A Matter of the Heart
Pharaoh's daughter made a simple choice not to look the other way, she allowed her heart to be moved. Esther challenges us to follow her lead.
"What does it look like for you, to engage with issues of modern-slavery and human trafficking on a heart-level? Will we allow injustice to become a matter of the heart?"
I wonder, how is lent shaping up for you so far? Having given up coffee and *most* forms of makeup, I feel like I have pushed through the initial ‘cold-turkey’ phase, and am enjoying the daily reminder of the journey towards the celebration of Easter.
On our journey through the unsung-justice-heroes of the Exodus story, the third person I would love to introduce you to this morning is Pharaoh’s daughter.
In the second half of Exodus chapter 2, we meet her as she is going about her daily routine, bathing by the banks of the river, when above the noise of the lapping water, she hears the distant sound of a baby crying. Give it a read- what would you do if you found a tiny child floating along a river?!
There is something beautiful in the choice that she makes here: the choice not to look the other way. In fact, in verse 6, we see that she is moved on an emotional, heart-level: “she felt sorry for it.”
Now what is remarkable, is that Pharoah’s daughter is aware straight away, that the child who is crying is a Hebrew child: not a member of her own family, or a person that she should, in natural terms, have any connection, allegiance or loyalty too.
Quite the opposite. In fact, it was her Father who has made it illegal for her to care.
The political, cultural and logical response would have been to look the other way, to ignore the cries of anyone who is outside her immediate sphere- to look after her own. Surely the Hebrew people can deal with their own difficulties?
And yet… she stops. She allows her heart to be moved,
For her emotions to get involved,
To get caught up in the story of the ‘other.’
Rather than allowing the situation of suffering to become an ‘us and them’ battle, instead, she shows compassion and mercy, risking the wrath of her Father.
And as she reaches down and rescues the child in the basket, even though she doesn’t know it at the time, she invites freedom, in the form of Moses, right into the place where the laws of oppression were devised. By allowing her heart to be moved, she too has a vital part in bringing justice to God’s people.
In the face of injustice on a colossal scale; of women and children being trafficked, of generations enslaved and oppressed, it is often easier to look the other way. You only need to turn on the TV or flick through a newspaper to be bombarded by daily stories about poverty and suffering. If you’re anything like me, it sometimes feels all a bit much- I often want to turn off, tune out and change the channel- surely if I let myself feel anything, I am at risk of it becoming too overwhelming? Too much to handle?
And I know it flies right in the face of our Britishness- our want to ‘hold it together’ and save face. I know that if I let some of this stuff hit me, and really hit me- I am not sure what I will do- I am not sure, honestly, how I’m going to keep it all together.
But I suppose the questions I suppose I am asking are:
Do I trust Him?
Do I know that He is kind?
Do I trust His spirit to take me places only He’ll lead me?
I would encourage you to sit with Jesus a while and ask the Holy Spirit to show you- what does it look like for our hearts to be truly moved at the state of the world?
What does it look like for you, to engage with issues of modern-slavery and human trafficking on a heart-level?
Will we allow injustice to become a matter of the heart?
If Shiphrah and Puah chose courageously to bring justice,
And Moses’ mother gave sacrificially to bring justice,
Pharaoh’s daughter allowed her heart to be moved by cries of injustice.
Will we follow their lead?
Esther studied at Durham University, before spending some time in teaching, and most recently working for the International Justice Mission. She is married to Tom and lives in the North East.