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Exodus 1:22

“Pharaoh commanded all his people, ‘Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.’ ”

Romans 1:18–21 tells us plainly that sin has a drastic impact on our natures. On account of our failure to worship God and give Him thanks—the primal transgressions of all people—we are “futile in [our] thinking” apart from divine grace (v. 21). Sin impairs our judgment and makes it difficult to interpret our experience rightly.

The ancient pharaoh who attempted to reduce the population of the Israelites sojourning in Egypt provides us with a clear example of how sin can blind our minds. Contrary to his expectations, the Israelites multiplied when he enslaved them. Then, the Hebrew midwives failed to carry out his orders to kill the baby Hebrew boys (Ex. 1:8–21). A rational person would have taken a step back and reassessed whether his goal was improper and therefore an explanation for his failure. But the pharaoh resolved himself again and called for the Egyptians to drown all the infant Hebrew boys (v. 22). Giving in fully to his evil and thus to irrationalism, he continued his futile attempts to destroy the people of God. John Calvin comments, “If he had not been transported with wrath and struck with blindness, he would have seen that the hand of God was against him; but when the reprobate are driven to madness by God, they persevere obstinately in their crimes; and not only so, but, like the deranged or frantic, they dash themselves with greater audacity against every obstacle.”

This time, the king of Egypt did not hide his intent. The Egyptian public would not necessarily have seen slavery as a means to control Israel’s population, and they certainly would not have known about his words to the Hebrew midwives (see Ex. 1:18–21). But now the entire country was enlisted in the pharaoh’s evil schemes. Since the Egyptians worshiped the Nile River, the pharaoh may have enacted this plan as part of their religion at the time, with the Hebrew boys being sacrifices to the river. Regardless, all Egypt was now set against the nation of Israel. Indeed, one of the darkest days had arrived for God’s people.

As we will see in the days ahead, the Lord would bring light to this darkness by raising up Moses to deliver His people from Egypt. Centuries later, when God’s people again found themselves in dark times, the Lord would raise up a better Deliverer, Jesus Christ, One greater than Moses who would likewise escape the attempts of an evil king to kill Him in His youth (see Matt. 2:13–18).

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

All human beings are made in God’s image, so fallen human nature is not totally bereft of reason, and rational arguments for Christianity are important. However, we must remember that apart from God’s grace, sinners will not affirm these arguments and bow the knee to the Lord. Let us bathe in prayer our efforts to proclaim and defend the gospel, for people will not believe unless the Lord opens their eyes.


For Further Study
  • Psalm 14:1
  • Jeremiah 31:15–17
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:11–12
  • Hebrews 3:1–6

God Blesses the Midwives

A Fine Child Is Born

Keep Reading Pride and Humility

From the January 2022 Issue
Jan 2022 Issue