September 25th 2017 – Exodus 2:1-4

Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him.

Exodus 2:1-4

With these verses we are introduced to a completely different kind of atmosphere from that of the previous chapter. There, it was the wide sweep of the national interest, here it is a domestic picture, and nevertheless the underlying theme is the same in both cases, the sovereignty of God. The humanness and apparent domestic insignificance of this story are lovely to see, presenting a welcome contrast to the harshness of Israel's lot as described in the previous chapter. But its real significance is much deeper, for we are to see in this idyllic picture the mighty works of God beginning to operate in answer to the prayers of His people. This is the 'inside story', so to speak, of the divine initiative in history, not indeed associated with dramatic and spectacular manifestations of power, but in the context of ordinary, everyday events and human happenings. Again it is the 'hiddenness' of God's working that is stressed. No one could have thought anything unusual or significant had happened in the birth of a little one into the Levite family, yet this was God's answer to the plight of His people. It is very striking to view this in relation to more recent situations in the life of the Church. We know, for example, how much earnest prayer arose in the Church in the early nineteenth century, among people like Robert Murray McCheyne and the Bonars, for spiritual awakening to bring deliverance and renewal. What we perhaps tend, however, to overlook, is that the band of men whose hearts God touched to become the leaders of the great 1859 revival were born into the world at the time these earlier prayers were ascending to God! We should not be surprised if, when we cry to God to raise up men after His own heart, He begins at the beginning, to do a new thing. It is twenty years now, in the early post-war era, since God began to burden His people to pray for revival and the renewal of the Church, and it may be that in the generation now reaching adult life we shall see the significant answer to these early cryings to God!