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Shiphrah and Puah

                                                                      Merilee Ottoson

Do those names sound familiar to you? Probably not. I doubt those names are on any list for the “most popular”! You may remember that in the book of Genesis, Joseph arranged for his entire family to come to Egypt to live there with him. Time passed and that generation died. However, it is recorded in Exodus that the population of Hebrews living in Egypt grew. A new king came into power over Egypt and became worried about the growing number of Israelites. This Pharaoh feared that as they multiplied they may decide to come against him. He made the decision to appoint taskmasters over them and afflict them with hard labor. “Then the king spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other was named Puah; and said, ‘When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth, if it is a son then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live’.” But the Hebrew midwives feared God and did NOT do as the king of Egypt commanded them…(Exodus 1:16-17) That’s it!! They just obeyed… committee to look into the feasibility or fallout… fanfare…no thought of their own safety. Just obedience. Their decision helped save the nation of Israel! Because of their obedience, God blessed them and established their households.(Exodus 1:21) “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.” (I Samuel 15:22) Becoming desperate, Pharaoh then commanded that all newborn sons be thrown into the Nile River. As Moses’ mother gave birth to him, she had the courage to hide him for three months and then save him by floating him in a basket in the river until he was found. Throughout Scriptures we are given examples of people, just like us, who obey God. Why do they obey? Was it easier for them than it is for us? I believe it was because they were resolute. Obedience is difficult and it requires grit. It may require denying ourselves. If we look at the lives of David and Samson we can see the horrible fall out of disobedience. No doubt we see it in the lives of friends or even in our own lives. The choice is always ours…to obey or not.    “Lord, please make me so aware of your guiding Hand that I see the path you set before me. Let not my own desires obscure Your own. My desire to obey is weak, so give me the boldness to stand, the courage to speak and the strength to never waiver. Amen.