divested of his righteousness and power; and this is just to fashion an idol in the room of God.” (John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms, on Psalm 14) Continue reading “What a Fool Says”