Fearing God, Saving Lives

Exodus 1:12-21

September 15, 2005 New England Journal of Medicine, article regarding China’s policy for family size, The Effect of China’s One-Child Family Policy after 25 Years, says the following:

“The use of these long-term methods (sterilization) keeps abortion rates relatively low, with 25 percent of women of reproductive age having had at least one abortion, as compared with 43 percent in the United States.”

Regarding the “sex ratio”:

“The picture that emerges is that some urban Chinese make the choice to perform sex selection with the first pregnancy, since they are allowed only one child. In rural areas, most couples are permitted to have a second child, especially if the first is female. So if the second (or subsequent) child is female, the pregnancy often “disappears,” allowing the couple to have another child in an attempt to have a son. What happens to all the missing girls is a matter of speculation. Sex-selective abortion after ultrasonography undoubtedly accounts for a large proportion of the decline in female births. Actual figures are impossible to obtain, because sex-selective abortion is illegal but is known to be widely carried out, helped by a burgeoning private sector.”

A. The King

1. his problem

a. dread and loathing of the Jews v. 12

b. according to the psalmist God turned the hearts of the Egyptians to “hate” his people Psalm 105:24-25

It expresses an emotional attitude toward persons and things which are opposed, detested, despised and with which one wishes to have no contact or relationship. It is therefore the opposite of love. Whereas love draws and unites, hate separates and keeps distant. The hated and hating persons are considered foes or enemies and are considered odious, utterly unappealing. TWOT

c. fear – he basically feared losing control because he feared man v. 9-10

2. his response

a. oppression and brutality v. 13-14

b. infanticide v. 16

B. The Midwives

1. their problem

a. ethical dilemma v. 17

i. obey God (do what is right regarding life issues) – obey the king (do what is right regarding submission to governing authorities); which authority??

b. potential serious consequences

i. loss of job

ii. loss of life

iii. loss of respect in the community

2. their response

a. fear God, not the king v. 17 & 21

b. do what is right

c. go against the popular tide

C. God

1. his position

a. life is precious

i. made in the image of God Gen 1:26-27; 9:6

b. life begins before birth

i. seen in law Exodus 21:22-25

ii. reflected in God’s knowledge Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:16

2. his response

a. good to those who fear him v. 20

b. bless those who obey him v. 21

c. is mightier than the most powerful of kings Exodus 14:26-31

D. Us

1. our position

a. God is a good Father

b. He has bestowed life-changing grace on his children

c. He deserves our love and obedience

2. our response

a. do what is right because we love God Ecclesiastes 12:13; John 14:15

b. do what is right when it is not popular

So the midwives, because they “feared God,” disobeyed the king. No doubt the lesson is to be applied with caution. We are not to be always flying in the face of authority, and claiming it as a merit. More especially, in States calling themselves Christian and retaining even partially a Christian character, opposition to the law is a serious matter, and, if resorted to, should only be resorted to under a clear and distinct conviction that the Divine law and the human are in absolute opposition. “Whatsoever is not of faith, is sin.” If we are not sure of the Divine obligation we must accept the human one. Pulpit Commentary

c. find creative and useful ways to be agents of mercy

“Laws against abortion assisted the pro-life movement but were not its primary focus of attention. Beginning with Connecticut in 1821, state after state passed laws against abortion, with exceptions to save the life of the mother; by the 1870s, every state had such laws, but they were largely ignored, as The New York Times noted in a biblically referenced editorial titled “The Least of These Little Ones.” Editor Louis Jennings, a conservative Christian, complained in 1871 that the “perpetration of infant murder . . . is rank and smells to heaven. Why is there no hint of its punishment?”

…organizations established shelters for the pregnant and unmarried. New York City had dozens of helping agencies… [u]nmarried pregnant women had at least 20 options for lodging, help, and training. …These groups asked women contemplating a quick fix to think about adoption instead, and to compare their own months of trouble with the years of good life that their children could have. …In smaller cities as well, pro-life forces made adoption a priority. …Pro-lifers could not do much about the low wages characteristic in entry-level jobs at the time, but they reduced the cost of living and increased safety by setting up networks of family-style lodging houses and inexpensive, YWCA-type boarding houses. …To women already deep into prostitution, opponents of abortion spoke of repentance and forgiveness. Evangelists such as Dwight Moody made sure they had the names and addresses of families willing to provide a spare room in their homes to young prostitutes who found themselves pregnant and chose to leave the trade.

…Even though convictions were rare, law was not entirely useless. Anti-abortion statutes did send a message of right and wrong. They forced abortionists to advertise in code, bribe policemen and politicians, and hire lawyers. Law could not end abortion but it could reduce the butcher’s bill, just as laws against drunken driving today cannot end the practice but can save lives. Today, it’s still worthwhile to pass laws restricting abortion, but time and money spent on providing and promoting compassionate alternatives saves more lives. — Marvin Olasky” (January 17, 2009, World Magazine) http://www.worldmag.com/articles/14857

d. remember where the real battlefield is

“Moses relates the contest between the mercy of God and the cruelty of the king of Egypt. When, therefore, the wretched Israelites were tyrannically afflicted, he says that God came to their aid, and so powerfully that his interference was successful. Thus was that wicked and deceitful design frustrated, which the Egyptians had set on foot for destroying the Church. Thence may we, too, conceive the hope, that whatsoever the wicked imagine against us will come to nought, because God’s hand is greater, and shall prevail. But we must bear afflictions patiently, because he would have us struggle against, and rise under the weight imposed upon us; and because we know that it is the peculiar office of God to oppose himself to unjust counsels, in order that they may not succeed, let us learn to abstain from all deceit and violence, lest we wantonly provoke God. But this passage is especially intended to console the believer, that he may be prepared to take up his cross more patiently; since God is sufficient to supply the help, to which the wrath of the wicked must finally yield.” Calvin on Exodus 1:12


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