The Midwives’ Dilemma — When should people disobey the government?
Reading 1: Exodus 1
Reading 2: Acts 4:18-20
Reading 3: Acts 5:26-32
Today we move into the second book of the Old Testament, Exodus, and the focus shifts from the family of Jacob (Israel) to the nation of Israel. Jacob brought 11 sons with him from Canaan to Egypt during the famine. Their families, along with the family of Joseph, grow numerous, causing fear to the Pharaoh and the Egyptians.
Fear mixed with earthly power always causes injustice. Notice that none of that evil trinity is found in God – He is just, loving, and all-powerful. The injustice in this case is the order to the Hebrew midwives to kill the baby boys (this being a male-dominated society). In this ancient echo of the Christian pro-life movement, the midwives chose to obey God (the Giver of Life) rather than Pharaoh (the giver of orders). When government mandates death, it is God’s heart that we choose life.
This is reflected in the two additional readings today, when the leaders of the early church choose to obey God when forced by the authorities to choose. When earthly authority insists we go against God’s instructions, it is our duty to disobey government rather than God.
Have a great day!