Bright lights are those believers who develop and maintain a positive testimony for God despite the dark conditions in which they must live. They do not succumb to the deadening influence of those around who have no desires to please the Lord. Their light is not dimmed because others are not shining for God. NO, they go on in faithfulness, with consistency of life and testimony As a result, they are marked in the pages of God’s Word as those who honored Him. Because of this, God honors them (1 Sam. 2:30).
Enoch, who we considered last month, was a bright light for God in the days before the flood. But there were other dark days in the experiences of God’s people, such as those days when Israel was in Egypt. The Word of God records a period of severe darkness during which some shone brightly for God.
Darkness of Egyptian Experiences
In Egypt there was severe opposition to God’s people from one who occupied the highest position in the land. Pharaoh determined to destroy the people, the progeny for God and continuation of God’s testimony, the line through which the Messiah would come, and to ruin their families as a result. The decree went out that every man child was to be thrown into the river while every girl child would be saved alive. What a disaster for families! What discouragement for anyone in that day as they thought of the future of the nation! Behind this opposition, we can discern the working of the evil one, the devil, to destroy all that is of God. Surely there were overwhelming obstacles to prevent anyone from going on for God in such a day! What could they do? Where would they turn? The godly Israelite turned to the Lord and cried to Him (Exod 2:23-25) and God heard.
It was a day in which the burdens of slavery were added to the dilemma of death. They were forced to toil under extreme severity to build cities for Pharaoh. What future would these conditions hold for them? There was no time for anything for God, no opportunities to serve Him, nor any leisure to contemplate and meditate on their God. The pressures of their lives and circumstances became a slavery and bondage that would stamp out any consideration of spiritual things in the normal way. In such a time, we can see that severe discouragement would result, and they would lose sight of the greatness of God and His sufficiency to meet their needs.
It was also a day when the majority of the people had turned to idolatry, at least in some measure. They never seemed to lose sight of God completely but the language of Scripture seems to indicate they had adopted the pagan practices of Egypt by this time. The effects of the Egyptian culture and society had caused them to adopt Moloch and Remphan (Chiun) (Amos 5:25-26, Acts 7:42), idols which they carried with them into the wilderness even as they professed allegiance to Jehovah. They reverted to the worship of the bull Apis at the foot of Mt. Sinai (Exod 32:1-4), an idol they had seen and possibly worshipped in Egypt. With such conditions, how could anyone let their light shine so that they could be a positive testimony for God? Surely with Pharaoh’s edict ruining their will to live, bondage robbing them of strength to labor and Egyptian idolatry sapping their spiritual power, there was not much to encourage them to go on! Yet we thank God there were those who rose above the distressingly dark circumstances of their day to live for God and go on for Him.
Does not Egypt suggest conditions many of God’s people face today? Is there a diabolical power seeking to ruin families and hinder perpetuation of God’s testimony? Isn’t there an aspect of spiritual powers seeking to enslave God’s people in the business world, in the commercial and social world as well as in the leisure world of this day? Cannot we see the tendency toward forms of idolatry as material things become substitutes for the place God is to have. Are there those who will rise above these conditions and shine for God? Yes, there are those who will do so in our day just as they did in the past.
Exercise of the Godly Couple
In those circumstances, we find a couple who rose above the restrictions and binding conditions of their lives. In Exodus 2, we find a couple named Amram and Jochabed (Exod 6:17-26, Num 26:58-60, I Chron 6:1-3) who displayed godly exercise despite the darkness.
Note that Jochebed was born after her father Levi came into Egypt (Num 26:59). Thus she was one who personally only knew Egyptian conditions, yet those conditions didn’t rob her of spiritual exercise for God. Her name means “Jehovah is glory or honor,” indicating that her parents had hearts centered on God and His glory even in such a land. Amram married within the tribe of Levi, desiring a wife with similar convictions to his own, a vital factor in determining the future of the married life. He actually married his aunt, permissible in those days. His name means “exalted people,” showing the faith of his parents that God would deliver Israel from bondage. Parents can give guidance and help to determine the future potential of their children as they anticipate their part in fulfilling God’s work in their day.
When their son, Moses, was born, they saw him as a child with potential for God. This shows an exercise to have children that could be raised for God and His use. “Stephen states that Moses was fair to God, beautiful in God’s sight (Acts 7:20). This gives the key to their faith. They were not merely delighted at the natural beauty of their child, their faith enabled them to realize that God had purposes in view for him, and enabled them to defy the power of the world and the decree of its king” (W E. Vine). “If it is the nature of faith to bring the future into the present, then it must be believed that these parents saw beyond the physical, and recognized a moral worth in their child, and indeed a prophetic destiny, and they were determined to save him from death in the river.” Q. M. Flanigan, “What the Bible Teaches”). Such faith shines brightly when the darkness is most intense around it, and in this way Amram and Jochebed were a positive testimony.
Their determination resulted in efforts to save Moses’s life. First, hidden in the home at great hazard, then in the ark on the banks of the river. They had to trust God to enable them to hide him in their house, but in a greater way they trusted God to protect him in the very river that was Egypt’s instrument of death. The reality of their faith was displayed and proven as God upheld them and preserved the child. In our day, how good it is when parents see potential for God in their children and seek to preserve them in the home environment, and when they must leave, in faith commit them to God for His preserving care.
God honored their exercise, and the results are well known. What a difference from what might have been if they had despaired and not determined to display their confidence in God and His purposes for their children. We often think of Moses, but Amram and Jochabed’s three children went on to be used of God to lead His people. This seems to be at least partly the result of their parents’ purpose to honor the Lord and trust Him in the darkness of their day
May God help believing parents today, in a world that wants to take your children and rob God of them! May you too have the faith of an Amram and a Jochebed to preserve, protect, and hedge in your children by the Word of God and prayer! Then may you be given faith to trust God to bless in their salvation and preservation for Him! Honor God in this way, and we are sure God will honor you.