In our celebrity-driven, media-immersed culture, we need to be reminded that often the real heroes are those living faithfully in obscurity, enacting their faith in God in ways that are costly to them and unpopular in their culture. Such were Shiphrah and Puah, the two midwives who disobeyed the command of Pharaoh regarding the slaughter of the Israelites’ male infants. These two women defied the most powerful empire in the world at the time, because they feared God more than they feared Pharoah.
In every generation, believers are tempted to do things that are culturally acceptable, even “world changing” by earthly standards, without realizing that God may want them to stand against the masses and bring about change—which can sometimes mean doing some culturally unacceptable and very unpopular things.
Shiphrah and Puah must have felt an enormous temptation to compromise their integrity in exchange for perceived safety and security. If they defied Pharaoh, it could cost them their lives. However, Moses tells us these women “feared God” and refused to kill the male infants. They respected the preservation of life in their hearts and acted in faith, believing that the God of Israel would be faithful to them.
These women did not compromise or bend to the wicked dictates of Pharaoh, and the result of their faithful service is astonishing. Their actions resulted in the preservation of Moses, and ultimately, Jesus Christ—coming Messiah, new (and lasting) covenant Mediator, and Savior of the world. God also rewarded the midwives with families of their own (Exodus 1:22).
The Lord not only protected these courageous women, but also His promise to send a Redeemer into the world to rescue a people from every nation, tribe, and tongue (Revelation 7:9). May we also commit ourselves to doing the unpopular and costly acts of faithfulness, in the obscurity of our everyday lives and without an audience. We may never see the immeasurable fruit that God brings about on account of our courageous faithfulness, but we can be sure that He will be with us as we seek to live and act in faith according to His word and promise.
Written by Nick Batzig