Then Pharoah, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah: ‘When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver. If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.’ But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the boys to live. too.
So the king of Egypt called for the midwives, ‘Why have you done this?’ he demanded. ‘Why have you allowed the boys to live?’
‘The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women,’ the midwives replied. ‘They are more vigorous and have their babies so quickly that we cannot get there in time.’
So God was good to the midwives, and the Israelites continued to multiply, growing more and more powerful. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.
The Bible only names two of these women…Shiphra and Puah. We don’t know if there were just these 2 women or 20 women who were a part of this group. Midwives at this time are believed by most scholars to have been barren women who had no children of their own, but we do not know this for certain. What we do know is that these Hebrew midwives feared God more than they feared the Pharaoh who believed himself a god…the man who had the power to take their lives just as he planned to take the life of every Hebrew baby boy.
Their story is simply a few short lines in the greater story of Moses and God’s redemption of the Hebrew nation from slavery in Egypt. Just a few lines that we can easily read over and disregard if we are in a hurry to continue the story. But their act of obedience is significant in God’s story. We may miss the significance of their story if we are in a hurry, but God noticed. God saw these women. During the normal drudgery of their everyday life, they chose to do the right thing…and God saw them. He cared enough that he chose to include their small story in His greater story. And because of His love for them, He blessed them with children of their own.
Their story teaches us something about ourselves…we always have a choice. We can choose to submit to the pressure around us…to fear people…or we can choose to obey God in spite of the potential consequences from others. The Hebrew midwives chose to fear God instead of Pharoah and God honored their obedience.
These faithful women did not need an audience to see and admire their good deeds. They didn’t even know their obedience to God would be recorded for future generations to read. No, they were living for an audience of one…The One.
Their story also teaches us something about God. God sees us..even when no one else notices us. He is always watching us, but not in an “I’m going to catch you doing something wrong” way. Rather, He is paying attention like a loving Father who watches His precious children, waiting to see what we will do next. And when we get it right…He is delighted with us!
We are all looking for ways to live a life of significance. Yet each day brings opportunities to do small things that impact those around us. While we don’t always know the significance of our actions, we can rest assured that God notices every act of kindness and obedience we do on His behalf. God takes our small actions and transforms them into something significant within His greater story. What will you do for God today?
Heavenly Father, you see us. Even when no one else notices the little things we do each day, you see each and every act of kindness and obedience. When our lives feel like drudgery, help us recognize your presence. When we worry about what others will think, remind us that your approval is the only approval that matters. Help us to remain obedient to you in every way…
Michele is married to the love of her life, Jeff. She has 3 grown children and 1 very sweet grandson! Most days you can find Michele laughing with good friends, working with numbers, writing, or working with women. In the evenings, she enjoys spending time in a few creative outlets like creative lettering, drawing, and pottery. She loves snuggling with her dog, Tebow, and reading. But one of her favorite passions is playing with her grandson and laughing at his bright smile! You can find her most weekends worshiping at our Real Life Clermont campus.