A Jewish baby was once spared by a midwife who had disobeyed a decree from the Pharaoh of Egypt to kill all Jewish babies. The mother of the baby hid him successfully for three months and when she could no longer hide him, she made an ark out of asphalt and pitch and sailed him down the Nile River. The baby was somehow made safe by changing currents, floating branches, concealed rocks, and even predators.
And it so happened that Pharoah’s daughter came down to the river to bathe at the exact same time as this small baby floating down the river. She saw the child at just the right time, she had compassion on him, and she kept him even though her own father had decreed to kill this baby. And she called this baby Moses.
All because a baby cried…
Coincidence? Matter of chance?
R.C. Sproul details this in his book The Invisible Hand:
…we are perfectly and completely known by God. He knows what we are going to say before we say it. He has the capacity to know the end from the beginning. His knowledge extends down to the smallest details. He not only knows what we will say but He also knows everything we possibly could say. He knows all the possible contingencies. Yet there is nothing contingent about His knowledge; it does not depend upon what we will do. He doesn’t have to wait and see which fork in the road we choose to know which fork we most certainly will choose. He knows the future precisely because He wills the future.
It was not a surprise to God that Pharaoh’s daughter went to the riverside on a fateful day in human history. It was no surprise to Him that the baby cried. He ordained that the baby cry, and He ordained that it cry at the precise moment it cried. God did not leave all this to chance.
We play with the ‘what ifs?’ and speculate on the course of human history had the baby not cried. We could surmise that if the baby had not cried there would have been no Moses. Had there been no Moses there would have been no incident at the burning bush. No burning bush, no Exodus. No Exodus, no giving of the Law at Sinai. No Law, no prophets. No prophets, no Jesus. No Jesus, no cross. No cross, no redemption. No redemption, no Christianity. No Christianity, no Western civilization as we know it.
All of this if a baby in a homemade ark had failed to cry at precisely the right moment.
But there are no ‘what ifs?’ in God. He is a God whose providence is in the details.