And so we hit Exodus. I kind of get the impression it’s going to take some time to get through the Bible at this pace. Much longer than a year, anyway.
I think that Moses must’ve gotten a kick out of writing this chapter, especially the part about Shiphrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives. Here is the most powerful man in Egypt, the Pharaoh, and he has commanded these midwives to kill all the baby boys born to the Hebrews. But word gets back to him that the midwives haven’t been doing so and so he summons them into the palace and asks, “Why haven’t you done what I commanded?”
And here are these two women, standing before him with a straight face saying, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.” (verse 19)
I can just see Pharaoh looking at these women saying, “I see. I didn’t know that. You learn something new everyday. Vigorous. Hmm…”
What gave these women the courage to defy the most powerful man in Egypt? They feared God more than Pharaoh. It says in verse 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.” And because they feared God more than Pharaoh, God blessed them. In verses 20-21, it says,
20 So 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.
Who do you fear in your life? Who do you honor most in your life? Is it God? Or is it others.
Sometimes we fear the reactions of others in our lives and it affects our relationship with God. I know of one woman that for a long time put off baptism, because she feared what her parents would think. I know of another woman that put off becoming a Christian because she was afraid of what her husband would think. And yet, they found that when they feared and honored God more than their own parents and husband, God blessed them.
I’m not saying by fearing God more than people that you’ll never get into trouble. There will be people that will get upset with you when you make that choice. I know of one man that got in trouble with his coworkers because he wouldn’t put work ahead of God in his life. They wanted him to work more overtime, but he refused to because he felt God had other things for him to do outside of work. Eventually, he had to leave his company. But I believe that God was pleased with this man for fearing Him above all others.
God once told the prophet Isaiah,
11 The LORD spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said: 12 “…do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. 13 The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, 14 and he will be a sanctuary… (Isaiah 8:11-14)
God will be a sanctuary for you. A place to run to when times get tough and everyone is against you. But he warns us, as he did Isaiah, not to follow the way of the world. Rather we are to fear and follow him. And if we do, just as he blessed those Hebrew midwives, he will bless you.
Who do you fear?