Courage in Unlikely Places

Text: Exodus 1:15 – 2:10

In our text today, we see great suffering and evil. But the common thread throughout is how God goes to such great lengths to lovingly rescue his people. And God does that by giving uncommon courage to common people to fulfill His plans. These verses have two connected narratives that illustrate this:

1. God uses two midwives to save a generation.  (Exod. 1:15-21)

When Pharaoh’s plan to curb the growing Hebrew population through hard labor didn’t work, he enacted an even more wicked scheme. He commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill all baby boys at birth. But the Bible says the midwives “feared God”, so they did not obey the king’s command. As a result, the Hebrew population continued to grow, and God blessed the midwives for their courage.

And as so many things in the Old Testament, this is meant to point us forward to the New Testament. When Mary first gave birth to Jesus, the wicked king Herod heard that a new king had been born. So to protect his own selfish rule, he commanded that all male children 2 years old and under to be killed. This is referred to as the “slaughter of the innocents”.

Each time God brings forth deliverance for his people, the devil tries to kill it. And each time, the devil fails. But not without inflicting much pain and grief. We are reminded again in the Book of Revelation, when the dragon tries to kill the baby that the woman gives birth to, he fails again.

God sees his people and hears their cries. The devil fights. God sends a deliverer. The devil tries to kill. But God protects. And in the end, God succeeds and the devil fails. Because God is sovereign, and the devil is not. God is God, and the devil is not. Don’t fear the devil, and don’t fear what man can do to you. Fear God. Trust God. He never fails.

2. God uses two mothers to save the chosen deliverer.  (Exod. 1:22 – 2:10)

Since Pharaoh’s plan to command Hebrews to quietly kill other Hebrews didn’t work, he openly advertises his evil motives to the whole country and commands all Egyptians to intervene and kill newborn Hebrew boys.

But for God’s people, in the middle of their tremendous suffering, in their slavery, in their babies being killed, God did not leave them. He was at work behind the scenes, in ways they could not see. One Hebrew couple, well aware of the pharaoh’s decree, became pregnant in this treacherous time.

The mother hid the baby boy until he was 3 months old. And she had a plan. She would obey the letter of the law by placing her baby boy in the Nile herself. But on her own terms. She weaved a basket, and sealed it with pitch, a tar-like substance so it would be water proof.

Then, in God’s kind providence, he lined up the Bible’s first adoption. Pharaoh’s daughter found the basket and took the child as her own. But not before more of God’s kindness is revealed. Moses mother was allowed to wean and raise Moses the first part of his life, and was even paid to do it.

In the midst of such suffering, God brings redemption upon redemption. Grace upon grace. God is powerful enough to direct every detail of our lives to fulfill His plan. And God is loving enough to remind us that He is good and does good for His people.

These women in our text remind us that God uses common people in uncommon ways to bring about His plan in our lives. We should honor the women who feared God. We honor the women in our churches today who fear God. The mothers, the sisters, the wives, who show uncommon courage everyday. You bring God glory.

And God would remind us all: Even when your trial seems daunting, God is bigger. Even when the evil around you seems overwhelming, God is more powerful. He is using the small things, working little miracles in the everyday things. Recognize them in your life. They are all around you. And let the little things, the little evidences of grace, point you to Christ, to help you to find courage in unlikely places and fill your soul with hope.

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