GOD IS FAITHFUL
Gracious God, I thank You for Your mercy and grace. You have brought me out of guilt into forgiveness, out of darkness into Your glorious light. I love You Lord.
Read Exodus 1:1–22
The Israelites Oppressed
1 These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; 3 Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; 4 Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. 5 The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy[a] in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.
6 Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, 7 but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.
8 Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. 9 “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. 10 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.”
11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13 and worked them ruthlessly. 14 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.
15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “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.” 17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”
19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”
20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.
22 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.”
- Exodus 1:5 Masoretic Text (see also Gen. 46:27); Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint (see also Acts 7:14 and note at Gen. 46:27) seventy-five
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectPonder the words of this hymn: ‘Great is Thy faithfulness! / Great is Thy faithfulness! / Morning by morning new mercies I see; / All I have needed Thy hand hath provided / Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me’ (Thomas Chisholm, 1866–1960).
The Bible says God is faithful, but it’s sometimes hard to see, isn’t it? Today’s reading sees the Israelites fruitful and increasing in number (vs 7,12,20). But it isn’t easy: a new king feared their growing numbers (v 9), increased their work and, eventually, called for all male Israelite babies to be killed (vs 16,22). Some of our Christian brothers and sisters are persecuted in similar ways around the world – why not pray for them now?
Notice how, in the midst of pain and oppression, God continues to be at work: in the brave and courageous midwives who disobey Pharaoh’s orders because they feared God more (vs 17,19,21), and also in the Israelites more generally (v 20). These midwives are inspiring! At this time in the Israelites’ story, they will not have had lots of teaching about God to depend on as we may have – and yet, they feared God and acted in faith.
How can you see God at work in the challenging situations that you face today? Is there anything that God might be pointing you to be courageous in, as he did with the midwives?
Faithful One, I confess my fickleness to You in the face of Your faithfulness. Strengthen me to stand for what is right in the face of the world’s pressure.