Like us on Facebook | Contact Us
Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Monday, February 12, 2018

“The Faith of Frederick Douglas” – Black History month observance

Ex. 1:15-22

This text recounts one of the most unjust schemes in history.  The king of Egypt has become concerned because of the growing population of the Hebrews.  He decides the best way to keep them from turning against him is to put them in “forced labor,” in other words, slavery.  Yet the people continue to grow.  More and more children are born to the Hebrews.  Pharaoh, the king, then takes another desperate step.  He orders that the Hebrew boys be killed at birth.  He gives this order to the midwives who oversee the births.  He will allow baby girls but not boys.

The king here is not acting out of strength.  Like most tyrants and dictators, he is fearful.  He is afraid of rebellion, revolution and insurrection.  The best he can do is to assault the helpless.  He orders the deaths of all the male children.  However even here he is limited.  The midwives fear God more than the king (Acts 5:29).  They defy his unjust law.  The king, clearly upset, summons the midwives and demands to know why they are not carrying out his orders.  The midwives tell a story that is probably partially true.  They tell him that he Israelite women give birth quickly, often before the midwives have a chance to arrive.  The king however is not to be outdone.  He orders that every boy born to the Hebrews will be thrown into the Nile River.

Pharaoh in this story represents all the injustice and inhumanity that tyrants have imposed on the world.  Pharaoh’s brutality is effective only in the short term.  Already we know that his strongest efforts will be frustrated.  He will not be able to endure.  Israel was enslaved in Egypt for more than four hundred years (Ex. 12:40).  African Americans were enslaved in America for more than three hundred years.  This kind of oppression is totally opposed by God (Jer. 34:9-10; Gal. 3:28).  It cannot endure.  We are called to justice and mercy.  We need to be encouraged by the fact that unjust rulers with their unjust laws cannot prevail.  God and God alone renders the final judgement.

Merciful and gracious God may I never lose sight of the fact that you alone have the final say in history.  May I follow the example of these midwives in refusing to obey that which is contrary to your will.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.