Exodus 1:15–20; Jeremiah 19:3b–6; 33:6–9; Romans 8:1
Be Warned About God’s Judgment (Jer. 19:3b–6)
In the book of Jeremiah, God warns Judah that if she doesn’t repent, she will be destroyed just like her sister Israel. Indeed, Israel was destroyed in 722/721 b.c. at the hands of the Assyrians. Now, the Babylonians were knocking on Jerusalem’s door, but God gives His people one more chance to repent. God’s Word is relevant today, just as it was in Jeremiah’s time. People worship their own Baals today. Money, sports, and celebrities are only a few of our man-made gods. One of the great tragedies of our time is the shedding of innocent blood through abortion. Every year in the United States, approximately 1.3 million children are killed through this diabolic measure. The innocent victims of abortion cannot verbally express the pain they experience through abortion, but doctors affirm that an unborn child at 20 weeks gestation is fully capable of experiencing pain. Robert J. White, a professor of neurosurgery, said that abortion “is a dreadfully painful experience for any infant.” Billy Graham once said, “If God doesn’t soon punish America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Receive and Proclaim God’s Forgiveness (Jer. 33:6–9; Rom. 8:1)
Jeremiah 30–33 is called the “Book of Comfort” because in it God promises the restoration of His people after they will be judged. God is a just, holy and righteous God, and He must punish sin, but in His love and kindness, He always looks to forgive and restore those who have repented of their sin. God’s restoration as promised by Jeremiah will entail both a physical and spiritual restoration. The physical restoration will be experienced by their return to their land, the rebuilding of homes, and the working of their fields (Jer. 32). The spiritual restoration will entail cleansing of sin and the resulting joy and peace. But an essential part of this restoration must be the fear of the Lord. It doesn’t matter what sin you committed. If you turn to God in sincere repentance, He will forgive you, even if the sin you committed is abortion, murder, lying or cheating. David and Moses were both murderers, and God forgave them. But we have to repent of our sin. We must acknowledge that we committed the sin, feel sorry for committing the sin, and then turn around and not commit the sin anymore. Not too many years ago newspapers carried the story of Al Johnson, a Kansas man who came to faith in Jesus Christ. What made his story remarkable was not his conversion, but the fact that as a result of his new-found faith in Christ, he confessed to a bank robbery he had participated in when he was 19 years old. Because the statute of limitations on the case had run out, Johnson could not be prosecuted. Still, he believed his relationship with Christ demanded a confession. And he even voluntarily repaid his share of the stolen money.
Work to Protect Human Life (Ex. 1:15–20)
Exodus 1 depicts an excellent biblical example of how Hebrew women protected the lives of babies in spite of Pharaoh’s edict that every Hebrew baby boy born must be thrown into the Nile. The Hebrew midwives Shiphrah and Puah are rewarded by God because they wouldn’t murder newborn babies. The Bible tells us clearly that the midwives’ actions were rooted in the fact that they feared God. Exodus 20:20 states that the fear of the Lord is key to a holy, righteous life. Moses tells the people that “the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” The protection of human life is not restricted to abortion, but includes the elderly and the disabled. Thus, euthanasia is just as diabolic and sinful as abortion. We need to understand that God is God and we are not. As Job so well stated, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). God is the One who gives life, and He is the One who takes it. He is the One who does everything beautiful in His time, and He is in charge of humankind and history.
(Editor’s Note: Dr. Tiberius Rata is professor of Old Testament Studies and chair of the Department of Biblical Studies at Grace College and Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, Ind. This article first appeared in The Alabama Baptist (thealabamabaptist.org) and is used with permission.)