If you didn’t watch the news last month, there were a lot of women in Washington, DC on January 19, 2018. The March for Life is an annual protest against the macabre decision to legalize the murder of children. This march began in 1973, which was the year Roe (v) Wade legalized abortion throughout the United States. The organizers of the march described the history of the pro-life movement to the reporter. As I listened it occurred to me that the pro-life movement didn’t start in 1973. It actually started in ancient times.
You see disposing of others’ lives has been around almost as long as humans. The first murder took place in Genesis! Unfortunately, children have always been easy prey, used as pawns in our government, political, and religious systems.
Archeological digs have shown that children were interred in the foundation of buildings. The people thought this practice gave magical protection to the structure. Molech was an Ammonite god and followers often sacrificed children to appease this deity. (Deut. 12: 29-31 and Lev. 18:21) There is also evidence to suggest that the Carthaginian Empire practiced child sacrifice in the extreme to gain favor from or to appease their gods. Some historians think they also used this practice to control their increasing population. Sound familiar?
Unfortunately, the Hebrew people allowed themselves to be tainted by the practices of the countries surrounding them. Their “lemming” type behavior led them to regret a monarchy government, and it appears from the verses below they also may have succumbed to the barbaric practice of child sacrifice, despite numerous and dire warnings from God.
In 2 Kings 16, we read that King Ahaz began his reign as king of Judah. He did not follow God’s laws and “indeed he made his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel” (2 Kings 16: 3b NKJV).
When King Josiah ascended the throne of Judah he wanted to bring the nation back to worshipping the one true God. Josiah “…. Defiled the altar of Topheth in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, so no one could ever again use it to sacrifice a son or daughter in the fire as an offering to Molech” (2 Kings 23:10 NLT).
So how does this make ancient people pro-life? First, let’s look at the book of Exodus. Here we find two women who risked their lives to take a pro-life position. Shiphrah and Puah were midwives to the Hebrew women during the time the Hebrews were enslaved by Egypt.
Certainly, these women had “good” reasons to decrease the population. Why bring more children into slavery and hardship? But, surprisingly, it wasn’t these ladies who wanted the population controlled. Pharaoh feared the people’s numbers and strength, and he ordered the midwives to kill all Hebrew baby boys as they helped bring them into the world.
The Bible tells us that the midwives feared God and did not obey Pharaoh’s edict. It is easy to make this statement without recognizing the courage of these women. Pharaoh had total control. At best Pharaoh could make their lives very difficult. At worst these two women could be tortured or killed.
Yet, when Pharaoh interrogated them about their failure to carry out his demand, these women did not back down. Yes, they lied about the reason they were unable to kill the baby boys, but God blessed their pro-life stand, protected them from Pharaoh’s wrath, and gave these two women families of their own. (Exodus 1: 15-21)
Since the midwives didn’t murder the baby boys, Pharaoh ordered all newborn boys to be thrown into the Nile River. (Exodus 1:22) It was into this traumatic situation that Moses was born. His mother, Jochebed, put him in a well-crafted basket and placed him by the Nile River because she knew Pharaoh’s daughter frequented this place.
Moses’ sister, Miriam, was given the job to keep a look out for Pharaoh’s daughter and, when she saw the princess, to approach her with a plan. Pharaoh’s daughter was smitten with the baby hidden among the reeds. So, Miriam approached this royal woman and told her that if she adopted the boy Miriam could provide a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby until he was of age to be weaned. (Exodus 2: 1-10)
What a difficult thing to do, but Moses mother chose adoption over the death of her child. I don’t know why more women don’t do that today. There are so many couples longing for a family.
Then there is the famous story of Solomon’s wisdom. Two prostitutes who lived together had a child within three days of each other. One baby died. Both mothers claimed the living child was theirs and the dead baby belonged to the other woman. Solomon solves the problem by ordering the baby be cut in two so each woman could have half of the baby.
Of course, the real mother said to let the baby live. This pro-life prostitute was willing to sacrifice her desires in order for her child to live. Unfortunately, pro-choice advocates persuade women to avoid any sacrifice for the child’s sake, instead, they encourage women to abort the baby so they can go on with their lives as if nothing changed. Everything must be made easy. Sacrifice is a dirty word.
In Matthew, we see another example of a pro-life sentiment. Herod ordered the killing of all boys two and under in and around Bethlehem. This was a political move. He had heard that Jesus was born and called King of the Jews. In order to preserve his royal status, he sent the military to carry out this horrific massacre. Of course, baby Jesus was no longer in Bethlehem, but Herod did not know this.
Matthew quoted Jeremiah to express the grief caused by the slaying of innocent children. “Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted-for her children are gone” (Jeremiah 31:15b NLT). We too should refuse to be comforted until the massacre of children is stopped.
So this lack of respect for life is not new. Throughout the history of mankind, humans have casually destroyed and murdered. Was this lack of concern in ancient times because they worshipped false deities that were cruel, heartless, and selfish? Today, is it because we think we are nothing but evolved animals? No matter the reason, we must not grow weary in defending children’s lives from those who see them as expendable or a means to an end.
Certainly, January 22, 1973, was a shameful day in the United States. In 2016, the CDC and Guttmacher Institute reported that there were over 58 million children killed through this legal procedure. It is staggering to listen to pro-choice advocates speak. They are so cavalier regarding “choice” for women. There is absolutely no regard for the child’s life. How can anyone believe that snuffing out even a “potential” life is moral?
But as long as there are people, defenseless children will always be at risk. But we can take solace in knowing the there will also be those who follow God and know that He considers children a gift.
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.’ And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left” (Matthew 19:14-15 NLT).
The word of the week is friendship. Check out some friendships in the Bible and find out what the Bible says about choosing your companions. The children are taking a look at what the poetry books are all about and their devotion also focuses on making friends.