One of my favorite stories in the Bible is found in the first chapter of the book of Exodus — that great adventure book of triumph and tragedy, and of faith and folly. This particular story is one of faith — great faith, and obedience to God.
“The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.” (Exodus 1:17, NIV)
The Israelites had lived in Egypt since the great famine in which God, through Joseph, saved the entire country (see Genesis 47). But, as the years passed, a new Pharaoh came into power. This new guy didn’t remember Joseph or the contributions he had made to the Egyptian society (Exodus 1:8).
All he saw were the descendants of Joseph, his father, and all his brothers multiplying at (what was to him) an alarming rate (Exodus 1:9). So, he sent a decree to the midwives in the land. Any baby boys born to Israelite women were to be killed on the spot (Exodus 1:16).
But two midwives named Shiphrah and Puah chose to defy Pharaoh and allowed the Israelite children to live. Eventually, word reached Pharaoh, and he demanded to know what was happening.
The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.” (Exodus 1:19, NIV)
Wait a minute! The women LIED to Pharaoh … and God was okay with that? We don’t know for certain that what the women told Pharaoh was untrue. Maybe they delayed going to the births on purpose. Maybe the Hebrew women really WERE that vigorous … or maybe it was only true for that particular time.
At any rate, we know God DID bless these two defiant women greatly. Because of their brave stand against the selfish ruler of Egypt, God granted both Shiphrah and Puah families of their own. These two women became defiant mothers.
It’s not easy to stand up to evil. It’s risky and, in some cases, it could be deadly. But these two women didn’t let the threats stop them. They were faithful to God anyway, and He rewarded them for it.
God, when I’m tempted to ignore evil, give me courage. Remind me of the bravery of Shiphrah and Puah. Help me to speak up for the oppressed and protect them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where mothers can connect for support and encouragement in the Lord.