Start your time with God thanking Him for who He is. Ask Him to reveal more of His character to you today.
15The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” 17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”
19The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”
20So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.
22Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”
There are many characters in the Bible but not everyone is named. In this passage, the king of Egypt remains unnamed while two enslaved, Hebrew midwives are directly pointed out. Because of their actions, Shiphrah and Puah have been remembered for thousands of years and their faithfulness was used to bring about God’s promises to His people.
When the king of Egypt orders the midwives to kill the Hebrew boys, the midwives refuse because “they feared God.” The fear of God does not refer to the kind of fear we have at the hands of a violent dictator but to an awe-filled reverence (for more on the “fear of God”, check out: Luke 1:73-75, Luke 12:4,5, Acts 4:13). Proverbs famously describes the fear of God as “the beginning of wisdom”. This kind of holy fear leads Shiphrah and Puah to act justly and bravely in the face of a fearful king.
This tragedy at the beginning of Exodus points to a later event at the beginning of Jesus’ life. In Matthew 2, King Herod tries to get the wise men to report on the location of the Christ child. When they refuse, he gives orders to kill all of the boys in Bethlehem who were two years old and under. Just as the brave actions of the midwives led to the birth and deliverance of the Israelites in Egypt, so too does the refusal of the wise men to report back to Herod lead to the birth of the savior and the deliverance of the whole world. From his birth, Jesus is depicted as the fulfillment of Israel’s story and the new and perfect Moses who has come to set his people free.
How is the fear of God different from other things you fear?
Shiphrah and Puah deliberately chose to fear God instead of give in to the fear of pharaoh. God used their small act of obedience for His great, eternal purposes. What small step of obedience is He calling you to take out of godly fear?
What are some of the different pharaohs in your life that you’re tempted to fear more than God?
Make this prayer your own today: “Lord, help me to fear you so much that we would fear nothing else at all”.
Go around the table or with your small group and share a time when you’ve seen God use a small act of obedience for His great purposes.
A Faith like the Midwives