MARVELOUS by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson
Introduction: Recently, I was on Twitter when a statement caught my eye. I didn’t know the person making the statement but based on his profile, it seemed that he believed like I did about biblical/ethical/moral values. He said (I am paraphrasing), “Why does Abortion always have to become the main issue? There are other issues that are just as critical.” When I read that, I was like, “Maybe, we don’t agree as much as I thought we did, or, maybe, you’ve lost your moral compass, if you ever had one.” As I was about to dismiss that statement as an anomaly, I saw another one just like it! This one said (again, I’m paraphrasing)—“Abortion is used as the trump card (no pun intended) to get voters to abandon all other issues and vote a certain way.” Again, based on this person’s profile, I would have assumed that we would’ve had similar values. Here’s the heart of the message: Abortion is not about politics. Abortion is not about rights. Abortion is not about science and technology or health and quality of life. Abortion is ultimately about God. With that in mind, our message today is titled “MARVELOUS.”
Psalm 139 13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and thatmy soul knows very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
Question: Do you believe that you have been fearfully and wonderfully made by God? Do you believe that human life is marvelous? Do you have eternal life? Are you saved?
Background: Many of you may not realize but today is the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday or Weekend. Forty-Seven years ago, on January 22, 1973, the US Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand in all 50 states. It’s popularly known as Roe v. Wade. On January 9, 1989, President Reagan issued a proclamation designating that day as the first Sanctity of Human Life Day. Since then, every third Sunday (weekend) in January is recognized by churches all across our country as a day to give special emphasis to God’s gift of life, to remember the lives lost due to abortion, and to commit ourselves to speaking out for human life at every stage. Today’s message is again a little different than how I typically preach but it’s one that we need to hear, especially the younger generation. The further we get away from our biblical foundation, the harder it is for people, even some Christians, to understand the importance of certain convictions like the value of the unborn child.
With that in mind, let’s go back to the psalm we just read, Psalm 139. It is known as a psalm of David. As you know, David was called a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). So, here in Psalm 139, David gives us God’s heart on the unborn child. I want you to notice especially the language he uses to describe God’s creation process of the unborn child. It is beyond beautiful! Shakespeare, Milton, and Elliot have nothing on him! Listen again to verse 13 “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.” I don’t have time to pause at every single word and look at its meaning from Hebrew, just the important ones. For starters, David doesn’t say “my parents formed my inward parts” or “the coming together of the sperm and the egg formed me.” He says, “God, you formed me.” Listen carefully: A married couple can come together in love or two strangers can hook up in lust, the forming of life is God’s work. Bringing life inside the mother’s womb can only be done by the life-giver. He holds the copyright on life. “You covered me in my mother’s womb.” David uses a very special word to describe this process, “sakhed,” which is not really “cover.” It should actually be translated “weave.” David is depicting God as the grand weaver who actually knits every child carefully inside the mother’s womb. In other words, God is intricately involved in the development of every child in every womb ever since the beginning of time!
14 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” The Hebrew word for “marvelous” is “palah,” which can be translated as “surpassing,” “extraordinary,” “beyond one’s power to do,” “wonderful,” and “marvelous.” David is praising God for his marvelous work in creating life. 15 “My frame (skeletal structure) was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret…” The Hebrew word for “secret” is “sether,” which means the “hiding place” or “secret place.” The point here is not a hideout but a mystery, something that we cannot comprehend. “And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” The Hebrew word for “skillfully wrought” is “rekhem,” which means “using different colors, textures, and patterns to make a special cloth. In other words, God makes every child unique and beautiful in his/her own way, even if there are disabilities. The disabilities are not because he failed but because we live in a broken world. His work is still perfect!
Finally, verse 16 “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.” The Hebrew word for “substance” is “golem,” which means the embryo. It has the idea of an “unfinished vessel.”“And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, when as yet there werenone of them.” In other words, even before a child is born, even before they are in an embryonic form, all their days, not necessarily their individual decisions but all God’s providential acts designed for that life, are written out in God’s chronicles.
So, what do we gather from Psalm 139?
- God holds the copyright on every life.
- God makes every life intricately and lovingly.
- God’s marvelous work should cause us to praise him.
- God supervises the entire developmental process of every life.
- God marvelous work in bringing life can never be fully understood.
- God makes every child unique and beautiful, even if there are disabilities.
- God records beforehand his providential acts for every life even before birth.
Abortion goes against this entire list. People may say – Abortion is about a women’s right to choose; it’s about population control; or it’s about the quality of life. No matter how people support abortion, it ultimately contradicts everything about God because it is philosophically based on an anti-God premise. To understand this, we have to look at the roots of the American Abortion Movement. Margaret Sanger, the first president of Planned Parenthood, which provides the most abortion in the world, wrote a book titled “Pivot of Civilization.” If you want to know about the roots of this movement, here are just a few examples:
- Regarding the poor, blind, deaf, mute, and those intellectually disabled: “When we learn further that the total number of inmates in public and private institutions in the State of New York—in alms-houses, reformatories, schools for the blind, deaf and mute, in insane asylums, in homes for the feeble-minded and epileptic—amounts practically to less than sixty-five thousand, an insignificant number compared to the total population, our eyes should be opened to the terrific cost to the community of this dead weight of human waste.”
- Regarding the poor and disabled people: It sees that the most responsible and most intelligent members of society are the less fertile; that the feeble-minded are the more fertile. Herein lies the unbalance, the great biological menace to the future of civilization. Are we heading to biological destruction, toward the gradual but certain attack upon the stocks of intelligence and racial health by the sinister forces of the hordes of irresponsibility and imbecility?”
- In her magazine, Birth Control Review, an article was published by Dr. Ernst Rudin, a Nazi doctor in the Eugenics movement advocating racial hygiene among the Germans. There were other articles advocating ethnic cleansing of American Gypsies and Defective Families. Sanger openly praised Hitler’s policy of racial cleansing and Hitler admired her work. Such racial science fit perfectly with Hitler’s agenda of cleansing the society of the weak and disabled, then moving on to those ethnicities that were unwanted, starting with the gypsies and ending with six million Jewish people being sent to the gas chambers.
- In the 1930s, Sanger began the “Negro Project.” It started with handing out contraception and then culminated in promoting abortion to control the race.
I can go on and on. The point is not that everyone who is pro-abortion is cruel and racist. What it does mean is that the philosophy behind abortion is one that denigrates and devalues human life, especially the weak, the poor, the disabled, and the minorities. All this is ultimately about claiming that it is my right to decide what happens. As I said, “Abortion is ultimately about God” because–
- Abortion tries to steal God’s copyright on life.
- Abortion reduces life to just a biochemical process.
- Abortion seeks to praise only self.
- Abortion denies the beauty of the developmental process.
- Abortion understands life only through personal and collective convenience.
- Abortion rejects the uniqueness of every child.
- Abortion destroys God’s chronicles of every life. It brutally murders the child before they even have a chance to live out the days fashioned for them.
What does all this mean for us as believers, as the church? Do we believe that life is God’s gift? Do we believe that he gets to first and the final say on life? Jesus came to die even for the unborn. To terminate that pregnancy, is to terminate the opportunity from that life to receive Christ and live out the days fashioned for him/her by God.
Invitation: Today is the day to repent if you have believed wrongly. Today is the day to pray for our nation and for the unborn. Today is the day to give our lives to Christ.
As a young new nurse many years ago in a hospital I cared for patients giving birth and also ones undergoing “therapeutic” abortions on the same unit. I had to set aside my personal/ religious beliefs & provide physical & emotional care of these sometimes very young patients. Sometimes I was overwhelmed with sadness, other times with indescribable joy when I witnessed God’s miracle of birth of a newborn baby. I used to silently pray for these patients that God would help them in a way I could not. Today I still feel that same joy, elation & sometimes sadness & grief when I witness the “marvelous” experience of birth and help these precious babies transition to being outside of the womb. Sometimes sick,deformed,dying,stillborn…not always healthy. But all are precious in His sight! It is a reminder that God’s perfection is ever present in an imperfect world.
Wow! This is such a beautiful testimony! Thank you for sharing this! If that’s ok, I would like to share it with others. Of course, your name will not be mentioned
You may share my comments! Your message was powerful & made me reflect on many thoughts & experiences. Thank you for your messages & teachings.
Thank you so much!
What would your advice be to a woman with an ectopic pregnancy?
Thank you for your question!
In the case of ectopic pregnancy, I would suggest saving the life that can definitely be saved, i.e. the life of the mother. In my understanding, this would be the only situation in which taking the life of the unborn child would be permissible. I would also hope that every effort is made to try to save the child’s life.
Having said that, my issue is with the current open ended category of the “life and health” of the mother. I can understand “life” but “health” often includes “mental health” and “emotional distress” of the mother. In other words, if the mother feels that the pregnancy will alter her lifestyle or interrupt her plans, then it’s considered a legitimate reason to abort the baby.
We’ve all heard of Roe v. Wade but it was Doe v. Bolton that described the mother’s health as “all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the women’s age—relevant to the well-being of the patient.” This is why abortion is allowed right up to the ninth month of pregnancy!”
Truly life threatening cases are few (according to stats from the CDC, abortions to save a mother’s life are as few as less than 0.118 percent of all abortions), but they are used as a foil to lobby for abortion on demand for convenience.
Sorry to be so long winded.