Shemot - January 9, 2021

Torah Portion:
Shemot - January 9, 2021

Torah: Exodus 1:1-6:1
Haftarah: Isaiah 27:6-28:13, 29:22-23
Portion Summary:
—The original immigrants to Egypt are named.
—The new Pharaoh does not know Joseph and becomes alarmed at the Hebrews’ growing numbers.
—The Egyptians enslave the Hebrews and try to enlist the midwives to kill their newborns.
—Moses’ mother gives birth to him and works to save him by setting him afloat in a basket on the river.
—Pharaoh’s daughter finds Moses and adopts him.
—As an adult, Moses kills a cruel overseer and when found out, he flees to Midian.
—He marries a priest’s daughter and tends his father-in-law’s flock.
—Moses confronts a burning bush from which God speaks.
—After some resistance, Moses begins the task of saving his people.
—Moses meets with his brother Aaron and they go to negotiate with Pharaoh.
—Pharaoh refuses to let the people go and burdens the Hebrews with more and harder work.

Devotional by Janet Cothrell:
Desperate Times
“Yet the midwives feared God, so they did not do as the King of Egypt commanded them, but let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, ‘Why have you done this—let the boys live?’ The midwives told Pharaoh, ‘Because the Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women. They are like animals, and give birth before the midwife comes to them.’” Exodus 1:17-19 (TLV)

I read a book titled Christian Ethics that Dietrich Bonhoeffer was writing when he was arrested for espionage against the Nazi state. Bonhoeffer was also involved in Operation Valkyrie (a plot to assassinate Hitler in 1944). His involvement in Valkyrie caused Bonhoeffer to be executed in the last weeks of the war. Through his writings, we can understand how he saw his role in the plot to take another man’s life, even one as heinous as Hitler.

In the book, Bonhoeffer discussed that ethical questions like these needed to be interpreted by the times we live in. This is what the midwives did! Had they been truthful and said that they refused to kill the babies, that would only have resulted in their execution. Those that followed them might not have the same courageous conviction to disobey Pharaoh and face the consequences of that disobedience. Bonhoeffer had a different choice to make; instead of saving lives, he had to consider participating in taking one. For him, saving the lives of countless others was too important to not support the plot against Hitler.

In troubled times we may have to carefully, prayerfully, and without malice look for God’s leading in our actions. Even though we may have to change how we interpret God’s law, we must do so with caution and have precedent to do so.

My King,
Thank You for Your righteous laws, and Your just judgments. I ask You to lead and guide me  (especially in desperate times) to do what You are leading me to do. You are my Rock in times of trouble and distress, and I will turn to You to remain on the path You have for me.
In Yeshua’s name, amen.
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