Summary: The first sermon in a series on Exodus deals with chapters 1-2, focusing on the way God is able to work behind the scenes, in spite of human circumsatnce, and apart from human power, talent, or skills.
The Lord Hears
CHCC: March 1, 2009
Today we’re starting a series of lessons from Exodus. The books of Genesis and Exodus introduce the basics of Who God Is … and you could say that the rest of the Bible elaborates on it. In Genesis God introduces himself as the Creator. Then we see God taking the initiative to establish a relationship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
When Genesis ends, Jacob’s entire family has moved to Egypt to wait out a time of famine. Genesis ends with the death of Joseph, who … through God’s providence … had been made a Prince of Egypt.
Exodus opens with the birth of another Prince of Egypt. The birth of Moses came 360 years after the death of Joseph. 360 years is a LONG time! It’s about a hundred years longer than the USA has even been a nation! So where was God during all that time between the last verse of Genesis and the first verse of Exodus?
Looking at those 360 years when God was silent, we learn something amazing about God’s nature. Our God often does His greatest work behind the scenes.
1. Our God often does His greatest work behind the scenes
During those 360 years, the children of Israel may have felt like God had forgotten them --- especially when a new King came into power and forced them into slavery. But all the time God was quietly fulfilling His original promise to make Abraham’s descendants into a great nation. God was blessing hundreds of Hebrew families with healthy babies … LOTS of healthy babies! In fact, Exodus 1:12 says, the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread.
The original family of about 70 grew into a nation of about 2 million --- and this worried the King of Egypt. He decided it was time to enact some Population Control before this burgeoning group of immigrants took over his nation. So the King came up with a devious plot. He called some Hebrew Midwives into a secret meeting and gave them this Royal Order: “From now on, if a boy is born, kill him. … If it’s a girl, you can let her live.”
The King knew that Midwives could kill babies in a way that would make it look like a still-birth. It was the closest thing to abortion that was available in that day.
The King gave this death order to two midwives named Shiphrah and Puah. Out of the billions of people have lived on this earth, very few have their names recorded in scripture. But these two women made it into the Biblical Hall of Fame. Why? Because they refused to participate in government-sanctioned infanticide.
To see this in context, we need to understand that the god’s of Egypt … and the gods of all the other nations … had something in common. All the religious systems of those days required some form of human sacrifice to appease the gods. Child sacrifice was a common part of pagan worship.
But Verse 17 says Because the midwives feared God, they let the boys live. These Hebrew Midwives believed in a unique God … a God who valued every Human Life.
2. Our God Values Every Human Life
The God of Israel stood apart in the ancient world as the One and Only God who cares about even the most helpless little infant. Exodus 1:20 says that God rewarded these brave midwives by giving them families of their own. You see, Our God sees babies as blessings!