Pastor Nelson Bonilla: 8-27-23 “ Compassion and Trust. ”

denrob14Events, News, News & Events, SermonsLeave a Comment

Exodus 1:8 to 2:10; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:3-20

The Book of Exodus begins telling us the names of the sons of Jacob who went to Egypt, each with his family and how they were exceedingly fruitful and multiplied greatly, how they increased in numbers, and became so numerous that the land was filled with them. then suddenly verse 8, says, then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.

There is a new Pharaoh, a change of dynasty in Egypt. This new ruler is afraid of the old dynasty’ friends. This new Pharaoh fears how big Israel is and becomes paranoid -and to control them-, orders the increase of their workload and the slaughtered of their male children. In the XII century Spain, Averroes, the Andalusian polymath, and jurist, wrotewith people like Pharoah in mind-, “Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to hatred, and hatred leads to violence. This is the equation.”  

The new Pharoah ordered the killing of every baby boy; he gave the order to the midwives, “if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” He felt threated by the baby boys, but baby girls -according to him- did not pose a threat. Boys grow up to be soldiers. Israel was numerous that the land was filled with them. Potentially they could become a big army. Women, however, were weak before his eyes and did not pose any threat to him. One thing Pharoah ignored was that the God who was with Israel makes the weak, strong. Joel who is believe was a post-exile prophet said, “Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.” Joel 3:10.

Pharoah was afraid of swords and spears in the hands of men; he did not know that it is not about swords and spears. ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6. At this moment in history, the existence of God’s people was at stake and as he does when his people is in danger, God started to act on their favor. This time the weapons he used to give his people the victory was in the hands of five women who according to Pharoah did not pose any threat, these weapons were: compassion and trust.

Compassion and trust are the elements fighting the good fight against ignorance, fear, hate and violence in our story today. Compassion and trust are found in all five women (baby girls) in our story; Shiphrah and Puah, the midwives showed compassion when they did not kill the baby boys and showed trust when they risked their own lives disobeying Pharaoh’s orders because they feared God. Their trust and compassion counterattacked Pharaoh’ violence. Besides these two women we have Pharaoh’s own daughter, Moses’ mother, and sister. These five women without planning it or agreeing it, under God’s guidance conspired against Pharaoh’s evil forces.

Everyone in different ways with their acts of compassion and trust challenged Pharoah’s evil plans and changed not only Israel’s history, but the whole world’s history as well, when through them, God protected the life of Mosses, Israel’s liberator and through Israel, God gave us the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

  In our story, five women took what seemed to be small and insignificant gestures, now considered heroic acts and with these acts they got into “good trouble” and latter because their act of disobedience, God was able to rescue Israel from oppression. The promise of God’s liberation to his people begun with two courageous women, Shiphrah and Puah, continued with a mother who hid her son, a sister who watched and a daughter who disobeyed her evil father.

            What lessons we can learn from this story? We can learn at least three lessons:

First, when we are led by God every little act of love we do, will be magnified by Him. The midwives saved the life of Mose; this was a simple act of compassion. Moses’ mother did another act of compassion, she hid her son, Moses’ sister did the same and Pharoah’ daughter protected him. They did not know who this baby was going to become. God was behind their act of compassion.

Christian singer Jason Gray has a song titled “Every Act of Love” part of the lyrics says, ‘In every act of love we bring the Kingdom come.” And I would like to add that in every act of love we also bring the will of God come. In his song he continues saying, “God put a million doors for his love to walk to. One of those doors are you.” As those five women in Egypt, were doors where God’s love walked, we, with our acts of love and compassion can be doors also where God’s will and love can walk into our world.  

Second, compassion and trust, not fear and hate, build better people and better societies.

The five women of our story did not know it, they were breaking the grounds for a new nation; they were preparing the bases for the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. With their simple act of civil disobedience, God’s power and will were moving. Compassion and trust, not hate and fear, my sisters, and brothers, are two highways over which the will of God moves at high speed. Hate and fear are against it. 1 John 4:18 says: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

I know that in today’s world we have many reasons to be afraid; what we do not have is an excuse to let fear control our lives. When I think of events that could bring fear to my life, I always remember a young girl, maybe 12- or 14-years old. Pledged to be married, she found out that she was pregnant. That was a good reason to feel fear, but then an angel, a messenger from the Lord came and told her “Mary do not be afraid you have found favor with the Lord.” In other words, do not be afraid, God is with you. After this she was not afraid anymore, love for God, willingness to obey and trust drove fear out of her life and our Savior was born.

Whenever I feel fear, I also remember Jesus’ disciples. They were fighting a storm in the Lake of Galilee. Jesus came walking over the waters and told them “Take courage it is I. Do not be afraid.” Their fear was casted away by Jesus’ presence. In all these stories Trust was the element in common. Let us keep trusting the one who called us, the one who saved us.

 Third lesson we can learn is, everything we do will have a ripple effect. This ripple effect will be either positive or negative, in favor of God’s plan or against.

 How can we be sure that everything we do will be positive and part of God’s plan? When whatever we do, -even breaking Pharoah’s orders- we do it out of love and not of fear. Listen to 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” Paul is telling us to be on guard because even without knowing it we can react and do things out of fear. Paul reminds us to stand firm in faith. This means, we must believe that what God says and ask is good for us. Even if sometimes during the process of obedience we see “the earth gives way, and the mountains fallinto the heart of the sea and its waters roarand foam and the mountains quakewith their surging” as psalm 46 says. When those moments come to your life, stand firm and do not fear because “God is our refugeand strength, an ever-presenthelpin trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear.”

 Be courageous and strong, Paul told the church in Corinth. It is not easy to be strong and courageous when things are against us, the midwives knew it, Moses knew it; the prophets from the Old Testament knew it; Jesus’ disciples knew it; we know it. It needs trust, but brothers and sisters trust in God is the best we can do. Therefore, continue being courageous and strong and continue practicing those little acts of love.

Let me finish reading Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,”     

            Remember every little act of love and compassion will have great results in your life and the lives of others. Shiphrah and Puah, Moses’ mother and sister and Pharaoh’s daughter are proof of this. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *