Call the Midwives
A few weeks ago, I read an article that did not sit well with me at all. The basic premise was that single women should spend their time helping married women, and caring for children. Now, I don’t want anyone to misunderstand, I think that helping others and spending time with children is great if that’s what God has called you to, however, I just didn’t believe that these activities were the primary things that single women should be focused on. The article just seemed to be saying that single women should be assistants to the married women until we are promoted to the role of wife. This idea did not sit well with me at all, so I decided to see what the Bible had to say.
Spoiler Alert- they’re not sitting home waiting to be promoted to wife. These women are courageous, fierce and were greatly used by God.
This week and next week I’ve got two more examples of single women who God used in huge ways. This week we’re looking at the midwives in Exodus 1. Their names are Shiprah and Puah. These self assured single women were living in Egypt during a very painful time in Israel’s history. A new king had taken the power in Egypt. He was intimidated by the size of the Israelite nation and made the Israelites his slaves. He hoped that if they were treated harshly and worked to the bone, they would become weak and wouldn’t be a threat to the nation of Egypt. However, God had other plans for His people.
Exodus 1:12 says, “But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread.” What an amazing statement! God will accomplish his purposed in spite of evil rulers trying to plot against Him. The more the God blessed the Israelites the more anxious the king of Egypt became. I can picture him now, sitting on his throne, wringing his hands, trying to figure out how he would stop the ever growing nation of Israel. The plan he came up with is absolutely sickening. In Exodus 1:16 he instructs the midwives to kill every male child born to a Hebrew woman.
What a horrible thing to ask the midwives to do! In Exodus 1:17 we learn what the midwives thought of this idea. The verse says, “They had far too much respect for God and didn’t do what the king of Egypt ordered.” Wow! What courage! I feel like I’m often too timid or nervous to stand up for my beliefs around friends or family, I can’t imagine defying a powerful king.
Living in the United States it is rare that we are directly ordered by the government to do something that is against God’s commands, the compromises tend to be much more subtle. It’s important to be on the lookout; are you doing things that you know are unethical to appease a boss, or have you convinced yourself certain sins aren’t really bad because they are acceptable in today’s society? Be alert, be on the lookout, do not compromise God’s truth for anyone.
Okay, stepping off my little soapbox! Back to the midwives.
The king soon figured out that the midwives were not doing what he asked so he called them to have a meeting with him. Now this was no ordinary meeting; the odds were stacked against the midwives in every way. The midwives were servants meeting a king, they were also slaves meeting their ruler. They had every reason to be afraid and to feel like they should just do whatever the king wanted to avoid being punished. At this meeting the king straight up asks them why they haven’t been killing the baby boys (Ex. 2:18). They respond by saying that the women give birth so quickly that they can’t get there fast enough (Ex. 2:19).
I cannot imagine how intimidating it must have been to meet with the king. I get nervous before giving presentations at work, I probably would’ve passed out if I was about to tell a fib to a king. Somehow though, I don’t imagine these women shaking in their boots before the king. I think that they were standing tall and confident because they knew that honoring God is so much more important than honoring men.
Verse 20 tells us what God thought of the midwives obedience. It says, “God was pleased with the midwives… and because the midwives honored God, God gave them families of their own.”
How amazing! God was pleased and blessed these women for their obedience! Should we obey God just so we can receive blessings? No, but following God’s commands always brings blessings. God not only blessed the midwives with their own families, He also saved the nation of Israel through them. Our obedience or disobedience affects more than just us. If these women did not obey God, all of history could look very different. While we may not see it immediately, we can be confident that if we are living for God He will use us in amazing ways!