“The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, ‘When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.’ The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.” --Exodus 1: 15-17, NIV
It seems to me that in the Bible there is always someone willing to step outside of the rules that God uses to accomplish his purposes. God promised over and over that Abraham’s descendants would be as numerous as the stars and Exodus 1:6 tells us they were “exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them.”
That’s why the king was afraid of them and ordered them enslaved. But God had also told them, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years.” (Genesis 15:13) When that didn’t stop them from being “exceedingly numerous,” the Pharaoh ordered the baby boys to be killed.
The midwives weren’t the only ones to disobey. Moses’ mother knew there was something special about her child and hid him for three months. Then she put him in the Nile when Pharaoh’s daughter just happened to be bathing. Coincidence? I think not. Pharaoh’s daughter is another person that God used for his purposes when she disobeyed and decided to keep this precious, little Hebrew boy.
Next time, we’ll talk about how Moses parallels Jesus in his life and his actions, but God is in the details. So, let’s look at how Moses parallels Jesus even in his birth:
Moses: born when his people were being dominated by the Egyptians, who were hostile to them, and had a cruel leader, Pharaoh.
Jesus: born when his people, the Jews, were being dominated by the Romans, who were hostile to them, and had a cruel leader, Herod.
Moses: born at a time when Pharaoh had given orders to kill every Hebrew boy.
Jesus: born at a time when Herod had given orders to kill all Hebrew boys under age two.
Moses: given a prophetic name which means, “he who draws out of.”
Jesus: given a prophetic name which means, “he will save his people from their sins.”
Moses: lived in Egypt, hidden, as an infant, and then all of his childhood.
Jesus: lived in Egypt, hidden, as an infant, and then for part of his childhood.
God always intercedes when he needs to. Whenever something awful happens in the Bible, the next two words in the story are often: But God… He knows. He cares. He intercedes. Jesus is the ultimate example of that. He came down to save us. He took our punishment for us. We have eternal life to look forward too and the new heavens and the new earth when Christ returns. All of the Pharoahs and Herods of the world will be cast into the fires of hell.
Before that happens, though, I’m going to listen to the Holy Spirit when he nudges me to do or say something—even if it might break the rules (as long as it honors God). He may just be using me, like he used those midwives, to accomplish his purpose in a situation that I can’t understand.
With love in Christ,
Oh, Holy Spirit, attune my heart to your will. Give me clear direction if I need to act or speak when it’s not my place. Use me. Let me be your hands and feet in this dark world to shine your light. Take away my fear and give me the courage I need to trust that you will intercede for me, through me, and in spite of me, when the time is right to accomplish your purpose. In Jesus’ name, Amen.