Protecting human life! — Exodus 1:15-20; Jeremiah 19:3b-6; 33:6-9; Romans 8:1
By Pastor Lee Hemen
January 19, 2014 AM
Imagine that a 16-year-old girl from your church comes to you for advice. She knows you well and needs to talk to someone outside her family. She tells you that she recently discovered she is pregnant. She has not told anyone, not even her boyfriend. She is a Christian and has grown up in your church. What advice would you offer this girl? What options does she have? What should a Christian do in this situation? This story is imaginary, but I expect some of us have encountered similar situations. Some people in our society would condone an abortion. Others would suggest the girl give her child up for adoption; still others might insist that the girl marry and raise her child.
Many people in today’s world view life as cheap. Entertainment, including books, TV, movies, music, and video games, frequently exalts violence and killing. Constant exposure to portrayals of brutality tends to make people insensitive to the value of human life. God values human life and judges those who treat it casually or with contempt, but He will forgive and heal even the worst offenders. The value of human life is a biblical principle, and it opposes practices such as abortion, euthanasia, rationed health care, harvesting human embryonic stem cells, and human cloning. Sadly, in America we often devalue the best interests of children in favor of the self-expression of adults. The motivations for these practices include embarrassment, immorality, greed, and selfishness. Believers need to affirm the biblical doctrine of the sanctity of human life. Let’s discover how we can…
The failure to uphold the sanctity of human life is not a new problem in history. The Bible provides many examples of barbarity and the devaluation of human life that occurred many centuries ago. The background for the warnings of God’s judgment in the Book of Jeremiah was the reign of Manasseh, the king of Judah. Manasseh was the son of Hezekiah but did not share his father’s love for the Lord or His Word. Jeremiah was to charge the people with all their monstrous sins.
I. We need to be warned about God’s judgment! (Jeremiah 19:3b-5)
1. Jeremiah prophesied in the final years of Judah’s existence. The Northern Kingdom of Israel fell to Assyria in 722 B.C., and about 140 years later Judah fell to Babylon. He promised to bring disaster to Judah and Jerusalem. God then said the disaster would be so shocking that everyone who hears about it will shudder. And if God did not spare His beloved nation of Judah and city of Jerusalem, He will not spare America or any other nation that refuses to repent and uphold the sanctity of human life. The nation of Judah had abandoned the one true God and had pursued other gods. The morality of the idolatrous religions that Judah accepted from their pagan neighbors was opposite to the moral values of God’s Law. These religions actually demanded human sacrifice! “For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.” As horrendous as it may seem, they burned “their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal!” Since the Supreme Court decisions of 1973 that legalized abortion, it is estimated that over 60 million unborn innocents have been slaughtered. Ancient atrocities of child sacrifices cannot compare to the numbers aborted. We need to remember that Satan is the author of every false religion or shallow doctrine, and he has no regard for human life. He is a “murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). Jeremiah warned, “So beware, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.” Where Judah’s kings offered human sacrifices, the Lord predicted a judgment so severe that people would rename the valley. God punished His beloved nation for sacrificing children; we know He also will punish other nations, including our own, if we fail to take legitimate action to protect innocent human life. We need to be warned about God’s judgment!
EXAMPLE: In Genesis 22 God tested Abraham’s obedience by commanding him to take Isaac, his son, and sacrifice him. God saved Isaac and did not allow human sacrifice because God made people in His image. God the Father sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins so we might understand the value of human life. Abortions occur behind closed doors, but the end result is the same—a baby always dies. The sacrifice of a child on a fiery altar is no more gruesome than the current abortion procedures. Aborted babies today are sacrificed to the gods of embarrassment, inconvenience, immorality, and greed. Sometimes pregnancies occur because of the tragic circumstances of rape or incest, but the right response to one sin is not another sin. A child conceived in such circumstances does not deserve to die. The circumstances of conception do not give or take away the value of a life. God acknowledges the sanctity of all human life and so should we. We need to be warned about God’s judgment!
Abortion not only takes the lives of unborn children, but it also can have devastating effects on those who have an abortion or abortions. Depression and suicide often follow. Is there hope and healing for these women? These passages in Jeremiah and Romans deal with God’s forgiveness and promise of restoration for those who need emotional and spiritual healing.
II. We must receive and proclaim God’s forgiveness! (Jeremiah 33:6-9; Romans 8:1)
1. Jeremiah 33:1-5 records a revelation of God to Jeremiah concerning the future judgment of Judah. God would punish the people for their sins including the violations of the sanctity of human life described earlier. Jeremiah predicted the Lord would send the army of Babylon to chastise His people for their rebellious ways. In verse 6 there is a shift in the prophecy from judgment to a future deliverance. God’s promises to “bring health and healing”, that He would “heal” His “people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.” God promised the future restoration of the nation following the Babylonian captivity, “. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before.” In these verses, God promised Judah and Israel that He would restore their fallen cities and shattered lives. Women who have had abortions and men who have enabled abortions may wonder if God will forgive them for such serious violations of the sanctity of human life. The histories of Israel and Judah reveal that God is a forgiving God. God judged Judah for sins, and God also forgave and restored the nation. God willingly forgives and restores our shattered lives! If we ask for forgiveness, God promises, “I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me.” God’s answer to our sin problem was His sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus Christ died and rose again so He might free us from the power and penalty of sin. No matter how grievous one’s sin may be, Jesus’ death satisfied God’s wrath against it. The restored city of Jerusalem would be a testimony to God’s grace and mercy, bringing Him “renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things” He did “for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace” He provided. Every lost person who trusts Jesus as Savior and Lord becomes a testimony of God’s love and forgiveness. Women who have had abortions and some who have been involved in the business of abortion have repented of their sins and received God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Today, God is using them to convince others to protect human life, not destroy human life. Paul said those who trust Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are in Christ Jesus and have no condemnation for their sins. Christians experience forgiveness, healing, and peace of mind that comes from believing that on the cross God condemned Christ for their sins. He took our just condemnation and thereby freed us from condemnation. Those who break God’s laws, including the commandment against taking innocent life, can find forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ. We must receive and proclaim God’s forgiveness!
EXAMPLE: Perhaps you know a friend who is burdened with guilt and sick with grief because she chose to take the life of her baby before birth. Ask God to provide you an opportunity to share Romans 8:1 with your friend. Let them know God is loving and merciful and that He is the God of new beginnings. In a nation that allows the murder of the unborn and unwanted, we must be willing to seek God’s forgiveness and share it with those burdened by abortion. We must receive and proclaim God’s forgiveness!
In a culture that denies the existence of wrong, people resist the idea that they have done something wrong when they have had or encouraged an abortion or dishonored life in other ways. While many Christians can readily see that abortion and other practices that devalue human life are wrong, some Christians do not realize they can take constructive action to protect human life.
III. We must work to protect human life! (Exodus 1:15-20)
1. When a culture of death threatens vulnerable lives, champions of life must arise to protect them. Joseph brought the young nation of Israel to Egypt during a time of famine for protection. Following his death, another king came to power that had no concern for the Israelites. But he feared an eventual uprising by the enslaved nation, and one way to prevent rebellion against his rule was to reduce the number of males. So, “The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, ‘When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.’” Male children would grow to be potential soldiers and fathers of more children. Notice that “The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.” The king’s command to the midwives of Egypt and the response of two courageous women inspire Christians today to demonstrate their commitment to the sanctity of human life. The action and attitude of the king of Egypt continues today in countries, including our own, where abortion is for the purpose of birth control. Many today support abortion, euthanasia, the destruction of human embryos, and other attacks on innocent human life. Christians should work against these deeds of darkness to raise public opposition to all practices that threaten the vulnerable—from conception to natural death. This is the first instance in the Bible of a proper civil disobedience. Government is an institution of God, and citizens should obey its rulers. But when government acts in opposition to God, Christians must obey God instead. When the king of Egypt learned that the midwives had disobeyed his command, he summoned them and asked, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?” Shiphrah and Puah explained that the Hebrew women gave birth before the midwives could get to them. Clearly, the two women lied to the king to protect human lives. And God was good to the midwives because He was pleased with their efforts to save the Hebrew children. “So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous.” Their example reminds us as God’s people, we must work to protect human life!
EXAMPLE: Christian doctors, medical staff, researchers, legislators, judges, pastors, and others should stand for the sanctity of human life even if they pay a price for their commitment. But Christians must never use violence as a justification for protecting life. The Bible does not grant individuals the right to punish others or to act as vigilantes. While not acting in violence, the midwives were proactive in protecting the newborns of Israel. Christians in America are not doing all we can to protect life from conception to natural death. Christians should act on our convictions. We can become informed, get involved, contact legislators, write letters to the editor, encourage our church and fellow believers to take a stand for human life, encourage sexual abstinence before marriage, oppose pornography, and anything that devalues the sanctity of human life.
To reward the midwives for protecting human life, God gave them families of their own. God blesses and rewards those who protect innocent human life. The courage and example of these midwives continue to inspire others today. We need to be warned about God’s judgment! We must receive and proclaim God’s forgiveness! We must work to protect human life!
This article is copyrighted © 2014 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.