Fear of the Tyrant
Almighty God, You are my God and I trust You for Your unfailing care each day, I know I needn’t fear.
Read Exodus 1:1-22
 These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family:  Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah;  Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin;  Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher.  The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.  Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died,  but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.  Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.  “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us.  Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”  So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.  But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites  and worked them ruthlessly.  They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.  The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah,  “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.”  The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.  Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”  The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”  So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous.  And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.  Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat was the problem the Israelites faced?
Fear drives Pharaoh. Gratitude to Joseph and hospitality to his people is long gone (8). Seventy descendants of Jacob have become thousands, too many for Egypt to control (7). Fearing an uprising, particularly at a time of war, Pharaoh determines to break the Israelites’ spirits. As with Stalin’s gulags, designed to benefit the state by producing work and destroying the laborers, Pharaoh builds two store cities through the Israelites’ labor. But they continue to increase as God had promised (12). Now, dreading the growing threat they pose, Pharaoh looks to destroy the next generation. Though instructed to kill all boys born to Hebrew mothers, fear of God leads the midwives to disobey Pharaoh. Once again the Hebrews increase, and the midwives are blessed for their obedience (20,21). Fear drives Pharaoh. As the oppression fails to work, his fear grows. Hidden infanticide hasn’t worked, so Pharaoh now openly instructs all Egypt to kill every male Hebrew child. Pharaoh hopes to destroy the men through their labor, and the next generation at birth, so that the Hebrew people will die out.
Has fear driven you to do, or not do, something? If so, recognize and confess it. Bring your fear to God.
Lord God, give me the courage to do what is right and good, even when there is risk involved.
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