A God Whose Plan Will Not Be Detoured

Pharaoh then commanded all his people: “You must throw every son born to the Hebrews into the Nile…” Exodus 1:22

The evil that seeks to destroy life has existed in our world for a long time. The powers of darkness have been ordering the murder of sweet babies for thousands of years. Yet, like many of you, I’ve watched in absolute shock and horror as arrogant politicians have intensified their pursuit of pro-abortion legislation. Seemingly with blind vengeance, modern statesmen grant permission to slaughter human life without so much as a wink toward apology. It is unnerving, disarming, infuriating, depressing, and quite frankly, demoralizing.

Where is the light? Who are the good guys and where are they? Is there an end to the darkness? This is not new news and these are not original questions. Although shocking perhaps, this depth of evil is not a novelty in our earth’s history.

At the beginning of the book of Exodus, the Bible tells us the Israelites (or Hebrews) were multiplying in the land of Egypt. The family who began as seventy persons has grown to an innumerable people. The God of Israel has blessed them, just as He promised Abraham He would. However, as often goes the historical theme and plot, there arises a ruler who is unaware of the history of this people, and the strong ties between his very existence and this great family. He doesn’t know the story. He wasn’t listening in History class.

The Bible tells us this powerful Pharaoh concocts an evil plan to lower this blessed population by conjuring fear and paranoia in the hearts of his own people. He plants seeds of imagined conflict and fabricated betrayal, which leads to his precise and only solution: Kill all the baby boys of the Hebrews.

Phase One in the Pharaoh’s murderous plan was to have the Egyptian midwives do his dirty work. He orders them to kill the baby boys of the Hebrew women in the midst of their delivery, but he underestimates the character of the midwives. They fear God and, in defiance of Pharaoh, they protect the lives of the baby boys. The Bible tells us God blessed these precious midwives because of this.

When the evil monarch’s plan with the midwives proves unfruitful, he sends orders out to all his people: You must throw every son born to the Hebrews into the Nile.

That’ll do it.

Can you imagine the chaos and the pain? Can you hear the sounds and feel the agony of those days? The broken cries of mothers. The desperate weeping of fathers. The painful confusion of big brothers and older sisters. It must have truly been an absolute terrorizing time for the people of Israel. One minute you are celebrating, the next minute you are mourning. One moment you are happily living your life, the next moment life has so dramatically changed that you hardly recognize it. The grief must have been unbearable. All peace and sanity was lost. Precious little bodies floating facedown in the strong current of the Nile. Surely the angels wept as their heavenly nursery filled so quickly.

What is it about power and position that can turn a human heart so dark, so evil? What could possibly overcome this murderous level of darkness?

Is there a light, some light, any light?

They say there is something special about the moment just before the sun peaks over the horizon. They say the sky in that moment, just before the light breaks through, is at its darkest. The people of Israel had reached their darkest night indeed.

The light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.    John 1:5

A ray of light comes from a courageous and cunning Hebrew mother. The Bible tells us in another passage that there was a man named Amram, and he married a woman named Jochebed. We know from the Scriptures they had three children, the youngest being a beautiful baby boy. Now Jochebed is diligent to hide her baby son as long as she can, but ultimately, she takes an unspeakable risk and concocts a shrewd plan of her own. The baby-basket-blanket-161534Bible tells us she made a basket, coated it to seal it like a small ark, placed her beautiful son into that basket… and then she placed that basket among the reeds along the riverbank of the Nile.

I wish I could have heard the whispers Jochebed spoke to herself and to that sweet baby boy in those desperate moments. The words she would’ve rehearsed… “Well, he’s in the Nile. I put him in the Nile.” The petitions she would’ve prayed… “Oh God of my fathers, remember Your servant Joseph. Remember Your promise.” The story she would’ve told of Noah in the ark… “And God closed the door. And God saved Noah inside the ark…”

I can almost feel her pounding heart in her ears.

I can see her brimming tears, then falling down her cheeks.

I can hear her lips pucker for the gentle kisses against baby skin.

I can sense her resolve as she placed her young infant into those reeds.

I can see her waiting… rocking in her chair… cradling her face in his blanket.

Did she know what would happen? Was her placement of the basket a strategic one? Or did she hope to hide him for an hour, and then go get him out again? Or had she practiced with Miriam, the big sister, what she was to say? Did she know the princess would be bathing close by?

Heart pounding. Prayers lifted. Tears brimming. Promises reminded. Chair rocking.

I have found in my few years of reading the Holy Scriptures that no one paints a story like the Ultimate Author. The twist in the plot. The unseen hand. The page turn that you didn’t see coming. The light in the darkness.

The Bible tells us that Pharaoh’s daughter went to bathe in the Nile, and she saw the little basket among the reeds.

Heart pounding. Prayers lifted. Tears brimming. Promises reminded. Chair rocking.

When the princess opened the basket, she saw the child… he was crying.

Heart pounding. Prayers lifted. Tears brimming. Promises reminded. Chair rocking.

MosesRescued_FromTheNile“Poor little thing. He’s one of the Hebrew babies!”

Did time stand still for just a second? What would she do? The Bible tells us her servant girls were all around her. They all saw the baby. They all knew what Pharaoh had ordered.

Then comes my favorite part…

Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go call a Hebrew woman who is nursing to nurse the boy for you?”

“Go,” Pharaoh’s daughter told her. So the girl went and called the boy’s mother.

Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse him for me, and I will pay your wages.” So the woman took the boy and nursed him. (Exodus 2:7-9)

Only the Ultimate Story-Maker, the Creator-God could pull the heartstrings of compassion inside the breast of a pagan princess, and then pay a mother the wages to nurse her own son.

The light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness has not overcome it.   John 1:5

This is not the end of the story. It is only beginning. It is only part of the story.

There is hope in the midst of despair.

There is light in the darkness of chaos.

There are midwives who defy an evil ruler.

There is a mother weaving a basket.

There is a pagan princess who will show pity.

And there is a God whose plan will not be detoured.

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

 

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