"Compassion: a God-given Blessing"
July 21, 2013
Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river .... She saw the basket among the reeds .... When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, "This is one of the Hebrews' children. ... When the child grew older, she (Moses' mother who had nursed and taken care of him) brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. (See Exodus 2:5-10)
Today's weekend devotion was written by Pastor Eric Zacharias of Zion Lutheran Church in Cologne, Minn. Pastor Zacharias is the Lutheran Laymen's League pastoral representative for Carver County. His devotion is shared with only the smallest of changes.
A recent story in the news is alarming and yet ends happily.
A baby boy, likely just days old, was rescued after Chinese workers pulled him from an apartment's four-inch sewer pipe. The baby's cries were heard after his parents, for an unreported reason, decided to flush him down the toilet. When the responders found themselves unable to pull the baby out, they sawed off the sewer pipe and rushed him to the hospital where the doctors were able to "deliver" the baby -- a second time.
The irony is that a great deal of effort was put into rescuing the child by representatives of a society which, as they enforce the official government policy of "one child per family," ends up aborting 13 million children a year.
The miraculous thing is that, against all odds, the child has survived. The beautiful thing is that this baby was rescued and given life, despite the forces which otherwise would have been glad to end it.
That story reminded me of another time, about 2,500 years ago, when the Egyptian government had a formal policy of executing the baby boys of Israel. To save her son, a mother placed her baby into a homemade basket and hid the basket among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River.
Readers of Scripture will remember how Pharaoh's daughter saw the basket, had her servant retrieve it, and then, having been moved with pity toward the helpless Hebrew baby, ended up rescuing and raising the child as her own.
Ironic, isn't it? A baby who was doomed to destruction was saved by the daughter of the ruler who had made the decree. Even more ironic is that this child, who, because he had been drawn from the water, was named Moses, would be raised in the Egyptian court and be educated by the most learned of men.
Most ironic of all, Moses, the rescued, would himself become a rescuer. It took decades but the day eventually came when Moses was called by God to rescue and release God's people from the bondage of Egypt. Then, having procured their release, Moses would be the means by which God would lead His people to the Promised Land.
So there you have it, two great stories about baby boys who, although they were separated by thousands of years, still are bound together by the common thread of compassion. To those great stories it is appropriate we add another. This story is also of a baby boy who was hated by His government and spared by miraculous means.
Still, there is a difference between this story and the others. You see, this baby boy, Jesus was His Name, did not receive compassion, He gave it.
Praise be to God for the gift of compassion which is shown in the life and gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. Examine the pages of history and you will quickly see that no human compassion can be compared with that of the Lord's consideration for us.
In compassion and by His power, God gave us His Son to be our Savior from sin, death and all evil. Baptized in Him, we are delivered from that which would condemn us to death. Like Moses we have been drawn from the waters by Christ. Now, adopted into the family of faith we have forgiveness of sins, peace with God, and eternal life.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for doing all that was necessary to rescue us from sin, death and devil, we give thanks. Now, may we, moved by the life we have been given, share the Savior with others. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries