“But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live.” – Exodus 1:17 NASB
Our Yahweh God, through the Torah, does not say the midwives saved the babies because they could not bear to harm them, nor does He say the midwives saved the Hebrew babies because they loved them or God. They saved the Hebrew babies because they “feared God!”
Fear of God, when that is the moral God of the Torah, the God of the Ten Commandments, the God Who commanded, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” is necessary to make a society of moral individuals. Of course, there are moral atheists, just as there were and are moral secularists, and moral individuals in even the worst cultures. You cannot build a good world with a handful of individuals who happen to be good people. You need a universal moral code from a universal God who is the source of that moral code, and this God must judge people accordingly. Consequently, “fear of God,” is inevitable as it is necessary.
Please allow me to digress a bit. America was founded on the moral code of the Ten Commandments.
The American Constitution is founded on the moral code of the Ten Commandments. James Madison, the fourth president, known as “The Father of Our Constitution,” made the following statement:
“We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
As the Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…”
If God judges how moral we are, of course there will be fear of Him—just as there is of a human judge. Conversely, if God does not judge people there is no reason to fear Him.
When I speak about the fear of God inevitability people ask me; “Dale, when do you think revival will come to America and the American Church?” My first response is that it may not come soon because we are living in a dangerous season at the present time in which too many churches value meeting felt needs, and unity at the expense of teaching what the whole counsel of God teaches (see 2 Timothy 4:3). In addition, it is likely that we will come to our senses only when external circumstances radically change and we personally feel those changes.
My personal belief is that a national revival and church revival
will only come when there is biblical balance: a deep-seated fear of God along with the Love of God!
That probably will only take place when enough environmental calamities, societal disruptions, medical shortages and financial collapses get the attention of enough people to repent and humbly fall on their knees and cry out to the God of the Bible for mercy. (See 2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
Back to the God-Fearing Midwives
People fear those who are more powerful than they are. Therefore, the only way NOT to fear a powerful people is to fear God. Thus, in the instance recorded here in Exodus, those who feared God saved Hebrew babies, while those who feared Pharaoh helped drown Hebrew babies.
This point is often over-looked: Fear of God is a liberating emotion, freeing one from a disabling fear of evil, and powerful people
This needs to be emphasized because many people see fear of God as onerous (oppressively difficult or burdensome) rather than liberating.
Remember, it was not love for God that prompted the midwives’ moral heroism. In our time, many people invoke the commandment to love God, but ignore or even disparage the commandments to fear our God (here are two such commands: Joshua 24:14; 1 Peter 2:17).
“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt and serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:14 ESV
“Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” – 1 Peter 2:17 NIV
Even our Lord Jesus Christ understood and taught His disciples to have a vibrant fear of God:
“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” — Matthew 10:28 NASB
Also, the Apostle Paul embraced the fear of the Lord when carrying out his ministry of reconciliation to the secular public. (Check out 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 which is the longest passage recorded in the New Testament dealing with reconciliation.)
“Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.” – 2 Corinthians 5:11 NIV
While many God-believers will engage in heroic self-sacrifice out of love for God, most God-believers in history have and will engage in heroic self-sacrifice because they have a deep respect and fear of God.
This fear is what gave the midwives the strength to carry out what is, as far as we know, the first recorded act of civil disobedience in history
From reading portions of Dennis Prager’s commentary on the Book of Exodus, he references a most intriguing insight that “many Jewish dissidents (under the totalitarian Soviet Union) were not religious, but they understood the simple moral and logical fact that if one fears no one except God, one can muster the courage not to fear a totalitarian state. And these simple words also explain why totalitarian states like the Soviet Union so feared and fought against belief in God. Because belief in God posits there is something higher than the Party, it constitutes a fatal threat to secular totalitarian societies (that’s why North Korea, Iran, and Iraq have punished those who own or smuggle Bibles into their country).” p, 11-12
I might add that this is another reason secular pundits here in America attack Christianity so vehemently and disparagingly. They know that followers of Christ ultimately will refuse to pay allegiance to the State because we serve a King beyond any authority here in the United States. In America, many politicians are now un-consciously, or consciously, building people’s allegiance to the state by offering and supplying an inordinate amount of state benefits, which foster an unhealthy dependence on the Government.
Remember, whoever robs Peter to pay Paul will always get the support of Paul
Even we that name the name of Jesus Christ ought to have this reminder that we will all stand before God to be judged for our works, through Jesus Christ our Lord, and receive our rewards (Matthew 10:42; Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 4:5 and many more such verses). This ever-present awareness of God watching us and seeing us is the Fear of the Lord! I would suggest you look up (or click the link) for the various passages that I have referenced and underline them or make comments in your Bible as to what the Lord is impressing upon you when you muse over them. They are so rich!
It is important to point out that Torah’s account of the moral heroism of the midwives is part of a pattern present in the opening chapters of Exodus—the depiction of both non-Jews and women as moral heroes. Here again we discover the uniqueness of Torah. Other holy works have rarely portrayed either people of other nations and religions—let alone women of other nations and religions—as the moral heroes of their epic stories. For an awe-inspiring story of a woman heroin who was not Jewish, but Canaanite, is the marvelous event of Rahab, who is normally understood as a harlot. Interestingly, the word for harlot was also translated as “innkeeper.” It could be that she posed as a harlot! (Joshua 2:6; James 2:25-26; Hebrews 11:31. Profoundly, she is found in our Lord’s genealogy recorded in Matthew 1:5.
What should I do with this information?
First: I would suggest that you might consider paying special attention to the Torah and begin to read from the Book of Exodus in particular. There are many helpful commentaries that will supply you with great insights. Commentaries like Jon Courson’s Application Commentary of the Old Testament; Warren Wiersbe, Be Deliveredand Exodus: God, Slavery, and Freedom, by Dennis Prager. Also, great Bibles with notes like: The MacArthur Study Bible, The Henry Morris Study Bible, and The Life Application Study Bible. The Founders’ Bible— the first 32 articles in this Bible from the Torah are outstanding!
Second: Look up and study the context of each of the verses that I have either referenced or written out in this teaching.
Third: Pray that the Holy Spirit will lead you to God-fearing people and begin to strike up conversations with them asking questions that will give you insight about their background, and what shaped their view of God.
Have a wonderful time!
My next teaching will give further insight about God-fearing people found in the Bible. It is titled: Do you know any God-fearing people who are not part of our Faith? Look for the picture of King Cyrus!
The Holy Spirit will lead you to people who are true God-Fearing People!