Family Bible Study lesson for Jan. 16: Protect Human Life : Thursday, Dec. 30, 2004
December 30 2004 by John Pond

Family Bible Study lesson for Jan. 16: Protect Human Life : Thursday, Dec. 30, 2004
Thursday, Dec. 30, 2004

Family Bible Study lesson for Jan. 16: Protect Human Life

By John Pond
Focal Passage: Exodus 1:15-20; Jeremiah 19:3b-6; 33:6-9; Romans 8:1

John Claypool is credited with saying that life gets better and better and harder and harder at the same time. Science and technology have brought us into an incredible period of advancement and individual fulfillment; yet have forced us to face many moral dilemmas.

Medical science has provided the means for increased life expectancy and numerous methods for terminating life. Our postmodern culture has become a milieu of personal expression and freedom, a place for individual enrichment; yet, it has neglected to stress individual and corporate responsibility. In an attempt to celebrate life, we have denigrated its value.

It is within this context that the faith community must stand, challenging easy answers and being God's grace and truth.

Be warned about God's judgment

Jeremiah 19:3b-6

The prophet Jeremiah is summoned by God to pronounce God's judgment of impending disaster upon Israel. The people of Judah and Jerusalem are indicted for their idolatries, their sins and their refusal to listen. They are charged with abandoning the divine covenant made between God and His people. With the proliferation of strange gods and their false worship came the devaluation of human life. Practices forbidden by and abhorrent to God became commonplace. The apostate nation was guilty of infanticide and shedding innocent blood - all in the name of nationalism.

Their actions bring the judgment of God, manifested as a catastrophic disaster and environmental devastation.

Receive and proclaim His forgiveness

Jeremiah 33:6-9; Romans 8:1

God has judged His people. But, while He is a holy God of judgment, He is also a God of love and forgiveness. Jeremiah is asked to call to God and wait for His response: "I will answer you and tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" (33:3).

The great and hidden thing is God's forgiveness. He will restore the people to Himself. Out of His mercy, God promises healing and abundant prosperity. He revives the people with words of forgiveness and cleansing. There is hope and a new beginning of joy, praise and glory!

God's acts of mercy are never hidden from the eyes of the nations. The sin of Judah (v.7) was of international proportions. Their restoration will also be of international proportion. The nations will see and hear "of all the good I will do."

Today, this same forgiveness is offered to all through Jesus Christ. The same restoration is available - "no condemnation" - when one repents and receives Christ as Lord and Savior. Through Christ we are wholly redeemed, regardless of our sins.

Work to protect human life

Exodus 1:15-20

"The first right of natural life is the protection of bodily life from arbitrary killing" (Bonhoeffer). Human society is filled with vulnerable ones. These are the unborn, children, disabled, elderly and anyone who might be deemed "inconvenient." In a moral society, we should be advocates for the defenseless.

In an attempt to exercise population control, the Pharaoh commanded midwives to kill all male Hebrew children. In an act of courageous civil disobedience, the midwives allowed the babies to live, stating that Hebrew women were hearty and gave birth before they could arrive to help. Their actions were a result of a deep respect for God.

Regardless of policies instituted and enforced by governments, we must not respond with apathetic indifference, but with courageous faith. The church is a community of life; it should act to embody its commitment to receiving life as a gift from God (Richard Hays). We should work to protect the vulnerable - from conception to natural death. We must actively assume responsibility for them and provide a place of refuge and redemption, willingly receiving them into the care of the faith community.

12/30/2004 12:00:00 AM by John Pond | with 0 comments

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