Fear can drive you insane and convince you to do ugly deeds.
If you have not read the previous passage, be sure to look back at the previous verses. As noted above, this is not the king of Egypt’s first attempt to oppress the Hebrew people, nor the second. These ugly deeds began from fear as they grew to greater and greater extremes.
The Good and the Bad
This story has heroes (or heroines) as well. The king chose two midwives to kill all the newborn boys of the Hebrew people. Frankly, I am somewhat amazed that two midwives handled all the babies of twelve tribes of Israel. These women were brave enough to defy Egypt's king. The even made up an excuse that Hebrew women were stronger than Egyptian women.
These midwives are an example of the teaching from 1 Corinthians 10:13. It says that God helps us escape temptation and stay faithful to Him, no matter what our circumstances are. They knew if they were going down, they were going to go down courageously. Their comment back to the king of Egypt itself shows the courage to mock him all the more, reminding him that the Hebrew people are even their women in childbirth are stronger than the Egyptians.
There are many political/cultural implications we could draw out of this story. Generally speaking, I am a firm believer that culture is not automatically good – whether it belongs to you or someone else. However, before we go trudging down that lane, I think it is important to note in this instance that the enemy of God’s people often uses fear to get us to do his own work for him. Maybe not the first attempt, perhaps not the second, but before the ugly deed is over, the devil is going to hand us a hammer and nails and ask us to finish our own coffin.
And so, the king of Egypt is unable to find a solution to the fear that drives him and his culture. He does the unthinkable. He does the ugly deed of sending out all his people against babies, commanding them to drown every male child in the Nile River. If there wasn’t war between the Egyptians and the Hebrew people, this would have started it.
What we don’t see
These ugly deeds are not happening one day after another. This is a prelude for what is to come, and the timeline has been scrunched close together so we can get the full background. There are many things that left out in this short introduction. However, I find it unusual that God is almost left entirely in the background here. He blesses the people with children, but they barely seem aware of His presence in their lives.
At the very least, I expect to read that the people cried out to God for help and for justice. Yet it seems that these later generations, too far removed from Joseph have forgotten much about the God of their forefathers.
How have you experienced fear escalating into ugly deeds in your life?
Who have been role models for you that stood against it?
What role does God play for you when you face temptation?
What do you see here?
I’d love to hear what you see in this passage. You can comment below or send a text to 859-636-6965 for a faster response. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on fear and decisions.