Obeying God in the Hard Places

Have you ever wondered what might have been going through the minds of Shiphrah and Puah on that awful day when they were summoned by the king of Egypt?

In these troubling times when we become disheartened by those ruling over us, it is good to know “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.” Proverbs 21:1. Most of us here in the West have never faced serious persecution for obeying Christ, but that may change as the freedom to exercise our religious convictions are restricted.


“But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live.”  Exodus 1:17

Have you ever wondered what might have been going through the minds of Shiphrah and Puah on that awful day  when they were summoned by the king of Egypt? Here were two ordinary God fearing women dedicated to the care of mothers and their new infants who suddenly found themselves in the presence of their people’s bête noir.

Since they are the only women named, Shiphrah and Puah may have been in charge of all the midwives in the burgeoning population of Hebrews. Imagine how overwhelmed with anguish they must have been upon receiving  Pharaoh’s command,

When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him.” Ex.1:16

Knowing rebellion would spell disaster for them and perhaps even for those working under them, the midwives must have had to think fast before the next baby arrived. Their fear of God outweighed any fear of retribution the king might impose on them because they refused to comply with the diabolical decree. When they were subpoenaed for interrogation as to why they had allowed the babies to live, the women shrewdly convinced Pharaoh that the Hebrew women were a hearty lot who gave birth before the midwives could arrive. Satisfied with their answer, the king moved to Plan B, insisting that every newborn Hebrew boy be cast into the Nile.

Pharaoh’s relentless persecution of God’s people proved completely unsuccessful however, because instead of dwindling their population the Hebrews continued to increase, just as  God had promised Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3). Furthermore, the Lord rewarded Shiphrah and Puah’s fear of God.

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