Fight for Life (Exodus 1; 20:13)
Death of a Dynasty (1:1-7)
God’s kindness to Joseph was expressed in the midst of judgment. The Israelites were in Egypt to begin with because of God’s judgment in sending a famine, not only on the Egyptians, but on the Israelites as well. Many of their circumstances were a result of Egypt’s sin, but not all—the famine covered their homeland as well as Egypt. In the same way, our spiritual climate today is a direct result of our disobedience. It is a completely wrong assumption if we think that the lack of flourishing in churches today is because of how wicked secular society has become, or how left the media is, or how outspoken liberals are. The church failing to live godly in this present age has given way for these things. Not only that, but we have even begun following in the ways of their wickedness!
Dark Days (1:8-14)
The oppression they experienced in Egypt is likely what preserved the purity of the people of God. If Pharaoh would have just left them alone, it is likely that they would have blended right in with the Egyptian race. After all, they didn’t really mind being in Egypt and were content there, even adopting many of the local superstitions and idolatries. But the hand of God is evident, even in Pharaoh’s harsh dealings.
Death Demanded (1:15-16)
Pharaoh clearly rejected God’s promise to His people and paid no attention at all to the covenant that God had made with Israel. His command to slaughter children was in direct contrast to the plans of God for His people, whom He commanded to “be fruitful and multiply” and to whom He had promised, “I will make you a great nation.” Pharaoh would go on and reject God’s plan for His people to have land of their own, as well. The problem was not primarily that Pharaoh was anti-life, but that he was anti-God, not unlike Herod in the days of Jesus (Matt 2:3ff).
Dutiful Deception (1:17ff)
The Hebrew midwives were heroes. In keeping with the 6th Commandment, they positively did all within their power to protect and preserve the lives of the children Pharaoh wished to slaughter. In the 6th Commandment, not only is a particular sin forbidden (i.e. murder, the taking of a life), but a duty is also implied (i.e. preserving life, ours as well as others). According to the Heidelberg Confession, this command of God means that we are “to protect [another] from harm as much as we can, and to do good even to our enemies.” Because God is the giver of life, its Author and Originator, any failure to protect life to the degree that it falls within our ability is a failure to obey Him.
The issue with abortion is not “when” life begins. The issue is disregard for life, due to a disregard for life’s Author. The issue is a theological one. Because God is the Author and Giver of life, all abortion is murder—not just late-term abortions. From conception to birth, killing the baby is murder! When life is taken from the pre-born, it is not war against babies, it is war against God.
Desparate Desires (2:23-25)
In response to their current condition, God’s people sighed, groaned, and cried out. God heard their groaning, remembered His covenant with them, saw His children, and took notice of them. What will it take for us to reach that point? Do we not live in a world ravaged by sin? Are we not in bondage to it? Are we not aware of the genocide happening all around us? What will it take for us to sigh and groan and cry out to God?
What we really need is for God to hear us, and to remember His covenant with us. We need Him to see us in our affliction and to take notice of us. There is no hope in a multi-generational strategy or a new human leader. But there is immense hope in God, who orchestrates all things in our lives so that we might cry out to Him.
- In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) we have an illustration of what is intended by the 6th Commandment. The worst thing that happened to the victim was not being beaten and robbed and left half dead. The worst thing that happened to him was that these other two fellows did not take the time to save his life. The two men are not guilty as a result of what they do, but as a result of what they do not do. The question is not, “Who is your neighbor.” The question is, “Will you be a neighbor?”
- The gospel brings us grace in order that we might be a neighbor to those who are being led to the slaughter. It is powerful to extend grace even to those who have been guilty of breaking the 6th Commandment. For all who come to Christ, there is forgiveness, and there is grace.