Speaking for the Voiceless

Too often when it comes to certain passages of Scripture, we get overly caught up in one part. We say, “Proverbs 31. I know that passage. It’s about the godly woman.” And in so doing, we miss the first nine verses of the chapter—or at least skim right over them in an effort to reach the passage we know and love. For example, Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed.  Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy” (emphasis added).

I posit that there are no more voiceless people on this earth than unborn children. And the saddest part is that they, the most voiceless, most helpless of all creatures, are actively oppressed. And a disturbing fact about this topic is that the statistics cannot be trusted. The CDC reported 652,639 abortions during 2014.[1] However, according to the Guttmacher institute, there were 926,200 abortions performed in 2014.[2] The increase is due to the fact that, “Since 1997 [the CDC] have received incomplete results or no abortion statistics from various states including Maryland, California, and New Hampshire.”[3] (In addition, why do we only have numbers until 2014? That was 3 whole years ago.) According to my own research, assuming the CDC’s numbers as reliable (12.1 abortions per 1,000 women = 0.0121%) I came to the conclusion that there were 766,614 abortions in 2014. (It is equivalent to 2,099 abortions every day in 2014.) This is 766,614 too many abortions.

In my Bible reading today, I started the book of Exodus. The following passage smacked me in the face for the first time in my life:

Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you help the Hebrew women give birth, observe them as they deliver. If the child is a son, kill him, but if it’s a daughter, she may live.”  The Hebrew midwives, however, feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live. (Exodus 1:15-17).

What I want to focus on for a few minutes is the phrase, “The Hebrew midwives, however, feared God.”

However is the primary word. The king commanded the Hebrew midwives to practice post-birth abortions in order to cut off a future generation of offspring for the Hebrews. What we expect to see after the however is “did not murder the boys.” Instead, it drops this bomb on the reader (and especially upon us today): “feared God.” The text says, “The Hebrew midwives, however, feared God.”

And when it comes to explaining the importance of what is going on in this passage, I must quote my little sister, who occasionally blogs on her own site. She writes on the midwives’ fear of God:

The text makes no mention of any hesitation, deliberation, or protestation on the part of the midwives with regard to the king’s command. . . . It is in verse 17 that the audience of Exodus, both original and present, finds the first distinct mention of God in the entire book. In conjunction with this mention, the text introduces an important theme for the rest of Exodus and the Old Testament as a whole: the fear of God.

The verb translated “feared” in verse 17 . . . especially refers to the fearful reverence paid to a powerful authority when “an individual recognizes the power and position of the individual revered and renders him proper respect.”[4] In other words, [the word] carries the sense of one’s fear and respect for God born of what one knows about His holy character and omnipotence. It is this fear, then, that propels a person to “righteous living” and, in the words of the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, “is the kind of fear for which God rewarded the Egyptian midwives.”[5] . . .

As one commentator makes clear, they recognized Him as the creator God and the source of life,[6] and they knew that to defy His order for life by instigating death was to invite consequences greater than any exactable by a human king.[7]

The midwives feared God and for that reason they did not obey the king. They let the boys live. One of my friends on Facebook posted the following on January 20, 2018:

Unpopular opinion:

You cannot both claim to know the God of the bible, and also say He is wrong when it comes to sexuality and marriage.

You cannot both claim to know the God of the bible, and support killing the unborn.

In each of these scenarios, it is one or the other. Never both.

I “loved” his post, but that was it. I just kept scrolling. It wasn’t until I read the Word today that it hit me. I’m doing nothing for the unborn.

I realize that the situation is not the same in America as it was in ancient Egypt, but the result will be the same. Just as plagues from God rained down upon Egypt for their treatment of God’s people, so also will the Judgment of God rain down upon the world system that normalizes slaughter of the innocent. Revelation 18:21, 23-24 describes the downfall and reasons for the destruction of sinful society:

Then a mighty angel picked up a stone like a large millstone and threw it into the sea, saying: In this way, Babylon the great city[8] will be thrown down violently and never be found again. . . . ⌊All this will happen⌋ because . . . the blood of prophets and saints, and of all those slaughtered on earth, was found in you. (emphasis added).

God will not only judge the world for its treatment of His people, but also for its treatment of all who bear His image. We are called to fear God, and we are called to refuse to commit murder. According to the verse that opened this post we are to do more than just refuse to commit murder; we are to speak up for those who are being murdered.

I would add a caution here: God’s judgment is coming because of “all those slaughtered on the earth.” This must inform our method of intervention in the lives of the unborn. There should be no violence in our confrontations. There should be nothing that can accurately be described as hate-speech in our confrontations. Rather we must be loving. We must come from a place of love and concern for those we interact with.

I would be naïve to think that this article does not at some point get read by someone who has either had an abortion in the past, or who is currently thinking about having an abortion.

For the former, I want you to know that I don’t think you’re a bad person. The guilt that you will wrestle with for life is enough for shame. I want you to know that Jesus Christ came to earth 2,000 years ago, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our many and varied sins, and then He rose again three days later to prove that He was victorious over death and sin. There is nothing you have done that can make you unlovable by God. You don’t have that kind of power. All you must do is confess to God that you have made mistakes in your past, and then you must fix your eyes in faith on Christ. His arms are wide open, and He is more forgiving than any human being you have ever met (though I hope and pray that you find a church that strives to be as forgiving as He is).

If you’re currently considering an abortion, please reconsider! The life in your womb is precious. If the primary cause of your consideration is that you don’t know how you would ever care for the child, please seek out a local church and ask them if they have any resources in place to help you: adoptions, extra funds, etc. I beg you to reconsider! You don’t want the guilt it will bring on your conscience. And, as I pointed out in the above paragraph, Jesus wants you to trust Him, especially in the decision of refusing to get an abortion.

As I begin to conclude, the good news is that the CDC “reported 1,251,921 legal abortions in 1979,”[9] which means that the numbers have dropped 38.8% in 35 years. However, this means that the numbers are still 61.2% too high (766,614 too many abortions per year), but it also proves that there is still hope.

Let’s be on our knees daily praying that this holocaust would be put to an end (especially the adjective legal that sits in front of abortions). Let’s show love both to those considering abortions and also to those who have already had them. As the church of Jesus Christ, we are called to care for widows and orphans. How are we doing?

To slightly alter my sister’s words quoted earlier: “Do we recognize God as the creator and the source of life? Do we know that by disobeying His command to speak for those that have no voice is to invite consequences greater than any exactable by a human king?”

I love you.

Solus Christus.

Soli Deo Gloria.

 

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/data_stats/index.htm.

[2] http://www.rtl.org/prolife_issues/abortionstats_us.html. I must point out that the Guttmacher Institute is not anti-abortion, so they aren’t raising the number for their own gain.

[3] Ibid.

[4] W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1985), 79.

[5] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, and Bruce K. Waltke, eds., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. 1 (Chicago, IL: Moody, 1980), 400.

[6] James K. Bruckner, Exodus, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008), 23.

[7] Michaela Wingerd, “So God was Good to the Midwives,” (in partial fulfillment of Bib 2093 at Southwest Baptist University: December 4, 2015), PDF.

[8] In Revelation, Babylon is set in contrast with the New Jerusalem (in other words, we see the world vs. the church).

[9] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001243.htm. The first year with recorded numbers of abortions.

2 thoughts on “Speaking for the Voiceless”

  1. Thank you for calling attention back to this matter–for speaking up (Prov. 31:8-9). I so appreciate your recommendation of the church to those considering abortion, and your exhortations to the church to follow our Lord in caring for them. You are both honest and gentle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If the members of Christ’s church refuse to step up and offer alternatives for the things they stand against, then we are guilty of what James speaks in James 1:15-17. We have to actively love these people and not simply talk about loving them or expect them to live lovingly.

      This is the point of this blog.

      Your words are greatly encouraging. Thank you.

      Like

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