Saturday, June 16, 2012

God Intervenes To Protect Whom He Plans To Utilize -- Exodus 2:1-5


Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi.  And the woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months.  But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch.  Then she put the child into it, and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile.  And his sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him.  Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it to her.

In this day and age when western liberals seem to be pushing so hard for homosexual rights in the world, it is so good to read the first two verses of Exodus chapter 2.  A man marries a woman and they conceive a child.  How refreshing; how just the way it was intended to be.

The man and woman were both from the house of Levi.  By this point in time, the descendants of Levi, one of Jacob’s twelve sons had grown in size.  You will remember back in Genesis 49 Jacob had predicted that they would be too zealous, violent, and associated with wickedness.  Eventually they were to scatter and be given cities among various regions of all or many of the other tribes.  Marrying within a tribe was not a problem given the generations that had come to pass from Levi onward.

And in the midst of an edict by Pharaoh that all Hebrew male babies were to be cast into the Nile, this woman conceives a son.  Can you imagine the mixed emotion of happiness for having a child and at the same time such sorrow knowing that child was to be killed if found out?

Interestingly enough the text comments that the mother hides the baby boy for three months when she realizes that he is so beautiful.  A word structure such as that would understandably give many of us trouble.  Aren’t all, or at least, most babies beautiful?  Does the text imply that if the baby were not beautiful, she would not have tried to hide him?  What is the writer really saying here?  The King James Version actually says, “he was a goodly child”.  The NIV says a “fine child” and the New Living Translation says a “special” baby.  That does help, but not much.   If the mother was a good one, and we can assume by her actions that she was, would she not have hidden the baby even if he was not ‘beautiful, goodly, or fine’?  I think she would have.  The only reasonable explanation I can think of is that she considered the baby to be quite a quiet one, a good baby, one that would not be loudly crying all the time so as to be heard by any passing Egyptian agents of the Pharaoh.

David Guzik, using what we do not learn about until we get to the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 23 in the New Testament, tells us that this baby’s parents hid him until he was three months old out of their faith in God and because they did not fear the Pharaoh’s decree.  It seems reasonable then that we accept once again the fact that “scripture answers scripture” whenever we have a question and we would be foolish not to accept it in this case.

The baby’s parents (we have to wait until we get to Exodus chapter 6 to learn their names) were also reasonable people.  They realized they could not hide the young boy forever and so God provided them with another idea.  They would turn the child over to God by placing him in a wicker basket and allowing him to float on top of the Nile River, rather than be cast into it to drown.  Their God-given wisdom went much further as they applied tar and pitch to the outside of the basket to make it waterproof allowing the baby to survive much longer with the hope of his being rescued by someone outside the decree of Pharaoh.

This very act of the parents is not only very brave, but also well calculated and incredibly faith-based.  Based on observation, the parents knew they had to do something with the baby.  One possible way that he could have survived was if an Egyptian adopted him.  And what better Egyptian to adopt the baby than the Pharaoh’s daughter who was known to regularly come to that part of the Nile River and bathe, along with her entourage.  The act of placing the baby in the Nile, albeit near its reeds by the bank of the river, was also very symbolic as it was the very same Nile that was intended to act as the burial place of the infant in accordance to the Pharaoh’s decree.   Sometimes, to carry out God’s will, we have to go into the Niles of our life, being reliant only on the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to pull us out and lead us onward in His service.  And that is exactly what God intended to do for this Hebrew baby boy.

But are we as parents able to match the fervor with which these parents trusted in their God?  As adults, would you and I be willing to place our own life into that symbolic wicker basket and entrust our future solely on His grace?

More evidence of the wisdom and creativity of the baby’s parents was shown when they assigned the baby’s older sister to go and wait by the reeds, somewhat out of the way due to distance, in order to observe what would happen to the baby and whether or not it would indeed by found by Pharaoh’s daughter or her maidens.

And sure enough, like clockwork in God’s own time Pharaoh’s daughter found the basket.  We don’t know if it was the same hour or day or longer from the time it was placed there, but likely not too long after as the baby would have gotten hungry and cried [which we learn later it was], and likely not have survived without more divine intervention overnight.)  God’s timing in His plan is perfect – it was then; it is now; and it will be tomorrow.  One of my favorite gospel songs is one that became popular in the first decade of the 21st century.  It was called Four Days Late and originally put out by the “Karen Peck and New River” group.  Here are the lyrics:

The news came that Jesus
Please come fast
Lazarus is sick
And without your help he will not last

Mary and Martha watched their brother die
They waited for Jesus
He did not come
And they wondered why

The dead watch was over
Berried four days
Somebody said
"He'll soon be here, the Lord's on his way"

Martha ran to him and then she cried
"Lord if you had been here
You could have healed him,
He'd still been alive"

But Lord, four days late
And all help is gone
Lord we don't understand
Why you waited so long

But his way is God's way
Not yours or mine
And isn't it great
When he's four days late
He's still on time

Jesus said
"Martha, show me the grave"
But she said
"Lord, you don't understand,
He's been there four days"

The grave stone was rolled back
Then Jesus cried
Lazarus come forward
Then somebody said
"He's alright, he's alive"

You may be fighting a battle of fear
You cry to the Lord
"I need you"
But he has not appeared

Friend don't be discouraged
'Cause he's still the same
He'll soon be here
He'll roll back the stone
And he'll call out your name

But he's four days late
And all help is gone
Lord we don't understand
Why you waited so long

But his way is God's way
Not yours or mine
And isn't it great
When he's four days late
He's still on time

He's still on time
Oh my God ...
When he's four days late
He's still on time
He's still on time

That’s the God we can rely on.  That’s the God we must rely on when life requires us to place our ‘baby’ in this world’s Niles.  That’s the God that has a plan for our baby and us.  We can do nothing about His timing except be patient, living every moment in faith and obedience.  I pray each of us will engage the grace He is willing to expend on us this day.


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2 comments:

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  2. Thanks RSW for the nice comment. Glad this was of interest to you. All the best.

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