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Women In The Word - OT: Day 15

Shiphrah & Puah

by

Today's Text: Exodus 1:8-21, Proverbs 9:10

Imagine for a moment that you’re an Old Testament midwife. Not just in any part of the Old Testament, but at a pivotal time in your nation’s history. You are busy—so busy you can barely catch your breath and hold up a newborn for his mother’s proud inspection before your partner calls you to assist another woman in labor. Another Hebrew baby. How blessed are the children of Abraham! The many descendants God promised are here, and you are delivering them.

Midwives have a special calling. Those in our story today—Shiphrah and Puah—must have had a deep love for their work, to sit with a woman as she gave birth to a new human being. They witnessed birth and death, the height of joy and the darkest of moments. They witnessed the miracle of life.

How confused and anguished they must have been when the Pharaoh summoned them, ordering them to kill every male Hebrew baby they deliver! In a jealous, fearful rage, the ruler who held power over their own lives was ordering them to go against everything they believed in—commanding them to become deliverers of death instead of facilitators of life.

Putting ourselves in their situation, we might think, Of course they wouldn’t participate in the murder of a generation of baby boys! I wouldn’t! But what other options did they have? The measure of their obedience was rather obvious: if they obeyed the Pharaoh, infant boys would stop appearing. To even consider finding a way around this would mean, at the least, risking their livelihood and most likely risking their lives.

Shiphrah and Puah had a very clear, very weighty decision to make. Would they fear man and go against their deeply held beliefs, harming countless children and families? Or would they fear God, trusting Him with their own lives and those of the babies they deliver?

You and I might not face such dire circumstances in our daily lives, but we are still met with countless moments in which we, too, have to choose between the fear of God (not just dread of His wrath, but reverence of His holiness and power) and the fear of man. Jesus Himself experienced these moments, faithfully choosing His Father’s law over the religious law of man (Luke 13:10-17, Mark 3:1-6 and John 8:1-11). Whether healing the sick on the Sabbath or saving the adulteress outcast, Christ set the standard for us to follow—God’s love and law trump everything else.

The midwives in our story must have come to the same decision, because they plunged ahead, delivering boys to the mothers of their people. They held up life. And their God—our God— honored their bold obedience by giving them children of their own. Scripture tells us in Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected.” Indeed, when Shiphrah and Puah were faithful in the face of death, they were not only protected but blessed.

Fearing God can seem a difficult decision in a world that doesn’t. We may find ourselves gripped with doubt at the prospect of lost possessions, lost relationships, or a lost reputation. Yet, like those two women— in these weighty moments—we have to choose. Will we fear man? Or will we fear the God who loves us enough to guide us through earthly hardships to the gates of Glory?

May we walk forward in obedience today, seeking our Lord’s approval alone. May His words of affirmation be the only ones we long to hear: “Well done my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

“Fear of the Lord means I don’t have to fear anything else.”
- Jim Thomas

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  • Andrea Z.

    Fearing God over fearing man is something that really tested these women. They were basically putting their lives on the line to fear God instead of Pharaoh. I can personally think of situations where the circumstances were not that extreme yet I put my fear of man above God. But God is so faithful and clear about the blessing that comes with obeying Him. After obedience the next calendar event is always his honoring.

  • Marlaena

    As a student midwife, I definitely can connect with this one. May I trust in God wholeheartedly and not fear the unknowns that Coke my way.wh

  • Wow! This site hit me like a ton of bricks (in a good way). I am facing a major decision within my own family that I fear the outcome. Just talked to my pastor today and after reading this, God is really letting me know to obey Him and do what I know is right.

  • This kind of does apply today today; medical professionals who are instructed to perform abortions for whatever reason, the new ruling in favor of same sex marriage, in addition to MANY other rulings that are not biblical. What will we do in this time? Who will we fear? Who will we obey? I pray that it is the Lord! I pray that we find courage like these two women did to do the right thing!

  • If we look at the base verse they posted with this, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom then the midwives obviously feared God and had wisdom to know what to do and what to say to pharaoh. I think sometimes we caught up in the legality of it like the Pharisees in the NT and miss God’s point! God is always more interested in the heart! God knew these women wanted to do right by Him and not Pharoah. They were pleasing God , not man. I pray that when tough times come and they will I will be sensitive to the Spirit to lead me to do and say what God wants me to and not worry about pleasing man. May my wisdom come from God alone.

  • God’s blessing of the midwives in spite of the lie they tole Pharaoh I believe points to the message carried through the bible that Jesus highlights in the Sermon on the Mount. Righteousness is not all about our external actions (see Pharisees) but God looks at our hearts, motivations, intentions. These midwives had the choice between to do the righteous thing of saving these babies’ lives. Pharaoh asked for a horribly unrighteous thing and did not deserve the glory of an honest answer.

  • I don’t think it is as simple as a lie or a truth. If Pharoah thought it was a complete lie, these women would have probably lost their lives too; and who would have saved a generation? The next midwife would have faced the same situation, question, predicament and outcome. I believe sometimes, we as Christians can be put in the darkest of professions or situations. We submit to authority; they obviously had to report directly to the Pharoah who had some questionable ideals and values! I’m sure they handled the initial conversation about killing the babies well too– imagine if they had quit or stormed out at that point!! The nation needed midwives, far better for it to be God fearing women rather than man fearing! I believe they were governed by the grace of God, and that using some wisdom in their meeting with Pharoah saved a generation. I’m sure they found favour with Pharoah to have been able to continue after that meeting.

  • You don’t owe satan the truth,

  • In this instance it is possible they weren’t actually lying, God may well have aided the Hebrews in childbirth as a means of overcoming the wishes of the Pharaoh.

  • Meagan Durham

    It’s kind of a common theme week to week. Just read Rahab, and she lied to to protect Joshua’s spies.

  • Meagan Durham

    I think they did what they had to do to be obedient to God. They broke the laws of man and lied to the king, but by doing so, honored God and followed out his plan to build the family of Abraham.

  • I am confused about their lies to the leader and God rewarding them. Does anyone have thoughts of whether they should have lied or not about the mothers delivering before they got there?

  • Thank God for These God fearing midwives!!! Encouraged greatly by their story today!!! Praying for insight and wisdom similar to these ladies. The fear of the Lord is there beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. I want to understand this truth more.

  • SHAMEKAMICHELLE

    Being humble & obedient seems so difficult at times. I find myself telling my children to obey & leave the consequences to God. I need to follow that advice more often.

  • I’ve never thought much about these two women but to fear God more than they feared their ruler who had the power to kill them is really amazing. We are even seen it now in other countries when martyrs refuse to deny God. They cherish their relationship with God more than their own life. Something for us to think about and pray about. How far would we go to keep God as #1 in our own life?

  • I love those 2 women, they are such a beautiful example of wisdom, boldness and strength!

  • appledees

    This story is so powerful. These women had serious courage!!!
    Question: aren’t they Egyptian midwives…?

    • Mindy

      Yes! They were Egyptian! But they feared the God of the Israelites, so there was something very tangibly different about the God of the Israelites that prompted these Egyptian women to disobey their own Govt and obey a “hidden” deity instead.

    • Esther

      Verse 15 indicates that they were Hebrew

  • Nmalosky

    Some of us are struggling with the term “fear”. I thought this was helpful .http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/desiringgod/desiring-god-week-of-2-13.html

    • Lauren

      This was very helpful. After reading this extra devotion the SRT devotion is easier to make sense of. Thanks for sharing!

  • This day’s readings truly call us Women in the Word to fear our Lord but not because he is a mean God but rather because He is the source of our lives. As He worked through Siphrah and Puah, we are, too, called to bring life and let it flow. I’d even go a step further, in these days of disposable decisions; we are being called to defend life, to fight for it. Women are bombarded with the ideology of women’s rights and get lost in the process and lose themselves in the gibberish of this and that but God’s word is as real today as it was in Siphrah and Puah’s time and we must defend life at all costs for the unborn and old alike. Sisters, I ask you to join me in prayer for those government officials whom are pushing to pass a law that would enable doctors to end-of-life drugs to our elderly who may be suffering a debilitating disease and of course to end abortion not only in our country but in the world. May we be the Siphrahs and Puahs of our times!!

  • missiesan

    I read this yesterday and thought it posed such a challenge for me. I am a very anxious and fearful person, but I have been learning this year to let the only fear in my life be the Fear of the Lord, because He is great, He is always in control no matter what. Huzzah for reassurance!

    Anyhow, today I came across this song and well it just sums up the meditation for this day. It's called Leaning by 10,000 Fathers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT1wcCiQS88

    Enjoy!

  • Antimony

    ” Christ set the standard for us to follow—God’s love and law trump everything else”. He said the 2 greatest commandments: 1) Love God. 2) Love people. If those two principles govern my life, I will make the right choice every time. When I put myself in the #1 or #2 position, problems develop quickly

  • Kasey Summers

    If I fear God I have nothing else to fear!! He is my Protector! He has everything in control. Although I might not know what the future holds, I know WHO holds it and that’s all that matters!

  • This was really encouraging to me because my husband and I are about to make a big move and begin doing some mission work. This is exciting but doesn’t make a lot of sense to our families. It also means a lot of sacrifice and giving up a lot of things. Some days I want to dig my heels in and say, “No God it’s too much, you are asking too much”. But then I’m reminded that this life and this world holds nothing for me and that he is my reward. Through this transition and as we go forward I want to be able to look back and say that I feared the Lord more than any other aspect of this change. Oh, he is so worth it and getting to tell and show others that is so much more a perfect nursery for my babies or the right clothes or knowing the latest news or seeing the popular movies.

    • Michelle Trombley

      You are spot on… It’s hard to remember that sometimes in a world that focuses so much on earthly “things”. Blessings to you as you share His love! You are truly doing what God created us to do!

    • Anna Buchanan

      Thanks for the encouragement Gabby! I too am about to make a big move for my first job and there are many days when I too want to dig my feet into the ground and say, “No God. This is too much.” How beautiful to be reminded that when we fear God alone we have no need to fear anything else!!

    • Leann

      Hi Gabby, stay strong in your calling… Not too long ago I didn’t understand my daughter and her husband doing campus ministry . I worried about their finances and future children. But they have been such a witness to me , my husband and children that they actually helped us grow closer to Jesus and understand their sacrifices in His name. YOU are a witness for your family and I pray they will see Jesus through you! You are affecting generations just like the midwives;)

  • What amazed me most in this passage is that God felt it was very important to name these women. There are many women in the Bible where women are not name but for God to name these women for us shows that their job was important and by them honoring Him her honored them.

  • Fear of man had always been a struggle for me. What a great reminder this morning and what an amazing example we have in these two women.

  • Wow! Talk about confirmation. My husband Rick, my son Dillon and I were talking about our new commitment to God and our faith just Friday night and we all agreed that this may mean losing friends. We also all agreed that it’s ok if that happens and we only have to worry about what God thinks. He’s got our backs! Shiprah and Puah could have lost their lives – not just friends, their lives! – but chose to do the right think by God. This makes it a no brainer. I want to some day hear “well done good and faithful servant” and all I have to do is please Him? Yes!

    • Abigail

      Your words are convicting and encouraging. Thank you and may God richly bless your faith and fear of Him alone.

  • I too have read this story often and never really focused on these women, but this study brought them to our attention since they are women who feared God and followed Him and not man. How often do we follow after "man" and put God in the back burner. Hopefully, not often but we still do. These women were plucked out of the Bible for us to know!! I love it!! I can't pronounce their names but at least I know who they are!!!

    They are a blessing!!!

  • Mary Klundt

    As I’ve been reading this particular plan, God has been challenging me mentally and really explore the different passages and stories about the women we read about, particularly towards the ethical parts of the stories. Don’t worry, I’m not going to say these midwives were wrong. Why would I? It’s just interesting to me how their reverence towards God affected their actions; Pharaoh was told something that was a little untrue, and they kept delivering the Hebrew boys. But what Diana said about fearing man versus fearing God (or revering God) brings so much clarity to me. I hope this doesn’t come across as an advocacy for not revealing the truth, but more so that God is always higher; higher than man. Thank you again for providing us with what God has entrusted you to speak to us.

  • I love that you choose these two women. Not much is written about them and yet they had an important role in Israel! Thank you for choosing them and relating them to our lives. I needed this one today.

  • Same here! I’ve read the book but never thought of how significant their role was and how obedient they were! Today was a great, thought-provoking reading! Thank you!

  • I never realized the significance of these two women. I've read the story many times but it wasn't until it was brought to my attention in the Women in the Word book, how these woman helped shape a nation. WOW!

  • Snowsbeloved

    My question is (and I’ve always wondered it whenever I read this passage): is there justification for lying for the greater good. The midwives told the pharaoh that the Hebrew women birthed their babies before they could arrive. While that happens sometimes, I don’t think that was always the case. It’s kind of the same feeling I get when I read about dishonesty of Christians who helped save Jews during the Holocaust. So is it ever okay to lie?

    • Ifi

      Hi Snowsbeloved, I have had this question as well. For me, I see this as similar to Daniel’s story where he and his friends blatantly disobeyed the king + the law of the land because it went against what was right in God’s eyes. Or like Jesus healing on the sabbath…that also was against the law. So, just like these ladies we studied about I think these are circumstances where there were people going against what was required (legally, religiously etc) because following the ‘law’ would have meant sinning against God. Whether that’s right or wrong, who can really say? But for example, these women faced a choice of lying vs committing murder…can’t say I envy that moral dilemma at all!

      • Christine

        Of course it’s ok to lie when the one in power is evil and all but spits in the face of God. Those women saved a nation. The Christians during the holocaust saved thousands from atrocities. I would lie to save my family. If a murderer broke into your home and only found you, asking if anyone else was there would you offer your children up in the name of morals??

  • Kimberly Martinson

    This reading and devo make me aware of how much of my fear comes from the wrong places.

  • I’m not exactly sure what Fearing the Lord really means?? What does that look like?

    • Maya

      Fearing the Lord means to have reverence and awe for Him above anyone or anything else, Janine. Recognizing that He is the ultimate authority. (Hope that helps… There’s a great book called “Fear of the Lord” by John Bevere that I very highly recommend.)

    • A Follower of Jesus

      "To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech."
      Prov 8:13 (HCSB)

  • Veronica

    Such a good devotional… Especially for a Monday morning! Let’s live our lives in faith and in fear of the Lord’s glory, not his wrath!

  • This could not have been more spot on for me today. I'm currently struggling with a few situations that are completely out of my hands and I'm grappled with anxiety, fear over losing relationships, lack of trust… MORE than I am fearing God and His perfect plans. I pray to just let it all go to God, and to remain in His sight. I pray to be obedient and bold for Christ, and believe His promises this week. So thankful for this plan – it has been so convicting! And always thankful for this amazing community.

    • Yana

      Hi Ashley. In your faith you expressed in your second sentence that it already was “completely out of my hands” God has His plan, He knows what is best for all involved. I was in a similar situation last year at this time. Relationships were lost and changed, trust was gone, but My Father has shown,guided, provided and instructed me. Though still struggling with the painful loss of the incident I know it was for my best.
      You are in my prayers.

  • Sarabeth

    Somewhat of a different take on this but here it goes. As one who has been in the delivery room with the babies, I cannot imagine not getting the baby to breathe and to live. Male or female. These women probably had the same reaction. Doing what is instinctual and right. Maybe when they first heard the command they paused and thought about it, but God and life were the obvious choice. In other areas of my life, however, the decision and choice to fear God above men is not instinctual or an automatic decision. I pray that my heart and mind will get to a point where the fear of God is the obvious choice in ALL things.

    • Michelle

      “I pray that my heart and mind will get to a point where the fear of God is the obvious choice in ALL things.” Yes! Love this.

  • I had four girl babies, but God blessed my midwife and I with the birth of a boy baby, last. He wouldn't eat enough and she got me a feeding tube to supliment with formula while he nursed. I had emergency galbladder surgery and she took my tiny boy and nursed him with the feeding tube for 24 hours every two hours for me. (I pumped the bad milk in the hospital). After the surgery he and I grew strong and he didn't need the feeding tube supliment after 2 more weeks.
    My midwife saved my boy's life. God has saved him numerous time since and at 19 it is very clear that God has a great call for him.

  • Ruth McMonagle

    My heart sunk when I read this story. Immediately I thought of the daily murder of little embryos in my country, Canada. I thought of the GIRL babies destroyed in India right now to the point that there is a serious imbalance between the male and female populations. I feel like I am one person against the millions who think that this is okay. I am not an activist, but today I will remember to try not fear what others think about anything in my life (the lesson that lots of us picked up from the passage) but also to pray for God's sovereignty in the matter of the heartless destruction of little lives. I am asking God for a soft heart, and a will to pray and trust.

  • Adrienna

    Today is the first time I’ve journaled through this instead of just reading it, and I’m so glad I did! I caught myself referring to these women as “fearless,” a word that I could never use to describe myself. I struggle with anxiety often, and fear feels as much a part of my life as breathing sometimes. But then I realized that they weren’t fearless at all. Their courage wasn’t something completely unattainable for me, because they did have fear. They just feared God more than Pharaoh. It’s not about not being afraid, necessarily. It’s about knowing that God is infinitely more important than man and putting the fear in the proper place.

  • Wow, how desperately I needed this today! My work week has already started out terribly – I've been at work for 2 hours – yet I can trust and fear the Lord's power rather than fear man and fall to that affliction. The Lord will guide me.

  • laboranddeliveryRNandmama

    As an ob nurse, this passage struck a deep cord with me. I have the blessing of seeing and helping bring life into this world each time I go to work. I cannot imagine being given the ultimatum to end the life of 50% of the babies I helped deliver. BUT, our God is so good! He gave Shiphrah & Puah (and gives us) the gift of faith and courage and through their faithfulness He continued his plan save a nation. And then, He blesses their obedience by giving them families of their own! Thank you God for your abundant blessings to all who call upon Your name in faith and trust!

  • Lauren Thompson

    This study has been such a blessing to me! I have found myself eagerly checking at midnight to see if the next devotional is posted! I have honestly never read about Shiphrah and Puah, but instead skipped to chapter 2 to read Moses’ story. Thank you for introducing me to these brave women!
    My favorite passage in the Bible is Ephesians 6:19-20, where Paul is asking for prayer, that he might “fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” May we all be fearless today and every day to be obedient to God and His calling on our lives!

  • Megan Segraves

    So we are clear, these women lied to Pharaoh, right? How do we justify that? It isn’t addressed in the text and it puzzles me a bit. Did they have Rabbinic guidance that would support breaking the 8th commandment?
    I am in favor of their action in disobeying the King, and even understand the purpose of their lie. If they had not, Pharaoh might have found other midwives who would obey him. I just wonder how we can consider this consistent with other commands.
    Okay, there is my theological quandary for the day. :)

    • ashleyrose

      That part always puzzles me, too. It's hard when we get into the gritty details and start dissecting it w/ the practicalities. We want to just read an amazing story of bravery and not have to think about the tiny details such as lying. But, alas, these are the details that always catch my eye, and I am not sure what the explanation is or when it is "right" or when it's just being "brave." However, I do know that the Lord honors those who are faithful and who live by His Spirit. So, I just pray that in every situation such as this, I am acting out of the Spirit and not out of my own human-ness. That may be the difference.

      • Megan Segraves

        Thank you! I’m glad I’m not the only one who grapples with these ideas. Even when the answer is unclear I need to think about it. I also have to make sure I don’t miss the larger message. I can take God at His Word (little pun there), and trust that He was pleased by their actions.

    • Adrienna

      They didn’t have the Ten Commandments at that point in time, so they may not have know it was wrong. That’s how I make sense of it, anyway.

      • Megan Segraves

        Valid point. But I don’t know that having the commandment or not makes it less wrong. Those who do not know the law are still judged by it. It just hurts my brain a bit to ponde.

      • Megan Segraves

        Ponder. Whoops.

    • Gina

      My study bible says: rather than trying to argue for a justifiable lie on the part of the midwives seeking to protect Gods people, take it as a statement of what was true. God was directly involved in this affair of birth and national growth. That’s the key to understanding why no decree of Pharaoh would workout as he intended it, and why Hebrew women were so healthy and gave birth with ease.

    • Bbenabe

      This is where our humanity comes in. They lied just like Abraham lied, Moses lied, David and so on. Those great men and women were blessed by God. There is hope for us today!! In our mistakes God still looks at the heart and blesses and teaches us lessons so that we can make better choices next time.

    • Lizzie B

      They may not have lied. All the text says is that they didn’t do as Pharaoh told them to do, they let the boys live. They told Pharaoh that Hebrew women gave birth before they got there. Maybe they intentionally came late to the births in order to let the boys live. It might be a stretch, but something to consider.

      • Megan Segraves

        Perhaps I am reading into the text. Usually it does seem that lies are called out in the Bible, even when (or especially when) the people in the story are in favor with God. It just seems implausible to me that there were two midwives (of course, it never said they were the only ones…it just didn’t mention others) and so many births and they wouldn’t be there. You are right that there seems to be a lot unknown so I should probably take the passage at its word and know that their actions pleased God and they were used by God. Like AshleyRose above, I just can’t keep myself from noticing these things…

    • Bonnie

      The way I see it, we as Christ followers are under no obligation to tell the truth to those who have evil intentions, as long as we never deny our God. Like the Christian hiding a Jew in their attic and telling the Nazi soldier no one is up there. Our God would never hold that kind of lie against us. On the other hand, if we’re trying to save our own necks by telling a gunman ‘no sir, I’m not a Christian, don’t shoot’ – that would be a terrible lie.
      As for these midwives, their lie (if it was one) ensured that they could continue helping God’s people deliver babies, just as He intended.

      • Megan Segraves

        I see your point, I just don’t know how to justify that in Scripture. I agree with the result but am unsure of the means. If only things were as clear as I imagined when I was young! :)

        • Bonnie

          That is the point where I am content to say that I won’t understand it all on this side of glory. We aren’t intended to. :)

    • Tina Cotton

      I love the real questions being asked!

    • michelle

      Great question. I recognize God as the ultimate authority but I would not say I feared him. How does one fear a loving father? Fear of disappointment-that I can relate to. Thanks for the book recommendation.

  • How very timely is this bit of scripture! Given some issues the Supreme Court is currently considering, we as Christians could very soon find ourselves in a similar situation as these two women; forced to risk our welfare to obey Gods laws instead of the laws of a country who is rapidly turning its back on Him. When we seek to change the very definition of what God has created, we are most certainly not fearing The Lord. I pray only that His people everywhere will be faithful, like these two women were, in the face of whatever consequences may come to those who choose Gods way over mans ways.

    • [email protected]

      This was the very first thing that came to my mind, Angela. Sometimes Bible stories seem abstract and ancient, but this story has much more modern day application than we can imagine. Lord, may we have the bravery and courage of Shiprah and Puah and, above all else, fear you.

  • I love this one today! Over the past year, any time I encounter ‘fear of the Lord’ in the Bible, it always catches my attention. I haven’t really had a satisfactory feeling for what it means, until Proverbs 9:10 came back today and Diana’s various explanations and examples. Fear of the Lord isn’t a bad fear, it’s submitting to God and looking to Him in all situations.

  • It’s so awesome that my photo fell on this days devotion and it talked about fear. This year I felt led to pick fearless as my one little word.

  • Praise God!

  • lauraloewen1221

    I always love learning about the "minor" characters of the Bible.

    The ones who don't have their name forever in lights like Moses, King David, Peter or Paul.

    The ones who may appear to just be a blip on the screen, mentioned briefly in a single verse.

    Yet, God's Word is breathed by Him, and nothing is a mistake in it. We can trust it fully. And so, we can also trust that even what seems like incredibly minor characters have something to teach us, something God wants us to glean from their stories.

    Proverbs 29:25 that was mentioned today is such a great verse, too! "The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be protected".

    It's so easy to get caught up in what others think of us: our parenting style, the way we dress, the words we choose…but when we go back to Shiprah and Puah we're reminded of that constant theme throughout Scripture to just trust the One who made us and gave Himself for us. To fear Him alone and that the rest will fall into place.

    I want to be a woman who fears God more. A woman whose hope, trust and EVERYTHING is wrapped up and hid in Christ.

    • Delores P.

      Very true.

    • Meline

      Amen to that!!!

    • [email protected]

      Amen!

  • Both this devotional and everyone’s comments were such a blessing to me this morning! These midwives are such a beautiful picture of one of my favorite verses. “Do not fear what they fear, do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” 1 Peter 3:15. The midwives acknowledged that God is Lord. Pharaoh was not. God blessed them, but even if they had lost their lives for their actions, their hope in God would NOT have been misplaced. I pray that a greater understanding of Christ’s sovereignty and lordship and greater hope in him will help me overcome fear of man and the other fears I face.

    Have a great Monday!

  • Marianna

    My favorite part about this is that we know their names!!!–Shiprah and Puah, lowly Egyptian midwives, are still being talked about thousands of years later! on the other hand, the pharaoh, the most powerful man on earth at the time, is left unnamed. Significance to the Lord is clearly not based on worldly power!!

  • Love this devo – especially the quote at the end :fear of the Lord means I don’t need to fear anything else.

  • I needed to hear this today!

    I have felt myself get distracted from truly believing God over the past few days, as my mind has returned to a painful situation that my family experienced a little over a year ago.

    We left a church due to some disagreements that could not be solved- although my husband and I tried many times to seek reconciliation and restoration. I have found myself wanting to control the situation, wanting vindication. Desiring to clear the air and ensure every one know exactly what happened and how we were dealt with wrongly. Wanting my reputation and relationships back, fearing what I can only imagine my “friends” have been told about the situation (since we never had a chance to talk to our friends after we left the church-in part because we didn’t want to cause division in the church and also because communication pretty much seemed to be “cut off.”)

    I have been fearing man – what they have heard about the situation, what they think about our family… And those have caused me to be preoccupied with wanting to ” set the record straight “. I even feel the fear rise up in me each time my family visits a new church…” Is this going to happen here? ” I worry. “Can I trust again?” I wonder.

    Thank you for the reminder that God is in control, he has a plan-even though I can’t see it, and it doesn’t make any sense to me. I pray that the Lord would fix my eyes-along with those of all the other SRT ladies-on Christ, not man. May we fear the one true God!

    • Beth

      Sue – I went through what sounds like a very similar situation 7 years ago. I still don’t have any answers, still wait for my husband to be restored, but I wanted to reply so you would know that you’re not alone. Praying for you and your family.

    • Tori Randolph

      Hi Sue,
      I will be in prayer about your family and the fear of man. And also the newness that you are experiencing as you find a different community of believers to sharpen and be sharpened by. I’m sure we all have tasted a bit what you are going through. And even the apostles had their moments when they went their separate ways because of differing opinions and different ways of evangelizing. I want to highlight a verse in this passage of Exodus that spoke to me, and now after reading your message, I feel this verse is for you. “The more they were oppressed the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad.” and one more from Ephesians “For we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
      The oppression you’re experiencing is not from man, but from the enemy. But this oppression will not hold you back it will strengthen your family to spread the Gospel even wider than before. Put on the full armor of God and know that He will sustain you.

    • Candacejo

      I have been through this too, Sue. It isn't easy but I will tell you that God will always be FAITHFUL. You may never see vindication, you may never get to clear the air but you and your family know the Truth and so does Almighty God. He will restore, He will renew and give you a place of ministry again. You may not get any answers or understand the "why's?". But I promise if you hold HIS hand you will all be stronger and your ministry more vibrant and valuable than before. David was lied about and hunted down like an animal by Saul! The will of God prevailed even though it took some ugly twists and turns. Just trust Him, He is in control! ♥

  • Wonderful passage selection today! For the first time reading this the Lord brought to my mind how well suited this text is to meditate on concerning the rampant abortion-industry around the world right now. The Pharoah wanted the Hebrew boys killed because “the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel.” So, the Egyptians feared the Hebrews-feared what condition they were in with them in their country, feared what the Hebrews would grow to become, feared how their lives would change if they let the Hebrews keep growing. Shiprah and Puah, on the other hand, rightly feared God, the creator of the universe…and babies. I’m afraid our society has come to fear our little ones and the effects they may have on ones life more than we fear God. Lord, may one person reading this passage today be struck to the heart because of the mercy you show to those who honor the helpless infant lives in our world.

    • Tina

      Yes! Thank you for mentioning the worlds fear of babies/children; I hear so many people that are weary of new life or the possibility of many children in families or big communities while it is the God of the universe who has made these lives. They are no mistake and like these midwives we should cherish and preserve all life that is created in God’s image. Praise God for this!

    • Kimberly

      Thank you for your post, Lindsey! I'm the Exec. Director of Pregnancy Resource Medical Clinic (What used to be called a Crisis Pregnancy Center)…a Christian ministry for women with an unplanned pregnancy. I too thought of the parallels to the abortion industry and the devaluing of human life so prevelant in society today. But, we can choose to be like Shiphrah and Puah in our generation when we fear God more than we fear man and protect life rather than destroy it. Thank you again for saying it so well. God bless you!

    • [email protected]

      So very true Lindsey! "The Creator of the universe…and babies". I love this!

  • Ashley Aylsworth

    Wow what an amazing passage!! I applaud these courageous, faithful women for following God’s word in a time where their lives and safety could have easily been at stake. Shiphrah and Puah not only saved many lives – these incredible gifts from God – but furthermore their actions many years ago also paint a beautiful example of how we should conduct our lives today. Thank you for this reminder, “that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭2‬:‭5‬ ESV) Praise our almighty Father and His never-ending love.

  • I love this post because it reminds us that daily there are folk we may not hear about, see or know that are great examples of faith. Our daily lives no matter what we do need to be reflections of obedience to God. Shiphrah and Puah had a huge decision to make; do we follow God or man? And while our daily decisions may not be so massive, are we choosing man or choosing God. When we handle a difficult person, are we choosing God? When we are driving in traffic, are we choosing God? When we are faced with handling our children, husbands, loved ones, are we choosing God? These may not be immediate life or death decisions, but I want to ensure that I am choosing God. Our identity, whatever our situation, should be so wrapped up in God that is all others see.

    My prayer is that in daily little I choose God, so if ever faced with "big", without a moment, thought, or hesitation I appoint God over the situation and over my life. ~ B

  • Sarah Jane

    Hello, good srt friends- I have a big job interview today. I will be interviewed by about 6 co-workers I’ve known for a long time. Please pray that I solely fear the Lord and his plan for me and not the judgement or acceptance of the interview team. Thank you!!

  • How cheeky! "They are not like Egyptian women but are vigorous and give birth before we arrive."
    THAT is an insult!
    Brave ladies!!
    Very brave!

  • These women were just as brave as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but I have never heard of them until today. This doesn’t seem right to me.

    Nevertheless, I am glad to know about them now! I’m thankful to see more examples in the Bible of women who were courageous because of their love for God.

  • The courage that these two women had, along with their faith and fear of displeasing God, saved a baby Moses. These women had no idea that their faith and obedience to and for God would lead to the redemption of Israel from slavery. They just did what was right & good by God. God was in their hearts and these two women chose to listen. No one in Gods elaborate plan is trivial; everyone’s role is equally important. By simply obeying God and not allowing themselves to be bullied into fearing man, the one baby they saved grew up and saved a nation! We may not see the plan, or understand the plan at the moment, but keep faith, remain obedient and do right by God. He will always do right by us!!

  • It’s encouraging to read that “when they were faithful they were not only protected, but blessed.” It’s true for us today, too! When we lean on and trust our Almighty Father, He will do more than just guide us on our path, but he will bless us! Thanks for this encouragement as we start a brand-new week!

  • Kelly_Smith

    In my teenage years, I had a moment of realization: my faith was so shallow that, given the choice, I would choose to preserve my own life over following God. That broke my heart in the sobbing uncontrollably, laying on the altar long after the service ended kind of way. I knew the facts; Jesus gave His life for me and I wouldn't do the same. I was a coward, a casual Christian, a fake. I felt ashamed that I could not/would not do what Shiphrah and Puah did. Since that time, my fear of God has grown. Accounts like this, and like the 21 Egyptian Christians (thank you for honoring them in your comment, Candacejo), cause me to examine my heart again. Given the choice, would I obey God even to the point of death? I have not faced such a decision, but I do have micro-decisions that pit the will of man against the will of God. My faith and fear can grow in those micro-decision moments, giving me the wisdom and courage I need to stand firm if and when a life-changing decision is before me.

    Praying for our brothers and sisters around the world who are in chains today because of their faith. Praying for the families of the martyrs, whose numbers are growing daily as the enemies of God terrorize our world. I pray that those of us in the comforts of our home might choose God in small ways, honoring Him and those who choose God in big ways.

    • anne

      Kelly thanks so much for your reminder of the many Christians that are in danger because of their faith. That as I grow thru this study and appreciate the faith of all the women in this group I never take this freedom lightly. And like you said we have choices z9even if not putting us in direct danger of our lives,) that we can decide to honor God and not man. He suffered for us and so the small ways we can "suffer" in honor of Him are a blessing.

    • Tina

      Kelly thank you for this connection and honesty! I was thinking of the decisions and actions we in the “christianized” countries face daily and while they aren’t in risk of our lives like the midwives or the 21 Egyptian Christians, they are still choices to follow Christ in how he is leading us in out walk. I’m praying today that we women would view our opportunities to say yes to God and no to ourselves as Shiphrah and Puah did. Asking the Holy Spirit for strength and courage in this!!
      xx

    • lauraloewen1221

      Thank you, Kelly for sharing. Also, for reminding us to pray for the persecuted. That is so heavy on my heart, and yet I will often get so distracted by my own little life that I forget to stop and pray. XO

    • cjackson924

      Wow, thank you for your honesty Kelly. I am not sure how I would truthfully answer that question either. I think today, many of us are not forced to put our lives on the line for our faith (thankfully). But, I still struggle with fearing God rather than fearing man in day-to-day things. They seem so insignificant at the time, but I struggle to honor him at times

    • Kim

      Thanks Kelly. I have often struggled with that question too. I think it's equally important to make that choice for God in even the smallest things b/c sometimes those are the things that seem like they don't matter. But it's being faithful in those smaller things that build the foundation for the times that we're called to make a choice for God in a big way. Trusting Him in ALL things – to guide us, watch over us and give us life – can never steer us wrong.

  • Candacejo

    I could hear the Apostle Peter, after being threatened not to preach anymore about Jesus Christ: "We must obey God rather than men!" Acts 5:29.

    I could also see the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on their knees, and doubtless saying in their hearts, "We must obey God rather than men!"

    Shiphrah and Puah changed the course of history by their refusal to bow to tyranny and infanticide. Knowing they could lose their own lives by their disobedience makes them even more the heroines in my eyes.

    Contemplating and praying this morning that my faith and my confidence in the One True God, Jesus Christ the Righteous, is enough not just for me…but for others whose lives need saving and rescuing.

    Blessed Monday. ♥

    • Kelly_Smith

      Sobering thought–those 21 brave Christians who met God when they chose to fear Him rather than men. And a sobering challenge, to have a fear that encourages others to believe fiercely.

    • debragohn

      I was thinking of those 21 men also as I read this today. Praying for faith to overcome anything Satan has planned for me today.
      Blessings.

    • Mary

      Thank you for tying this story into the martyrdom of the 21 Coptic Christians. As a Copt myself, that atrocity was terrifying and painful and it took weeks to get the images out of my head… But the striking thing about that was their peace and faith that was recorded!! I also think of the three saintly children in the fire, with God Himself making an appearance and making the raging fire as a cool mist.
      I've never heard of this story in the OT but I'm thankful to learn about the faith and obedience and BOLDNESS of these women!!

    • MCE

      I love that they were a team. I can imagine the community just between the two of them… maybe encouraging the other when she got scared or had doubts. While they would have been held accountable for their actions individually, they spur one another on in obedience. Beautiful.

    • cjackson924

      Thank you for sharing that verse in Acts! I love that the Bible (both old and new testament) contains countless stories of normal people defying this world to obey God!

  • carlybenson

    What amazing women! I don't think I could even have told you who Shiphrah and Puah were but they showed just as much courage and faith as people like Daniel who are remembered more for it. I love that although what they did probably wasn't known about by many people, even at the time, God knew and God rewarded them. It truly is about living for him- whether other people approve or even notice doesn't really matter.
    Also thought I'd share a song that I think links really well with this subject and is now going to be stuck in my head all day! It's "You Shine" by Brian Doeksen- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZPoCRl0uHM

  • It's funny, reading the scripture, the last couple of lines, spoke so clearly to me…..

    My youngest grandson, took his first Holy Communion yesterday…Aah, the children that took part all looked beautiful, in their finery, their expectant expressions with a tad of apprehension…to get right what they had been studying for…I had tears, not just fir my grandson, but for all of them, and if truth be known, probably for me too…. I digress…He was represented by a fair few of his immediate family, those he had known all his life, mum, dad, 2 grandmothers, a brother and sister, an uncle and 2 aunties…yet we were not the only family he had there, there was also the church family, and although we may have been there to support our candidate, we were also there to support ALL the communicants…My grandsons family grew yesterday, as did all the children participating, as he/they accepted the Body of Christ..in their obedience, for the next stage of their lives, God has given them 'families' to share and to walk this journey with….they will never be alone, for He, God is with them, in the form of this 'new family' … I think that is amazing…

    ….Well done my good and faithful servant..

    Walking as my grandson and others did yesterday, Lord, in obedience, expectant and fear of the Lord…Renewing my promise to you, Lord on the day of my baptism, that I may one day also hear you say… 'Well done, my good and faithful servant…' Thank you for the reminder today Lord God..Thank you…in the mighty name of Jesus, this is my prayer…Amen..

    Happy Monday Dears,..Be Blessed abundantly…xx

    • Candacejo

      What a great weekend for you!! So happy you were surrounded by family ♥

    • ~ B ~

      That must have been beautiful to watch you grandson go through! I second Nannette's thoughts … what a great weekend being surrounded by family! ~ B

    • LTW

      Tina, the amazing thing about God's grace is that he will one day say to all of us who are In Christ…."Well done my good and faithful servant", as he looks upon us and sees His sons perfect righteousness. What kind of love the father has that he would give his sons life for us, His forgiveness was something I fully understood when I was first saved, but it wasn't until much later I would come to understand the doctrine of "imputed righteousness". That Jesus's perfect life of being tempted, yet without sin, while he was alive on this earth, has been credited to me! Wow! undeserving love and mercy and grace! And this is why the father will say to me "well done good and faithful servant", because of what Jesus did, not because of my doing. More reason to LOVE OUR SAVIOR!!!!

      • Devon

        Yes yes and yes! It is because of what Jesus did, not what we do! Amen!!

  • I read in a commentary that midwives usually were barren – given that a woman’s purpose was really tied to her success at child-bearing, it was thought such women could at least be in some way useful to society by helping in the child-birthing process. It was also suggested they were possibly older, experienced women – based on their apparently respectable enough status to be the ones the pharaoh spoke to about his plans.
    But despite all of these factors, coupled with the potential risk to their lives that they faced by disobeying the king, they chose their reverence and awe of God instead. Just like Daniel and his friends.
    They chose to be life-givers…and God made them life-givers in every sense, giving them children of their own. Which is miraculous enough but even more so if you consider how old they likely were and that they were probably previously barren.
    I seriously cannot get over how amazing our God is?? And to think He is just waiting to do this and more for us if we will just have the faith! I’m in awe of His love!

  • This story is significant for me, because I gave birth to my daughter during Passover season, and we felt God prompting us to name our daughter after one of the women in the story. We chose Shiphrah, which means "brilliant" in Hebrew. As I read the story, I was so struck by the fact that Shiphrah and Puah (even though we know very little about them) are among the very few women that the Bible credits with believing God. In fact, it' staggering how many heroes of faith (male or female) don't have this distinction. Their faith is rare, and it makes them a brilliant example for us as women.
    I love how the end of the passage describes how God dealt well with them by "giving them families". Isn't it the same with each of us? God has dealt well with us, giving us each an opportunity to be adopted into His family. Family is the ultimate reward.

    • lauraloewen1221

      Thanks so much for sharing your sweet story, Hannah. I LOVE it! How beautiful that your daughter can not only carry the banner of "brilliance" with her, but of one who trusts in God at all costs. <3

      God certainly has dealt well with us, giving us the exact opposite of what we deserve. Have a great day, lady!

      • hannah

        Thanks Laura for that picture of our daughter carrying the banner of brilliance, and of trust at all costs!

    • cjackson924

      I love that the bible names these women too. I think it is significant that Shiphrah means "brilliant". Many women were not named in the Bible (ex. Lot's wife) even though they were important. Because these two women are named, I think it really demonstrates their importance and their rare faith!

      • hannah

        I agree! names are always great clues about what's important to God. And it's beautiful to think how God calls each of us by name, even if we are nameless in history.

    • Meline

      How beautiful that you named your daughter Shiphrah! Thanks for sharing your words, Hannah!

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