Tuesday, January 6: Exodus 1:8-22
The story on Sunday, from Matthew 2:13-23, showed us what can happen when jealously gets out of control. King Herod heard from the wise men that a new king had been born in Israel. A new king! “No one will take my throne,” Herod thought. He flew into a jealous rage and ordered that all the children in Bethlehem under the age of two years old be killed. Can you imagine the terror in that town the day those soldiers stormed into the streets?
Today’s reading takes us back to another story where the same thing happens. The king of Egypt, the Pharoah, saw the Hebrew people and he was afraid of them. He thought that if they grew too large in numbers that they might some day rise up against him and take his throne. He couldn’t let that happen, so he ordered that all the baby boys be killed.
These kings were jealous of their power and it led to the slaughter of innocent children.
Is jealousy wrong? Not always. You see, jealousy is different than envy. To be envious is to want what someone else has. To be jealous is to not want someone else to have what you have. Did you know that God is jealous of you? God does not want false gods and sin to have you and to steal you away from a loving relationship with God (Exodus 20:1-6). A parent is jealous of her child, because she doesn’t want drugs, or fear, or violent and corrupt people to take the child from her. These are good forms of jealousy.
There is a big difference between the kind of jealousy the kings had and the kind of jealousy God has. The kings were jealous of their own power and God is jealous of pure love. The kings were selfish and wanted to be on top of the world. God is selfless and wants to give you the world. The kings’ kind of jealousy always leads to violence and the oppression of the innocent. God’s jealousy flows from love and always protects the innocent and helpless against violence.
What are you jealous for today? Do you want to be powerful or important? What would you be willing to do to keep your power or popularity? Pray that God’s love would flood your heart and that you would find ways to be like the midwives in Egypt and protect the innocent from the violence of power-hungry, jealous people today.