Danger! Fear at Work!
Father God, Your perfect love casts out all fear. Shed more of Your love in my life.
Read Exodus 1:1-22
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.
The heartening challenge “Fear not” occurs 366 times in Scripture. Amazing: one for each day of the year and an extra day for a Leap Year. Each “Fear not” is almost always followed with an assurance that the God of love will protect us and redeem us from all our anxieties.
After reading this chapter, I sit quietly and feel the terror in it, the escalation from enslavement to oppression to attempted genocide. I note the verbs used in verses 11-14, and how precisely the oppression is described with reference to bricks and mortar and “work in the fields” (ditches, dykes, canals). The pharaohs of Egypt had vast building projects–the pyramids of Sesostris III at Dahshur alone needed 24 million bricks. I picture the toiling Israelite men, loincloths stiff with clay, skin burnt by the sun, damaged hands and fingers, bodies smelly and unwashed. Many people in my world still work like this–what am I doing to relieve this oppression, especially if times are hard for me?
God had promised Abraham that he would become a great nation. Although Jacob’s descendants were just 70, the Egyptian king is anxious about the Israelites proliferating everywhere–like frogs (8:3)! They are a security risk if they stay; and there will be a labor crisis if they leave. I reflect on how fear leads to immigrant-bashing, hate-talk about “foreigners” (worse words are used) and riots; and how fear can bring ordinary, good people to do very bad things. I picture the downward spiral of Pharaoh’s fear, leading eventually (22) to public murder. I thank God for the resourceful women (two are named; there must have been more) whose unpunctuality and evasion frustrated Pharaoh’s plans. So much depended on these women, who are mentioned seven times! We are told twice (17,21) what their motivation was–the first time God is mentioned in the chapter. Facing up to Pharaoh was fearful, but they drove out their lower fears with a higher fear (Matt. 10:8); their civic duty was embedded in a deeper obedience (Acts 5:29).
What fears does the Lord deliver me from? See Matt.10:1-31 and Luke 5:10. What fears (respect, awe, adoration) does he amplify? See Revelation 1:17 and Jude 23.
Lord, I know the spirit of fear is not from You. Help me to center on You and know Your amazing peace.
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