Having the fear of the Lord

Published 3:28 pm Friday, January 2, 2009

Scripture: Exodus 1:1-21

Aim: To help the pupil understand that the fear of the Lord and the keeping of His will is better than the approval of others, even leaders and rulers.

Golden Text: “And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses” (Exodus 1:21). “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil” (Proverbs 16:6). “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13). “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). “The fear of the Lord prolonged days” (Proverbs 10:27). “He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the Lord; but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him” (Proverbs 14:2). “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence” (Proverbs 14:26). “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death” (Proverbs 14:27). “Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith” (Proverbs 15:16). “The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom” (Proverbs 15:33).

Much is said in the Scriptures about the “fear of the Lord.” The term “fear of the Lord” is more understandable to us today as the “reverence of Jehovah.” The term indicates one who knows the Lord and reverences Him by honoring and obeying His commandments. It appears that many of us in modern times have little or no “reverence for Jehovah God.” Even many who profess to know and follow Him are set upon being disobedient to the plain commands given in the Holy Scriptures.

This lesson introduces us to two pagan Egyptian women who made personal choices to fear and obey the Lord rather than obey the Pharaoh of Egypt. The result was blessing for these women and the people of Israel.

I. The forgetting of Joseph and his service to Egypt (Exodus 1:1-8). Some generations of Israelites were born and died after the death of Joseph.

Finally, a Pharaoh came to the throne who did not know of Joseph and the great services that he had rendered to Egypt (verse 8).

II. The foolish decisions of the Pharaoh regarding the Israelites (Exodus 9-16).

First, the Pharaoh saw the fast multiplying Israelites and begin to think the situation could become dangerous for Egypt should she have to go to war (verse 10). He only imagined Israel to be a danger to Egypt.

Second, he set about to bring the Israelites into complete submission to the Egyptians (verses 11-16). He set taskmasters over the Israelites and made them servants to the Egyptians, and then slaves. The taskmasters exacted heavy labor and cruel treatment of the Israelites (verse 14).

When Pharaoh saw that they still multiplied greatly, he ordered that they serve with “rigour” (verses 13-14). He “made their lives bitter with hard bondage” and abuse to the people of Israel.

Third, since that did not deter the expanded growth of the Israelites, Pharaoh ordered the two midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, to kill all baby boys at the time of birth (verse 16).

These women had evidently learned about Jehovah God from the Israelites. They had come to “fear,” reverence, Jehovah to such an extent that they were willing to defy the order of the king and refuse to murder new born boys (verse 21).

Look back at the first paragraph of this lesson and read what it means to fear the Lord. These women had cast their lot with Jehovah, the God of the Israelites. They were more concerned to please and obey Him than to obey the Pharaoh of Egypt. That could have cost them their lives, but God took care of them.

May God grant that each of us today will be more concerned about obeying God than that we be “politically correct.” To obey God brings infinite blessings. To disobey brings judgment!