Godly Fear, the Key to Obedience – My Daily Bread!
The Bible tells the story of two women who once defied a king in order to obey the Lord. I often wonder what they were thinking before they made their decision for God. They may have echoed the sentiments found in our words of encouragement today which is taken from Psalm 27: 1-2, NIV which reads:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”
The story of these two women is too remarkable to ignore. It is rich with the things of God that can encourage our hearts today, conquering fears, pleasing God not men, making a choice for obedience and most importantly, the rewards and blessing of obedience! Their story is told in Exodus 1:15-22. They were Hebrew midwives who served during the time of the Israelites captivity in Egypt; their names were Shiphrah and Puah.
In this story we find the Israelites now slaves to the Egyptians; how very far from their position of favor 400 years earlier when they entered the land of Egypt as the esteemed relatives of Joseph, the number two leader behind only Pharaoh the King! How did that happen? Sometime after the death of Joseph and his brothers, “A new king who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. They put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor.” (Exodus 1:8-11, NIV)
Keep in mind that Moses, the man God would use to free the Israelites from Egyptian bondage had not yet been born. Life for them was very hard: “the more they were oppressed the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields.” (Exodus 1: 12-14, NIV)
But what of Shiphrah and Puah; how did they figure into all this? As midwives they were responsible for attending the births all the Hebrew children. The King devised a plan to have the Hebrew male children killed at birth and he wanted to use these women to carry out his plan. So imagine their surprise when he met with them face to face to tell them what he expected of them. The Word does not tell us what they said to the King if anything. Normally, if you were called before the king you were told what to do and dismissed. This may be why the Bible does not mention what they said.
What is of utmost importance is what they did! No doubt they were afraid; but they did not let their fear cause them to sin against God. It would have been easy to succumb to fear knowing the King held the power of life and death over them in their current roles as slaves. But listen to what they did: “The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do, they let the boys live.” (Exodus 1: 17, NIV)
GOD IN ACTION – Because of their obedience, God blessed Shiphrah and Puah – “So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, He gave them families of their own.” (Exodus 1; 20-21, NIV) Apparently up to this point in their lives they had no children of their own. But God blessed them in a mighty big way!
LIFE LESSIONS: When man’s laws conflict with God’s “we must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29, NIV) Can you hear echoes of the questions above – whom shall I fear? The bottom line – Shiphrah and Puah knew who to fear! They had the proper perspective on who was ultimately in control of their lives, God, not the king. Saints, the proper fear of God leads to obedience! Sometimes in our lives we may be confronted with situations where we are pressed to do something against God by people of influence, or those who may control aspects of our livelihood; however, as Saints of the Most High God we should resist giving in and look for ways to act against it; always trusting in God for His way out, for that is all we need to do for Him to begin His work!
Copyright© 2011-2012 Colleen Holton All Rights Reserved.