Freedom of movement across open borders; liberal immigration policies; as well as the recent “migrant crisis” have resulted in many countries seemingly having to absorb “the nations of the world” into their own land and culture. Along with the economic and cultural benefits come the struggles, as countries grapple with the threat to their national identity and traditional way of life.
Egypt too, it could be argued, was similarly “feeling the pinch.” Having originally during the time of Joseph invited 70 Israelites to settle within its borders, the numbers had since mushroomed, to the extent that Israel was now so large that they were perceived as a threat to the host nations national security, causing Pharaoh to react in a number of ways:-
A – He forced Israel into slave labour on massive urban building projects (Exodus 1 v 11.)
B – He instructed the Egyptian midwives to murder at birth all Israelite males (Exodus 1 v 16.)
C – He decreed that every new born Israelite boy was to be thrown into the river Nile (Exodus 1 v 22.)
Into this maelstrom a young Israelite baby was born; his birth was kept a secret for three months; then in a papyrus basket waterproofed with tar and pitch he was “thrown” into the river Nile only to be discovered in his floating cocoon by Pharaoh’s daughter. What follows teaches us that compassion is rooted in two fundamentals:-
1 – Pathos.
Having retrieved the basket from the water and opened the lid the princess was confronted by an Israelite baby with a strong pair of lungs! She, better than anyone, knew the rules, but instead of tossing him into the fast flowing river – “she felt sorry for him.”
Having compassion for people begins with an emotional response; it is where a connection occurs deep within resulting in us feeling something on the inside. This was the experience of Jesus himself, who was often filled with compassion (Matthew 20 v 34; 9 v 36; 15 v 32 & Mark 1 v 41.)
2 – Pragmatism.
Out of the bulrushes sprang Miriam the baby’s sister, with an offer to provide the princess with a nurse for her new “bundle of joy.” This was readily accepted, with the baby’s natural mother being paid by the princess to look after her own child until he was old enough to move into the royal palace where he was named Moses, which means to “draw out.” This being a clear reference to the past (having being drawn out of the river); as well as to the future (the one who would draw out God’s people from their bondage.)
Having compassion for people is more than a warm feeling inside caused by an emotional response; it must involve the practical reaction of actually doing something, as the feeling is translated into action. This was modelled by Jesus himself, whose compassion led to action (Matthew 20 v 34; 9 v 37; 15 v 36 & Mark 1 v 42.)
Challenge – Are you filled with a compassion that results in practical response?
Morning Service 10:30a.m
Theme: “Tales of the riverbank!”
Reading: Exodus 2 v 1 – 10
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Chris Hughes & Ian Childs