By: Pastor Brian
The staff and I are going through the book of Exodus for our development time together. In chapter 1 we learn about the terrifying command of Pharaoh to the Hebrew midwives that they kill the male Hebrew children when they assist in deliveries. And we think our government makes unjust laws and regulations!
But the Hebrew midwives refused to follow this godless command. And do you know why? It says in vs. 17, “But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them.” Just in case we miss the motivation of these heroic women, we’re told again in vs. 21, “And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families” (meaning, God also rewarded these women due to their fear).
I’m guessing when you look at the world today you’re concerned about what you see. There’s a lot of injustice out there, isn’t there? And it seems we are losing the ability as a society to find consensus on how to determine what is right and wrong and to appropriately execute justice. We can actually see trust diminishing before our very eyes.
I know I often feel very limited in my ability to make societal change. Does that mean you and I should just give up? No, I don’t think we can do that. And while I may not be able to make sweeping cultural change, I can do something: I can make sure I am living justly. I can be an oasis of light in a culture of darkness. Do you know how? Through the fear of God just like the Hebrew midwives many years ago.
Prov. 14:27 says, “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.” We don’t usually think of the fear of the Lord as such a wellspring of goodness. Fearing God seems antiquated and old-fashioned. “Certainly we’ve graduated from the fear of God!” many think.
But consider what Prov. 14:27 is saying and compare it with our current cultural climate. Death is around every corner. Our only hope is if we turn away from it. But how? How do you know what to turn from? Where do you get the strength to turn? The answer is the fear of the Lord. It’s a fountain of life!
If you’re wondering, “Practically, Brian, what does it mean to fear God?” Exodus, again, provides us some direction here. Starting in Exodus 7, God begins displaying his 10 wonders to the Hebrews and Egyptians. One of the wonders that God brings is raining hailstones on the earth, which destroys all that is exposed to them. God was merciful to all (both Hebrews and Egyptians) by warning them about the coming storm; all people need to do to be saved was listen to God.
The Hebrews listened, but would the Egyptians? Well, some did and some didn’t. Who listened to God’s warning… and why did they listen? Exodus 9:20-21 provide us with the key, “Then whoever feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses, but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the Lord left his slaves and his livestock in the field.” Do you see it? The key is what people did with the word of the Lord. Those who feared God (who feared his word) listened to him; those who didn’t pay attention to his word ignored him.
If you want to be a fountain of life in a dark world, fear God by paying attention to his word. Paying attention to God’s word means doing it! You either bring your livestock in from the hailstones or you don’t! Friends, you know you are fearing God when you do what God’s word says. You know you don’t fear God when you ignore what he says. Choose life, my good FBC friends, and escape the snares of death.