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4 January 2009 – Fear God – Exodus 1:8-22

Friday, December 26, 2008, 16:40
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Sabbath School Lessons by Dr. Robert LaMay

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Fear God

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January 4, 2009

Lesson: Exodus 1:8-22

Key Verse: Exodus 1:17

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Introduction

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Jacob and his sons and their families had moved to Egypt at the time of a great famine. The grace of God had led them to Jacob’s son Joseph, who in turn established them in the land of Goshen; “And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the lad was filled with them” (Ex. 1:7). This came about because of providential care of Jehovah for his chosen people, as Joseph had known, speaking to his brothers, “Fear not; for am I in the place of God? But as for you, thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Gen. 50:19-20). Joseph saw many generations grow having lived to the age of one hundred and ten years. Joseph proclaimed this promise to his brethren, “God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob” (50:24). God had promised Abraham an heir: “he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir; and he brought him forth abroad, and said, look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them; and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be” (Gen.15:4-5).

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Our key verse reads, “But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.” For there came a time when a king came to rule over Egypt who did not know Joseph, and was fearful of the number of Israelites in the land of Goshen. In this fear came the hardened heart of the king who thought it would be best to kill off the male children of the Israelites. However, faith ruled in the hearts of the midwives to reveal the providential care of Jehovah God in the midst of an evil lord. The exodus of God’s people from Egypt reveals to us the keeping of the God’s covenant, that the Triune God of Scripture will deliver his people today in the midst of many who would not only deny his existence, but would seek the termination of his people as well. However, God’s promise holds, as Peter testifies, “Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:25-26).

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The Wisdom of the Wicked – Exodus 1:7-14

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The Lord had given birth to a new nation, promised to Abraham and nourished in the land of Egypt. God’s people grew into a nation of over two million people; “And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.” It was at this time that the revelation of the Lord to Abraham that his seed would be afflicted by an enemy: “Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and that shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation whom they shall serve will I judge; and afterward shall they come out with great substance” (Gen. 15:13-14). The exodus or deliverance begins with these words, “Now there arose up a w king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.” Stephen preached of this deliverance to the elders and scribes of the temple in defense of Jesus (Jehovah is salvation), to hearts that hardened against him who was truly the Messiah (Acts 7), part of which reads, “But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt. Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph. The same dealt subtlety with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live” (7:17-19). Stephen would soon see his Deliverer, of whom he faithfully testified, as he was being stoned, “Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” The people of God in Egypt will see their Deliverer in his servant Moses.

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The king of Egypt told the people that the “children of Israel are more and mightier that we.” What better way to express your own fear that to make others fearful also. The atheist and the evolutionist see the Christians as a threat to their own worldview. They want others to feel this threat so they tell the lie that that the Constitution teaches separation of church and state, saying that education belongs to the state and so the teaching of evolution must be protected. They seek laws that protect ‘abortion on demand,’ the state must then support the likes of Planned Parenthood. They make the Bible’s moral and righteous demands as being tools of the enemy called Christian. Their desire is that of the king of Egypt, “Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.” The enemy would have us bow before their philosophies by removing the Bible and us from the halls of education and the halls of justice and congress.

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Beware of the wisdom of the wicked: “Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.” What better way to keep us from doing what is right than to get us to help them practice their worldview. However, the wicked try to hide their amazement when they see the continued growth of the Christian Church as Christ establishes his kingdom in every nation. Pharaoh was grieved because of what he saw; “But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.” The atheist will not give up but try to make the lives the Christian more miserable. The “Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour; and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field; all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.

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Discussion: What is the worldview and goal of the wicked in regard to the Christian?

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The Faith of the Faithful – Exodus 1:15-22

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Our victory is realized in the faithfulness of our Savior and King, Christ Jesus. Our faith is in Christ who, by his faithfulness, encourages faithfulness in us. The faith-action of the midwives of Israel teaches us of the providential care that God the Father for his people today. It is not our faith that moves God to give us grace and strength in time of need, but that his continued care gives power to our faith that we might act righteously. The Pharaoh spoke to the Hebrew midwives, “of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah; and he said, When ye do the office of midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him; but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.” However, “the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.”

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The king, asking the midwives, “Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?” received this answer, “Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.” It seems that the Hebrew women bore their children quickly. Scripture gives this reason for their childbearing: “Therefore God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.” And because they feared God, God provided for their well-being; John Calvin commenting “that the Israelites owed to the exertions of two women the fact, not only that they survived and were preserved, but also that they flourished more and more, in order that thus the glory of God might shine forth with greater brightness, since he so marvelously preserved his people when very near destruction by these weak instruments. But Moses puts the word “houses” in the plural number, because the people were built up by the increase of the offspring of separate families.”

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Discussion: How is our faith made strong and active in midst of the wicked?

Pharaoh’s response to their obvious blessings, was to charge “all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.” It is the Lord God who protects and nourishes his people in the midst of affliction and adversity, even as the enemy seeks to destroy his people, he is providing for their victory. Therefore, look to Christ the Author of faith, that we should know his saving grace and eternal victory: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” Praise to the Father and to the Son! “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:1-4).

Pharaoh’s response to their obvious blessings, was to charge “all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.” It is the Lord God who protects and nourishes his people in the midst of affliction and adversity, even as the enemy seeks to destroy his people, he is providing for their victory. Therefore, look to Christ the Author of faith, that we should know his saving grace and eternal victory: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” Praise to the Father and to the Son! “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:1-4).

 

Lessons are based on the International Sunday School Lessons for Christian Teaching, copyright © 2009 by the Committee on the Uniform Series.
 
 

 

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