15 The 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?”
19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”
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.
22 Then 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.”
‘The new Pharaoh was more concerned about national security than human decency.’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.48.
These Hebrew midwives are not the most famous characters in the Bible, but they stand in that honourable line of heroes of the faith who chose, where there was a clash, to obey God rather than men. Obedience is always costly, but note how God honoured their obedience. Because they revered God they also had reverence for human life.
Yesterday I read part of an article by George Macdonald which included these words:
“Get up, and do something the master tells you; so make yourself his disciple at once. Instead of asking yourself whether you believe or not, ask yourself whether you have this day done one thing because he said, Do it, or once abstained because he said, Do not do it. It is simply absurd to say you believe, or even want to believe in him, if you do not anything he tells you. …
We must learn to obey him in everything, and so must begin somewhere: let it be at once, and in the very next thing that lies at the door of our conscience!’
The midwives didn’t do what they were commanded by a powerful king, but were radically obedient to the omnipotent God.
‘It is wonderful to notice what unexpected instruments God uses to defeat the purposes of his enemies. Of all people these two women seemed the unlikeliest…You may be obscure and weak, but if you fear God he will make use of you…and multiply your spiritual children.’ F.B.Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.37.
PRAYER: Lord, I pray today that you will strengthen all those whose lives, liberty and possessions are threatened because they seek to obey you.