February 5, Tuesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The Reward of God”

Exodus 1:15–21 (ESV)

Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, [16] “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” [17] But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. [18] So the king of Egypt called the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and let the male children live?” [19] The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” [20] So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong. [21] And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.

Fear is a powerful motivator.  Fear can drive us to work long hours.  Fear can drive us to avoid certain people.  Fear can drive us to compromise our integrity. Yet the right kind of fear can drive us to stand up against those in power.

Shiphrah and Puah are Hebrew midwives.  They are women in an ancient patriarchal culture, and they are slaves.  The most powerful person in Egypt demands that they kill every boy born to the Hebrews—this is a horrific and evil command from someone who would not think twice about killing them too.  But the midwives fear God. They spare the newborns and as a result God gives them families.

At face value, it appears that the women do a good thing and get a good thing.  But God is not simply giving the women something highly prized in their culture (a family).  They receive something far greater: participating in the promises of God for His people.

In Genesis 12, God promised to make a great nation from Abraham’s descendants.  The growth of the midwives’ families is part of the larger work God is doing of multiplying and growing the people of God in strength.  They are blessed to be fully included in the fulfillment of God’s promises.

When we fear and obey God, He will be faithful and reward us.  This doesn’t mean we will receive whatever seems good to our culture (successful children, a more high profile job, etc.).  Our reward is to be included among His covenant people and to experience the fulfillment of God’s promise to them.

In this stage of redemptive history, the promise of God is that He will bless all the families of the earth and make disciples of all nations through His Son.  Our reward for faith and obedience is to get to see and participate in the fulfillment of this promise.

Prayer: Father, may I fear You above all others, for what can humans do to me?  Thank You that You are almighty and worthy of my trust and obedience. May my household be privileged to be part of Your work of saving the world! Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 41


Lunch Break Study

Read Genesis 29:31–35 (ESV): “When the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. [32] And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the LORD has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” [33] She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. [34] Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. [35] And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she called his name Judah …”

Questions to Consider

  1. In His great love, what does the Lord do for Leah?
  2. What is Leah’s response?
  3. What significant role do her four sons (especially Judah) play in biblical history?

Notes

  1. He opens her womb and gives her four sons.
  2. Leah acknowledges that her sons are from the Lord.  With the first three, she hopes that Jacob will now love her.  With her fourth son, she simply praises God for His goodness to her.
  3. All four of Leah’s sons are namesakes of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.  Through the line of Judah, Jesus is born.

Evening Reflection

Reflect upon your day.  Were there moments you were tempted to fear man rather than God?  If so, go to the Lord in repentance and receive His grace to fear Him.  Were there moments you acted in fear of God? If so, thank God for His strength and pray for more opportunities to seek the Kingdom.

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