Exodus 1:15-22

The King of Egypt decided to deal shrewdly with the children of Israel. This meant enslaving them and afflicting them with heavy labor. The Egyptians worked the Israelites ruthlessly.

However, the scheme did not work. No matter what burdens the Egyptians laid on the Israelites, the Israelites continued to thrive, growing ever stronger and more numerous. In turn, the Egyptians’ fear of the Israelites increased. Exodus 1:12 says:
But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. (Exodus 1:12 ESV)

In this verse, it speaks of the Egyptians being in dread of the people of Israel. The Hebrew word translated dread in this context means: “to feel a loathing, abhorrence, or sickening dread.”1 The Egyptians were literally living in terror of the people of Israel. Every day, when they saw the Hebrew people laboring about them, they felt sick in the pit of their stomachs. Their fear foreshadowed the Egyptians’ destruction.

This hate, loathing and dread of God’s people is satanic. From the beginning, Satan has sought to destroy the people of God. If he could succeed in destroying God’s chosen people, he could prevent the Messiah’s birth.

Revelation 12 speaks of the dragon trying to devour the child to be born.
And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. (Revelation 12:4 ESV)

Herod killed all the children age two years and under in an effort to destroy God’s anointed. The fact that men carried out Herod’s order also points out the evil at work in our world.

The evil of Herod’s attack and Egypt’s attack is compounded by the target. Both targeted the most helpless and innocent.

Exodus 1:15-16 says:
Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, "When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live." (Exodus 1:15-16 ESV)

The plan was to kill the male babies.

The king first tries subterfuge. He calls in Shiphrah and Puah and tells them, “If it is a boy, kill it. If it is a girl, you can let it live.”

We assume these two women were not the only midwives serving the Hebrews. Rather, Shiphrah and Puah were the supervisors or administrators of whatever system was in place to assist in the birthing process. In other words, the Egyptian healthcare system was hijacked to reduce the population of the Israelites.

Infanticide probably did not begin with the Egyptians, and it continues to this day. The healthcare system worldwide is employed in population reduction.

China has a one child per family policy, so parents kill the babies they do not want, which usually means they kill the girls, so they can have a boy. Doing it in a hospital and calling it abortion, does not change what is happening. In America, we are not trying to exterminate a people group or limit the number of children per family. However, we kill our babies for a variety of reasons, and it is as satanic today as it was in ancient Egypt.

Pharaoh, king of Egypt, justified it on the grounds of national interest. National security and prosperity were at risk. We justify it in much the same way. For example, some say we should not bring unwanted children into the world.

However, let me ask a question. Should unwanted children be allowed to stay in the world? Or, should we kill all the unwanted children? The question is not whether or not the child is wanted. The question is whether or not the child can be disposed of. The baby in the womb is already in the world.

Notice with me what the Bible says about the midwives. Exodus 1:17 says:
But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. (Exodus 1:17 ESV)

Because the midwives feared God, they let the male children live. The Bible tells us the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 16:6 says:
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil. (Proverbs 16:6 ESV)

The fear of the Lord turned Shiphrah and Puah away from evil. Also, their steadfast love and faithfulness stopped the evil. Steadfast love is a translation of a Hebrew word which also can be translated “mercy.” They had mercy on the Israelites.  

Unspeakable evil is in our world. Many of you have been victims of horrible crimes. To say, “Bad stuff happens,” misses the point that evil things are done, done by people motivated by evil passions and desires. Romans 3:15-16 says:
They rush to commit murder. Destruction and misery always follow them. (Romans 3:15-16 NLT)

The Bible does not ignore or gloss over the evil in the world. We are uncomfortable with evil and the misery it brings, so we try to ignore or gloss over it. We tell the victim, “You must forgive and forget,” before we understand the depth of their injury and pain. We avoid the reality of evil because we are uncomfortable with human misery and suffering.

Exodus is about to take us deeper into the possibilities of evil. When Shiphrah and Puah did not do as Pharaoh commanded, he issued an edict. Exodus 1:22 says:
Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, "Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live." (Exodus 1:22 ESV)

Secrecy and subtlety were gone. The command of the king was “Kill every boy born to the Hebrews.” Pharaoh is now openly ordering the extermination of the Hebrews. The Israelites had no hope and were powerless.

Powerless to avoid the command of the king, Moses’ mother put him into a basket and set her baby boy in the Nile.

Imagine with me the heart of the mother as she set that basket in the water. Powerlessness, heartache, despair, guilt and even shame must have filled her that day.

The command of the king brought Israel to a place from which only divine intervention could save them.

This is a picture of redemption. Our world is in a place from which only divine intervention can save us. Before we met Jesus, each of us was in a place from which only divine intervention could save us. Sin and evil have put every human being and collectively all of humanity in a place where the only hope is God.

God raised up a deliverer for Israel, and He has raised up a deliverer for you and me.

The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death, and we are all sinners. We are all under the sentence of death. But God has delivered us through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. Dan Allender has devoted his life to helping those who have suffered childhood sexual abuse. He helps people work through the aftermath of evil. I want to let him speak to us. In his book, The Wounded Heart, he says:
True hope never minimizes a problem in order to make it more palatable and easily managed. For the Christian, hope begins by recognizing the utter hopelessness of our condition and the necessity of divine intervention, if we are to experience true joy. Any personal change that can be achieved solely through human, in contrast to supernatural, intervention will neither satisfy nor change our heart.2

Earlier, I mentioned Proverbs 16:6. Let’s go back and consider those words again.
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil. (Proverbs 16:6 ESV)

Steadfast love and faithfulness are found in the Lord Jesus. The King James Version translates this verse:
By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil. (Proverbs 16:6 KJV)

And Young’s Literal Translation says:
In kindness and truth pardoned is iniquity, And in the fear of Jehovah Turn thou aside from evil. (Proverbs 16:6 YLT)

Jesus defined kindness and truth by giving Himself in our place on the cross.

Some of us live with the same boot on our necks that the Israelites had on theirs. Satan has us in slavery to our appetites or past hurts. Jesus died and rose again to set us free. Some are in slavery and do not even realize it, because the Bible teaches that if you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are a slave to sin.

Ask Jesus to set you free, because He can and He will.

1. https://biblehub.com/hebrew/6973.htm, accessed April 3, 2019.

2. Allender, Dan B. The Wounded Heart, NavPress 1990, 1995, 2008. pg 105.


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