Focus: Although God approves of selfless bravery in the service of life, as we see in the case of these midwives, our efforts often fall short in turning the tide of evil, suffering, and injustice.
Function: To remind the hearers that their own human efforts to make life better may not work
I. Introduction 1. Capture of the 7 convicts. Reminder that we battle evil and suffering all around us. But with a little effort and cooperation, they were captured 2. I remember when the people were starving in Ghana and Ethiopia getting together to help. 3. However, for every success story, I can give you one that was not a success Same sex union Bill passed even though we fought it in Vermont 4. Got together to pray for Jeremy, he is healthy. Got together to pray for another lady, she died anyway 5. Christians arrested in Laos, foreign ones exported. Despite prayers and petitions, they still had to serve sentence and others quit meeting. 6. Sometimes people go so far as to lie and deceive in order to protect others from oppression. Throughout human history, this is often was people did to try and make the world a better place. Does God approve? II. Let's Explore this question: Text - Exodus 1 1. v.1-7 - Quick introduction 2. These Foreigners went from being a family to becoming a "people" 3. Ironically, the first one to recognized them as a people is also the one who tried to exterminate them. 4. From Egyptian perspective, these foreigners were taking over 5. Pharaoh did not care about Joseph a. Plan one - Hard, bitter labor for population control. It had the opposite effect b. Plan two - Widwives, Shiprah and Puah to kill the males Both plans backfire on Pharoah Plan two was foiled because the midwives lied to and disobeyed Pharaoh 6. They said that the Hebrew women were better at having babies that Egyptian women 7. In reality, they simply let the boys live, risking their lives in the process 8. They were guilty of both civil disobedience and lying III. Does the text give any indication that the actions of the midwives are approved of? 1. Yes, for two reasons a. God blessed them for fearing God - Which God did they fear? - It wasn't Pharaoh, who was considered a son of the gods - It was the God of life, the creator b. The subtle way the story is told - Some of the most evil rulers in the world - Hitler, Stalin - Pharaoh can be classed along with these men - Scholars have been trying to figure out for certain who the Pharaoh was, there is still disagreement among scholars. - Pharaoh is not named, BUT the two lowly midwives are 2. Yes, God approves of this kind of selfless bravery. It is too easy to be apathetic and do nothing against the evil injustice we see in the world. IV. History is full of people who took their lives into their own hands in the name of righteousness and justice. 1. There were those people who sheltered and protected the Jews in Nazi Germany. Alfred Schindler 2. In the Bible, Rahab is heralded as an example of faith when she hid the Hebrew spies on her roof. 3. Rachael Scott who bravely confessed Jesus at gunpoint. 4. Many people who took their lives in their own hands helped to turn the tide of injustice and evil. V. Did these women turn the tide of injustice and evil? 1. What was the result of the effort of these midwives? 2. The immediate result was that they boys were spared, and the Hebrews continued to grow strong. 3. We can jump up and down and cheer for God's team. 4. It's time for Pharaoh to give up! 5. Verse 22 - Pharaoh resorts to Genocide a. This time he orders ALL the Egyptians to participate b. We would like to say they resisted and stood up to their Pharaoh c. However, the text gives no indication that the babies were spared 6. Now we are horrified, Pharaoh's plans kept backfiring, now he is succeeding. 7. God is supposed to be the hero of the Bible, yet all he does is bless a couple of women who stood up to Pharaoh. 8. Why doesn't God himself stand up to Pharaoh? 9. What is the result? It appears their effort only postponed the inevitable. IV. Conclusion: This Episode Ends today 1. I remember watching episodes of shows like Batman. They often ended with a tense situation where it looks like the good guy was going to lose. 2. This is the picture we are left with at the end of this episode. 3. Is there any lesson at all in this first episode? 4. For all our valiant efforts, it will often times fall short. God's team will lose. 5. Fortunately, we know that this is not the end of the story. There is more to come 6. Will they survive? Will justice prevail? Stay tuned.