In this study, we will be focusing on Light. The ultimate source of that Light is the Lord, as is stated in I John 1:5. We will also see His Light shining through people. Along the way we will encounter the darkness that occurs when the Light is absent.
Verses 1-5-"Now these are
the names of the children of Israel which came into Egypt; every man and
his household came with Jacob. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar,
Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. And all the souls
that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was
in Egypt already."
There's plenty of God's light in this opening passage. Jacob had the Light of faith in his life. And, oh, how much did Joseph carry that Light through his life and trials! These men spread their Light to the entire tribe of Israel, sanctifying God's Chosen People of the old Covenant. Then, in time Joseph and his generation passed away:
Verse 6- "And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation."
Nevertheless, the Light continued to shine on God's people:
Verse 7- "And the Children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them."
But now notice how the Biblical account changes:
Verses 8-14- "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; 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. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children 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."
Can you see how the Light of the Lord is being extinguished here? Now don't say "So what?" For this same darkness plagues the Church today, beloved. It causes us to often experience service "with rigour," just as God's people of old. The point is, the new Egyptian king lacked faith in the Lord. Without faith, he begins to spread darkness instead of Light. Jacob is gone, and Joseph is gone. And it will take men of faith to bring the light back to the family of God and, ultimately to the world. Let's read on:
Verses 15-16- "And the king
of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was
Shiphrah, and the name of the other was Puah: And he said, When ye do the
office of a 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
Man, how low we stoop, and how quickly, when we walk in darkness. This is genocide. It is the Devil's own work, though as is often the case when we are faithless, this Egyptian king may think he is only doing service to himself.
If only the Light that had been in Joseph were still present. Would another faithful man arise? Let's read on:
Verse 17- "But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive."
It was getting so dark! But the faith of these two women is just like a window open to Heaven. They aren't men! But that means nothing to God. The Lord wants to get His Light into the world today, as He did back then. He will work through any one, either gender, any race. The qualification is true, active, faith. Remember, beloved, faith ain't faith at all unless it produces action, as is well stated in the New Testament Book of James. Let's look on at the action and courage of these wonderful ladies:
Verse 18-19: "And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them."
What a Light in dark, dark place! They could have been jailed or worse for what they were doing here. Do you know that they had a part in saving the very bloodline that brought Jesus Christ into the world? God understood their faith and courage. Look:
Verses 20-21- "Therefore God delt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses (this doesn't mean just a place to live, but that they were blessed with children of their own)."
The Light of the Lord, shining through these midwives, brought blessing to the people in that day, and to them in particular, and eventually to you and me through Christ in our day. True faith brings God's true Light into our world and leads to the accomplishment of God's will for all of us.
But the Devil works on in the darkness of our unbelief:
Verse 22- "And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive."
Let's remember Shiphrah and Puah in the New Year, beloved, for darkness falls far too easily on all of us. And let's remain open, through faith, to the Light, Which is God. Listen as the Apostle John addresses this principle for us in the New Covenant: