So the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said to them, “Why have you done this thing, and let the boys live?” And the midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous, and they give birth before the midwife can get to them.” So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty.
When I wondered about how I would handle this issue again at this point of our study, some suggested that I simply state that God’s ways are not our ways and this is one of the mysteries of Scripture that we do not understand at this point in time. Unconvinced, I was not willing to give up that easily. These midwives appear to have lied and the text says, “So, God was good to” them. You can’t avoid that, no matter how you try to rationalize it. It’s a possibility.
“First of all, the midwives may have told the truth. It may have been the case that the Hebrew women, fearing the commandment of the king, did not call for the midwives in a timely way. Second, one is not obligated to tell all he or she knows. Withholding information is not necessarily falsehood (cf. Luke 23:9). Third, if one believes that the midwives were deceptive, he must understand that they were rewarded for their works, not their words. They were blessed for refusing to murder the babies. All who are rewarded by God, in any age, are blessed in spite of their sins, based upon the gracious forgiveness of God.”
Lest we as New Testament Christians get carried away thinking we can lie our way to blessings, Jackson adds, “The Lord, however, is not arbitrary in dealing with sin. As Paul observed, God is just, and the justifier of them that have faith in Jesus, whom he sent to be a propitiation for our sins (Romans 3:23-26). Bible narratives often relate events without passing a moral judgment on the circumstances. Similarly, Rahab was justified by her works — not by her words of deception.
“Fourth, one must remember that these individuals, the midwives and Rahab, were not New Testament Christians. God tolerated certain things, like polygamy, in Old Testament times — the times of ignorance. But now, in the light of the gospel, he commands all men everywhere to repent and live according to the high moral standard of Christianity (Acts 17:30; Titus 2:11-12). Additionally, not all is settled in this life. Justice will be equally dispensed on the Judgment Day (2 Corinthians 5:10).
“Fifth, the case of Ananias and Sapphira is not parallel. These individuals were New Testament Christians who lived in the light of the Gospel Age. They lied for the sake of financial gain, pride, and a desire for prominence within the church. But the midwives, who lived in Old Testament times, may have used deception to save their lives. They refused to murder. The cases simply are not parallel. It is incorrect to say that God rewarded the midwives for lying. The Bible does not affirm that conclusion. The Lord blessed them for their refusal to kill baby boys — for their interest in obeying God rather than man.”
I agree with Jackson, but add my own perspective as follows. I believe God loves us so much that while He hates any sin, he is more concerned with our obedience. He wants the sin to be recognized, repented for, and stopped. Then like a great Father, He does not neglect to bless us as we give Him our Heart and obey Him going forward.
Note to readers: Some of you who know have followed some of my writings on social media and elsewhere may well ask me the following question: “Why not apply the thinking you laid out above to homosexuality and homosexuals?” Here is my response: I do, totally. God hates the sin of homosexuality and He loves the homosexuals. He wants them to recognize their sin (as we all have to do), repent for it, and stop repeating it. And I believe they can do that if they give God their heart and want to obey Him. Then His blessings are all theirs as they are ours.
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