History repeats itself. In this case, horribly. The term genocide wasn’t coined until 1944, but Oxford defines it as, “the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group.”
Such atrocities have occurred throughout history. The Holocaust is the most well-known and studied modern-day example, involving the mass execution of European Jews under the Hitler regime during World War II. There are too many examples to list, but genocide, unfathomably, continues to this day—look to the Uyghurs in China, look to Yemen.
Genocide is the worst, the most evil of crimes. Our passage today from Exodus 1 details how the Egyptian Pharaoh instructed the midwives to kill any sons born to the Hebrew women. Why would he do that? The Hebrew nation was growing and thriving despite the harsh labor and oppression forced on them by the Egyptians.
Two of the midwives are specifically named—Shiphrah and Puah—and verse 17 says, “But the midwives feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live.”
These two women feared God more than they feared the Egyptian king. They revered God’s authority more than they respected Pharaoh’s authority. They were bold. Quietly defiant. Faithful.
When they were later questioned about why they let the boys live, the midwives creatively deflected by claiming the Hebrew women rarely needed their presence. Frustrated, Pharaoh widened his plan, declaring that, “All sons that are born you must throw into the river…” (Exodus 1:22).
God saw the faith of these women, and He honored it by giving them households, and He honored it by letting the Hebrew people multiply and become very strong.
And maybe God wasn’t the only one who saw the bravery of Shiphrah and Puah. They created a legacy of courageous faith and may have directly or indirectly given Moses’ mother and sister the courage to try and save him. Imagine how different the history of God’s people would be if you remove Moses from the storyline.
I don’t know how many lives Shiphrah and Puah saved, but even one spared child would allow countless descendants in the generations to follow.
I love that God chose to use two normal, working women to protect His people. I love that they are specifically named and remembered in the Bible; their contribution was meaningful and unique. And I love that their obedience to God instead of humans helped limit the genocide of the Hebrew nation.
God uses ordinary people, even in extraordinary times. He can make miracles from the mundane. Let’s be like Shiphrah and Puah, quietly serving and consistently faithful despite the world around us.
Week 6 Challenge:
We must pass our faith on to our children and the next generation, leaving a godly legacy for those who come behind us. Who in your life has lived out her faith well and inspired you to do the same? This week, make sure to share the difference she has made in your life. Who can you intentionally reach out to and invest in? There are many ways to leave a godly legacy behind, but they all start the same: choosing to take the first step.
Week 6 Reading Plan
Week 6 Memory Verse
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