Here I am sitting and complaining when I could actually be accomplishing something that I just finished complaining about NOT accomplishing! (Did that make any sense?).
There are only a couple of surefire ways (for me) to reduce stress.
The first way is to get with God, either with prayer, Bible study, or both. I just did the prayer bit, and now I am calm enough to get to the Word…How about Exodus???
The other way is with exercise. I am not in the position to do that now, not with this small space. I would love to do some Zumba or even some Pilates, but undoubtedly it would wake my kids up, and I much prefer to have them asleep right now. 🙂
And finally, I need to take my mental mini-vacations OFTEN. Several times during the past week I found myself thinking of my honeymoon, and it put a smile on my face right away.
At the end of Genesis, Joseph and his brothers (who sold him into slavery) have been reconciled, and their father, Jacob, has died. Joseph was a man of great prestige and influence in Egypt, but we quickly find in the beginning passages of Exodus that the Israelites are no longer party to that prestige and influence any longer.
A new king who has no knowledge of Joseph, who along with his brothers, is deceased, has taken over Egypt. This new king is not an Egyptian Pharaoh. Instead, this king was installed after his country, Hyksos, invaded Egypt and took over (interestingly enough, here is a point of fact for our atheist friends… It has been documented that these people did exist, and came from West Asia, and that they took over Egypt. Coincidence? I think not). As God promised, the Israelites are large in number, and this new king is threatened by this. The Israelites are thought of as being a threat to his power. His solution? Enslave them.
The new king made living conditions terrible for the Israelites. Labor was harsh, and the Israelites were worked ruthlessly. However, the plan backfired, because the Israelites continued to be fruitful and multiply! The king then summons the two Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, and tells them of his new plan. He wants them to kill all newborn Hebrew boys.
I like these women. They are an example of how Christians are supposed to behave. The Bible says that “The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live” (Exo. 1: 17).
Let me examine this a bit further. This king has already persecuted the Israelites and is making their lives miserable. I wonder if these women gave any thought to the punishment that king could have heaped upon them? The Bible does not specify how long this practice went on–how many Hebrew boys did they spare? And how was this secret kept, and for how long? The reason I am curious is because certainly, with each baby boy born, they had to know that they could not keep that ruse up for long, and oh my, what would the king do to them once he found out?
Obviously these women were women of faith. “Fear” does not have to mean that one is afraid of God, necessarily. Fear can be thought of as being synonymous with “respect”…respect for what God is capable of, nonetheless! These women knew that they were subject to God’s protection. Even if they lost their lives, they would still be victorious.
These days, we as believers are confronted with decisions that, while they may seem small, can lead to sinful behavior that is considered acceptable by society’s standards. The current world system is reflected by Egypt–idolatrous, rejecting the Shepherd (recall that Joseph’s brothers, shepherds, would have been considered “lowly” by Egyptian standards, and look at how the world treats our Shepherd, Jesus, today!), and in direct opposition to the people of God. The world system belongs to Satan. We can expect nothing more than what we’ve got.
Although we know the world system is of Satan, that does not mean we can let ourselves become a part of it. Once we realize the error of our ways, we have to work diligently to correct it. And as I have said before, I think we should all understand that changing habits or behaviors, or even patterns of thought, does not occur overnight. I think God rewards even a minimal effort, as a means of encouraging you to keep going.
Let’s look at how the world can influence us. It is disgusting. It is acceptable, even encouraged, for women and young girls in particular to wear the least amount of clothes possible. Unhealthy body images are pushed onto our little girls. It is okay to experiment with drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity–that is all a part of growing up, right? Oh, and it is definitely not cool to be a Christian.
And look at the sad state the nation is in because of it.
But I digress. The two midwives respected that God could protect them, and they respected his power to deal with them as he so wished had they gone ahead and killed those babies. I feel the same way. If God can SPEAK an entire world into existence, imagine what he could do to little old me?? I shudder at the thought!
The women lied to the king when he asked them why they had let the boys live. They told him that the Hebrew women often gave birth before they arrived. I do not blame them for this. They had already let the babies live, which should be given more attention to the fact that they lied, in my humble opinion. Maybe God thought the same way, because he allowed the midwives to increase–he gave them families of their own.
Is there truly anyone who is 100% faithful, 100% of the time? Some scholars questioned the faith of the midwives because of the lie they told. Perhaps I am looking at the lie from a worldly perspective. I am not saying I condone it, but I am saying considering the fact that they had spared the babies, I would rather focus on the lives saved than the lie told to justify it. By that question, I mean to merely point out that the very scholars debating the faith of these two women have surely had instances where they should have been questioned themselves. Who is always strong in the face of adversity, without fail? Even Job, a man who was blameless and upright, did not pass God’s test with flying colors. He had his shortcomings too. The scholars feel that the lie is proof that the midwives’ faith in God’s protection faltered when they came before the king. While that may be true, I would say that I think we all can relate!
At the end of chapter 1, Pharaoh has come up with a new plan. All newborn Hebrew boys will be thrown into the Nile River (SMH).
I must stop here for a minute and reflect on the special type of loser who would come up with such a plan. It is mind-boggling to me that anyone can think of doing harm to a baby, let alone throwing them to such a terrible, agonizing death as drowning. It almost makes me sick to my stomach.
But it’s in the Bible, plain as day.
So we begin our journey into Exodus. I cannot make promises as to how long it will take me to get through it. I have resigned myself not only to the fact that I will probably never sleep again, but also to the fact that it is almost useless for me to make plans. Yet, I am looking forward to studying this book, a book of redemption that serves as a historical record of the Israelites’ exit from the bondage that was Egypt.