Reading: Exodus 1: 15-22
Verses 20 and 21: God was kind to the midwives… He gave them families of their own.
Shiphrah and Puah we’re very brave women. They feared God more than they feared Pharaoh and they did what was right according to God instead of bowing to the king’s orders. Pharaoh’s cruel and ruthless treatment of the Israelites had not curbed their growth, so Pharaoh goes one step further.
Pharaoh calls in Shiphrah and Puah and orders these two midwives to kill all make babies during birth. These two women are told to murder the babies of their own people. They have the power to carry out this cruel and hateful order. Refusal to follow the order will probably not end well for these two midwives. Pharaoh had demonstrated his evil and dark side in the harsh treatment of the Israelites and with this new order. Fear and paranoia are clearly guiding his thought process. It took quite a strong faith in God to choose to not follow Pharaoh’s newest order.
These two brave women are summoned once again when Pharaoh discovers that they are not killing the Israelite make babies during childbirth. He asks them, “Why have you done this”? They offer up a lie and Pharaoh buys it. God protects them. Because of their faithfulness, “God was kind to the midwives… He gave them families of their own”. Shiphrah and Puah are looked on with favor because they chose God over the powers of this world. In this high-stakes decision, they trusted in God and stayed strong in their faith.
Shiphrah and Puah are two of many women of strong faith in the Bible. Ruth and Naomi, Rahab, Esther, Deborah, and the women who followed Jesus all the way to the foot of the cross are a few more examples of women of strong faith. All of these women resisted fear and possible physical loss as they chose God’s ways rather than the ways of the world whatever the cost. They are shining role models of strong faith who bear witness to God’s love and power. May we follow their example, choosing what is righteous and godly above all else. And may we have the courage and strong faith they demonstrated, not counting the cost but giving all we can for our God and King.