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Devotional Reading: Exodus 1, 2
When the enemy sees you prospering, he wants to fray your garment of praise to God, causing you to doubt His authority and power. When the new King of Egypt saw that the children of Israel outnumbered the Egyptians, he chose not to collaborate with them. Rather, he chose to oppress them. This is the pattern of the enemy who sees our prosperity as a threat.
Despite the enemy’s efforts to thwart your success, God has a way of moving in your situation to make things work together for your good, though the enemy means to accomplish your destruction. In today’s reading, the more the Egyptians afflicted the children of Israel the more they “multiplied and grew.”
When situations are working for your good, the enemy sees the good in your life as an obstacle. Your happiness, your faith, your prosperity… all of these circumstances are a blessing to you, but the enemy sees them as a hindrance to his plan. His desire is for you to feel defeated, cast down and broken. Yet, we learn in II Corinthians 4:8-9 that though we may be troubled by circumstances, we are not distressed because we know that God has the power to change our circumstances. We may not understand what is going on, but we do not have to feel desperation over whatever is going on. It is only a matter of time before our deliverer shows up on our behalf. We may even be persecuted, but our Heavenly Father will not forsake us; and though the enemy may cast us down, he does not have the power to destroy us whilst we stand in the will of God.
Understanding that Satan sees our well-being (whether spiritual or natural) as an obstacle, we also know that he has his own logic about how to overcome obstacles. Often, his way is to ruin the influence of good people whose lives are looked to by others to set an example of faithfulness to God. By attacking their influence, Satan seeks to kill two birds with one stone – both the leader and the flock.
The Hebrew midwives in today’s lesson were courageous. They refused to follow the instruction of the Egyptian king when his request conflicted with what they knew was right in the eyes of God. They could have feared for their own lives. They did not consider their lives more precious than the lives of the children. They knew that destroying another life would not save their own when God desires none to be destroyed. They decided that taking the risk to save the children was more important than what Pharaoh could do to them. Man is able even to kill the body, but all souls belong to God. For their defiance of the decree, Pharaoh tried to intimidate the midwives, but they were wise. Those who are unwise sometimes mistake wisdom for foolishness. Lacking understanding, the foolish condemn the wise for making decisions that they would not make themselves; but God is not mocked concerning his promise (Galatians 6:7). There is a link between sowing and reaping.
The midwives must have understood that sowing death could not lead to longevity. This is a concept that Pharaoh did not understand. He thought that by killing the children of Israel, it would preserve his place on the throne. He was wrong. His persecution of the children also cost him his own son.
We can take from the lesson of the midwives that God honors those who honor Him. Because the midwives obeyed God rather than Pharaoh’s deadly decree, “God dealt well with the midwives…”
The enemy looks for ways to infiltrate God’s camp. Satan may have a goal of destroying the mighty, but he looks for the path of least resistance. The weakest link poses the least resistance. When the king could not rely on the midwives to put the children away quietly to death, he turned to the people, playing on their fear. In Exodus 1:22, “he charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.”
Moses was born after this decree went out to the kingdom. But Moses’ mother was a daughter of Levi. She did not obey the words of Pharaoh, but hid the child for three months. When she could no longer hide him, she had faith that God would continue protecting him when she no longer could. She made a basket that would not sink, and put the child in the basket. She set the basket afloat near the side of the river. God guided the small ark. A maiden of the daughter of Pharaoh found it.
God intervened in the life of the child. The maiden recognized that the child in the ark was one of the Hebrew’s children. The word says that she had compassion on him. But of all of the Hebrews, how could she have known who the mother of the child was. But the Word says that she called the child’s mother to nurse the child. The Bible does not say that she investigated the situation to find out who the mother was. Moses’ mother found favor with God. She did the best that she could do to save the child’s life. God honored her effort and brought the child back to her, even after she sent him away to keep him from the decree of Pharaoh that the male children would not live.
Not only did God spare the child’s life, He brought the child before great men and women who had the resources to provide him with an extraordinary lifestyle. God had a plan for the child.
What would have happened if the child’s mother had obeyed man and not the will of God? God would have risen up another deliverer for the Children of Israel, but his mother would have missed a great blessing.
When the time comes to make a decision, we should think not only of the consequences to our own lives, but of the will of God. He has the power to remove the influence of what we would fear, and to allow only His blessing to prevail. If our choices align with God’s will, He is able to maintain his hedge of protection around us as a reward for our obedience. God understands that the often-accepted ways of the world are sometimes in conflict with what He expects of our choices. Paul said, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient.” We have the responsibility to make the right choice. Right choices are not always popular, but God can honor those who honor His will.