Women of Welcom
from You Version
If anyone ever thought that following God would ensure privilege and blissful prosperity, here’s one of many Bible stories that grounds us from such a lofty idea. Our obedience to God indeed opens avenues of blessing, but as Christians, we are sober-minded about such things. We’ve all followed God into places that haven’t turned out as we expected. We’ve seen godly men and women suffer persecution and death as they ministered around the world. If we look at the lives of Jesus’ disciples, none of them retired into a peaceful old age after spreading the gospel across Asia.
Shiphrah and Puah were blessed for fearing God, but no one could have foreseen what happened next.
Overcome with fear and anger, Pharaoh commissioned a genocide against the Hebrews, and every citizen was told to play a part in the massacre. Egyptians and Hebrews were living in shared spaces and communities together, and now someone could take your baby and drown them at any moment. Shiphrah and Puah must have been beside themselves with grief. Had they caused this? Should they have done something differently? Why were their lives being blessed and yet their neighbors’ lives subject to such suffering?
I (Bri) wonder how the community reacted. Did they think Pharaoh was mad or was there already growing angst among the Egyptians that made this idea acceptable? Pharaoh had done his best to dehumanize the Hebrew people. He had given them heavy burdens and made them “work as slaves and their lives bitter with hard service.” The culture seemed ripe with contempt for those not of Egyptian descent.
Try to imagine the scene. Did neighbors barge into homes and steal children? Did mobs gather to march into the land of Goshen and ransack homes? The anxiety must have been debilitating; the chaos in the streets unbearable.
Pharaoh’s command must have been followed, at least to some extent. Exodus 2 tells us that Jochebed (Moses’ mother) hid her baby for three months and then made the painful decision to place him in the Nile.
Sometimes life doesn’t present good options, and the people of God are not exempt from these hardships.