Yesterday we imagined what it might be like to stand before Pharaoh, facing the wrath of an intentionally foiled plan. We knew Shiphrah and Puah feared God, but surely they also feared the king. Were they afraid for their own lives? If Pharaoh could order the killing of innocent children, imprisoning or beheading two defiant and disloyal women could reasonably be expected.
I (Bri) wonder if they cried and prayed upon receiving the summons throughout the night. Maybe they woke up the next morning and said final goodbyes to family and friends before heading back to the palace. They had been bold. They had been brave. They had defied Pharaoh. What was to become of them?
The text doesn’t tell us how Pharaoh dealt with Shiphrah and Puah. We only see God’s response, that he dealt with them. Isn’t that amazing?
Their response to Pharaoh must have been somewhat believable, but Pharaoh became outraged. In verse 22, he escalates the entire situation to the point of madness (we’ll get to that tomorrow), but here these women stood and were dismissed, only to be dealt with by the God they honored.
Shiphrah and Puah were asked to take the lives of children, to destroy families in their community. Yet God’s response to their reverence gave them the very thing they had been instructed to take from others. Their fear turned to blessing.
Do we have this kind of trust in our God?
Do we care enough about the lives around us that we gather every ounce of emotional energy we have to enter into hard spaces?
Do we believe that God can and does bless us for this kind of work?
The truth is, being brave is exhausting. Choosing to be bold requires risk.
We might not feel as if we have the energy or margin to do brave and bold things, but the people God has placed in our lives, families, and communities are worth it. They must be. We must choose to find the time. Jeremiah 29:7 says that we must choose their flourishing for the sake of our own. Just like Shiphrah and Puah, we are not responsible for the outcome of our efforts. Time and again, God has shown that he alone can be trusted with this part of the story.