May 21, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, ‘Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?’ The midwives answered Pharaoh, ‘Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.’ So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: ‘Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.’”—Exodus 1:18–22 (NIV)
“That escalated quickly,” a quote from the movie Anchorman has become a familiar part of our vernacular when we’re in a situation where conflict arises. This quote comes to mind when reading these verses.
Today, we’re continuing our study through Exodus with the conclusion of this section about Israelite midwives. With great courage, they had just defied the king of Egypt’s command to kill Israelite baby boys because they feared God more than they feared the king.
God blessed the midwives for their reverence and obedience. David Guzik states, “Usually, midwives held their occupation because they had no children of their own.” But God gave them families and children, and the population of the Israelites continued to increase. You see, the people of Israel were God’s chosen people, and the schemes of man could and would never be able to stop the plans He had for them.
So the king of Egypt’s demands escalated quickly. He commanded all of his people to drown every Israelite boy in the Nile River. This is a demand for genocide. The fate of the Israelites was now in the hands of all of the Egyptians . . . or was it?
This is the violent and unstable context into which Moses was born. We’ll see in Exodus 2 that Moses’ mother hid him for three months and eventually placed him in a basket on the Nile River to save his life. The irony is that Moses was raised as an Egyptian and ended up becoming the deliverer of millions of Israelites—his own people.
The beauty in this story is that a Deliverer came for us all—Israelites and non-Israelites alike. His name is Jesus. When Jesus was born, King Herod was threatened by the birth of the new king and he ordered the genocide of boys who were two years old and younger. Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, moved his family to Egypt to escape the genocide. Later, Jesus’ family would return to Israel from Egypt to deliver all of us from sin and slavery.
No one can stop the plans that Almighty God has for His people! The Israelites prevailed. Throughout difficulties, opposition, disobedience, and conflict all through the Old Testament, God was with His people. They found favor in His sight. We as modern-day believers are beneficiaries of that favor. The New Testament sets up a new covenant with God and His people through His Son, Jesus. Paul says it this way, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26–28 NIV).
I’m grateful for the bravery of the Israelite women and the kindness of God to bless His people and send us a Deliverer. You should be, too!
Pause: Write down some names of people you know who have demonstrated courage. What have they done? Consider sending them a text or writing a note acknowledging their courage and sharing this story of the bravery of the Israelite midwives.
Practice: Tell someone today how you have seen God’s kindness towards you.
Pray: Thank You God for Your sovereignty. Thank You that Your plans are good and nothing can stop You. Thank You for sending Your Son to deliver us from sin and bring us new life. Help me to live in the truth that I am Your child and You are for me. Amen.
Denise Trio has been on staff with Calvary for almost two years, serving as the Director of Strategic Development. She has 10 years of project management experience, with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Engingeering from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA and a Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA. When not on campus, Denise is either making her way through her book list at the beach, ordering tacos on any menu that serves them, or running her side business, The Rose Creative, which specializes in creating beautiful and meaningful products for her clients.