Daily(ish) Blogging in Lent - Day Thirteen
|Shiphrah and Puah [source]|
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, ‘When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.’ But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them... - Exodus 1:15-17
…[God's people] desired a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed… - Hebrews 11:16
What does it mean that the Hebrew people thousands of years ago believed that God was a God of deliverance? Out of slavery? Into promise? God freed God’s people from Pharaoh’s chains! What does this mean?
Abused, enslaved, seen and treated as less than human,
bought and sold as property,
worked to the bone,
out of breath…
What does it mean that there was the Breath of God?
To Shifrah and Puah, to Moses, to Miriam, to Aaron, and to the whole tribe of the Oppressed. An intergenerational con-spiracy (With-the-Spirit). God called. To rebel! To resist. To disobey the king, the pharaoh. To confront power. To up and leave! To “walk out” of an economy that killed their young daily.
And not just their firstborns.
Faith? What was faith? To follow. To move. To be freed.
Through the waters, through desert, through hunger and conflict. Into hope. Promise.
What does this mean?
Has anyone ever told you that your oppression was “your cross to carry?”
Has anyone ever convinced you that you should endure abuse, beatings, enslavement? From a partner? A friend? A parent? A pharaoh?
Has anyone ever told you the lie? You know the lie. That awful, awful lie:
that such a thing is God’s will? That God wills you to suffer? Just enough that you can handle it? As a test?
Don’t listen. Your friend, your pastor, your priest, you sponsor, whomever:
that person is very confused.
God does not want you to suffer. What kind of deliverance is that?
Has anyone ever told you that if you would just accept your situation that it wouldn’t be so bad? To turn off or turn in your hopes and dreams, your desires? Your longing for something New? Healthy? Free from pain and degradation? Free from bondage?
Has anyone ever told you that that’s your solution. Just let go and let God?
Did they tell you that?
Whatever that means?
And then oppression, abuse, pain continued? A vicious cycle, round and round?
Let go and spiral down?
When God’s people, the tribe of the Oppressed, desire something better, God is glad. (Hebrew 11:16).
There is joy in rebellion.
When you are oppressed, beaten, in pain, God desires freedom, escape, deliverance. There is joy in the thought of it. Isn't there?
From any household, any relationship, any country or economy or addiction that dehumanizes you:
degrades you, beats you down, puts you in chains.
More than commodities. More than useful or used. God calls us children. Children called to life.
God's desire: for you to live. In abundance. To thrive.
When you desire, hope for something better, God smiles.
Discontent, restlessness, dissatisfaction. These are not sins. They are longings for life. They are tools of hope, gifts of the Spirit who calls us to Live.
God’s people desire. And of desire God in never ashamed. (Hebrew 11:16)
Deliverance, rebellion, Resurrection.
Faith? To follow. To move. To be freed?
Is God calling you to rebel? To stand up to a Pharaoh? A bully? A king? A situation?
Is God calling you to put down your pharaoh’s rod? To stop your oppression, your bullying? To reconcile with God’s people, the tribe of the Oppressed?
Where is God’s breath? Where is the Spirit in-spiring you? To life? To hope? To desire? To Resurrection?