Look What God Can Do!
Every person can see God’s power by looking at the events he caused.
I am sure that any person who has ever been a parent has heard that phrase, “look what I can do.” The people that live next to my parents have a pool and they will often invite our children over to swim while we are there. One day we went over there to swim and the daughter who teaches swimming classes was there. Since she was there she volunteered to teach my children some of the things she teaches during swimming lessons.
One of the things she did was to teach the kids how to dive from the diving board and to dive from the edge of the pool. You might imagine I had several excited children. They had learned some new things and they wanted to show someone what they had learned. So I watched children dive. I saw some of my children swim from one side of the pool to the other. They had acquired new skills and they wanted to demonstrate those new skills. Many times as a parent I will look at that and I will say, wow, I did not know they could do that.
Perhaps this passage could be an experience somewhat like that. It is not about God learning something new, and it might not even be about him doing something new for us. It could be about remembering some of God’s abilities through the events that take place.
Event I. Multiplication
A. After Joseph brought his family to Egypt he and all of his siblings eventually died. After a period of time the authority that Joseph had experienced wore off and the Egyptians began to question why all of these Hebrews were in their country. I think that part of the reason this question came up is because the Hebrews were becoming great in number. God had caused them to multiply. Perhaps this was how God was going to get his children back to the land of Canaan, a land that had been promised to them. As the king notices the numbers of the Hebrews becoming greater he becomes concerned that they might not side with the Egyptians. So the king tries to stop the growth of the Hebrews.
B. His first plan was to enslave them. If they are working hard as slaves they won’t have the time to make babies. So he makes them slaves and he works them tremendously hard. Despite his efforts the number of Hebrews continues to grow. So his next plan is to order the midwives who deliver the babies to kill all of the boys. Very simply without boys you cannot have babies and the boys will be the ones who grow up to be fighting men. This plan fails also. Then he reinforces this order by telling them to drown the boys. No matter what Pharaoh did he could not stop the Hebrews from multiplying.
C. The Hebrew people were on their way to making a nation. They were going to be God’s people. As they moved into a new territory they would look more impressive as a group of a million as opposed to a group of 70. So God causes their numbers to increase. Even when Pharaoh does all that he can to keep them from multiplying, God makes them grow.
D. I know there were times when the Hebrews thought that God was either working against them or that he had forgotten them. When I read this passage I can see where God is at work in these people. Even though Pharaoh had it in his heart to destroy them, God had it in his heart to make them great. Even though we might think God has forgotten us, or maybe we feel that God is working against us, he is really right there with us.
Event II. Fear
A. The other day we were cleaning out a room to get new carpeting. As we were doing that I had my daughter stand by the door and hold it. While she was doing what I told her to do, her mother called her and asked her to do something else. You could see that she was really uncertain about which she should be doing. I was right there so I released her from holding the door and allowed her to go do what her mother wanted.
B. The Hebrew midwives delivered the babies of the Hebrews. Pharaoh called to them and gave them this command in v. 16. "When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live." I think these women felt like my daughter. They had to choose the right thing to do or to obey Pharaoh. If these women were not comfortable with this command I would guess this would be hard. They a placed in a very difficult situation. They have been called upon to kill children, but in the very next verse we are told these women feared God. I would guess that they feared Pharaoh, but their fear of God was greater. They choose to follow God rather than follow Pharaoh.
C. These women are so convinced of their decision that when they are asked to account for their actions it appears that they lie to Pharaoh. They know what they have been asked to do, and they tell Pharaoh that the Hebrew women are giving birth before they have a chance to get to them. This might be how God had prevented these women from getting into trouble or he might have troubled them so that they wanted to lie. We are told in v. 20 that their decision brought blessing and they had children.
D. These women honored God and it brought blessing into their life. I don’t believe that this is a formula that we can bank on, but I do believe that it is a path that leads us toward blessing. It would certainly lead us to believe that when we are obedient God is more likely to bring blessings into our life. In Malachi 3 we are event told that if we will be obedient in our giving God will bless us.
Event III. Found
A. In chapter 2 we read of a Hebrew couple who had a son. They feared for the life of this child so they kept him hidden as long as possible. When the boy was about three months old the mother could no longer hide the child. So rather than killing him she placed him in a basket that had been fashioned into a little boat. The little boat with the baby in it was placed in the Nile River. There it drifted into the vicinity of Pharaoh’s daughter. She found the child and desired to raise it. Even though she knew it was a Hebrew child she wished to raise the child.
B. As I look at this I think if this child would have floated up to any other Egyptian in the country this child would have been killed. I can imagine her going to Pharaoh, batting her big brown eyes and asking, “Can I keep it?” Because Pharaoh is daddy she can get away with this. Any other person in the country would have to kill the child. Since this is pharaoh’s daughter she is allowed the keep the boy and allow him to live. I don’t know what the chances of this happening are, but if I had to guess I would say that things working out this way were slim to none. The only way it was possible for this to happen is if God was involved.
C. We could let our minds wander and think of all sorts of bad things that could have happened to this baby. Instead of something terrible happening we see him being delivered into the hands of the only person in Egypt who could save his life. It is really a miracle what God did for this little baby.
D. If God was able to work in these circumstances wouldn’t it make sense that God is able to do equally amazing things in our lives as well? We need to continually draw closer to God.
Event IV. Returned
A. When my son Joshua had his front tooth knocked out on the water slide at camp there was little hope that it would ever be found. This was something that had never been done in the history of this water slide. There had been teeth found, they were usually taken out of the filter after it was too late to have them put back. This time however, the life guard prayed that they might be able to find this tooth. The first thing he saw as he stepped into the pool was the missing tooth. It was a miracle that they were able to find the tooth. So far it is doing what it is supposed to do.
B. Moses’ sister Miriam was spying on the basket, so she is nearby when her brother is found. Pharaoh’s daughter brings the boy out of the water and Miriam is able to offer to find a nurse for the boy. At his age he would need a woman to nurse him, and to my knowledge they did not have a Wal-Mart to purchase formula to feed the baby. This is a chance for Moses’ mother to have more time with her baby. We don’t know how long he was with his parents. Some suggest he was with his mother until he was 13, while others suggest he was with her until he was three. I would guess that his parents really felt blessed to be able to have their child back in their home. To add to the blessing Pharaoh’s daughter pays the mother to raise her own child. Of course this is information that Pharaoh and his daughter did not know. God made sure that Moses got some of the training he needed before he was moved into Pharaoh’s house. It seems to be the best of both worlds. Moses was able to spend more time with his mother and he was raised in Pharaoh’s house where he received great education and care.
C. This was much more than a coincidence. God had big plans for Moses, and just as he did with Joseph he is beginning to put him in the right places to make sure he is being prepared for the future God has for him. God had put Moses exactly where he wanted him.
D. It might be wise for us to remember all of this when we think that our situation has gotten so far out of control that even God cannot handle it. God not only handled this situation, but he did it in a way that everyone knew this had to be God. We need to always remember that our God is a God of the impossible.
Maybe you have heard the phrase of “dumbing down”. I think it becomes very easy for us to dumb down God. We don’t see him do the amazing things he did in the Bible and so we stop believing that he is able to do those things. God does not change and he does not lose power over time. Sometimes there might have been hundreds or even thousands of years between amazing things God did. He does not become less powerful because we don’t see him doing those kinds of things.
We need to remember part of the reason God demonstrated his power here is because of the faithfulness of the people involved. We are more likely to see God’s power demonstrated when we have a relationship with him.