Exodus Genocide—Further Reflections

If there is anything to be learned from the story of Exodus it is that God is sovereign. That is, God is in control. There is no power that can stand against Him. There is no decree that He cannot thwart. There is no king that He cannot defy. God is God, and we are but mere men. He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.

Exodus 1 records the magnificent growth of the Israelites during their early years in Egypt. When they first arrive in the land, they are seventy strong. Before long that seventy is multiplied many times over, enough so that the new Pharaoh gets antsy about the growing Hebrew population. His solution to the population problem at hand is to kill all boys upon birth. Initially he instructs the Hebrew midwives to take care of this task, a task that they refuse to do out of fear of the Lord. Thus, he turns to his own people to take care of the matter. An edict that, by all accounts, is successful as the decree takes effect.

However, God has a different plan for a young baby born to a Levite couple. Fast forward a few verses and you find this baby boy is named Moses, and he will eventually serve as the one who will lead God’s people out of captivity in Egypt. As a baby, Moses is saved through the divinely-guided effort of his mother and sister, and is spared the death which was certainly his as a Hebrew boy born during the time of the decree.

With this in mind, it is entirely plausible to at least consider the following question. If God is sovereign, why did He allow so many Hebrew babies to be put to death? If God was sovereign over the decree, then why did He not intercede on behalf of more?

The short answer: I do not know, but I trust Him. God, speaking to and through the prophet Isaiah says it this way,

8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
9For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

God is sovereign. While I wish He would have saved more babies, no doubt, I trust Him at His word and at His deed. He gives and He takes away, and only He can truly know the right time to carry out which action. This much I do know: God superseded on behalf of His people when He spared Moses’ life. It was this divine action against the human initiative that led to one of the most incredible accounts of God’s faithfulness to His people, and His mighty power of deliverance for His people.

It is not my place to doubt the decisions of God. It is my place to trust God at His word, and trust that He knows what He is doing. After all, He is God and I am man.


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