IN CELEBRATION OF SHIPHRAH, PUAH, AND THEIR SISTERS TODAY

The opening chapter of Exodus contains some very gruesome and heartless information about a ruler who lived long ago.  The material I have specifically in mind fits under the umbrella of Pharaoh’s policy to “…deal shrewdly…” with the increasing Israelite population in Egypt (v. 10).

At first, his orders were to make life more difficult for the Israelites by making them work harder.  When that didn’t accomplish what he had hoped, we read the following:

 

Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, when you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live (Exodus 1:15-16, ESV).

 

Can you imagine that?  Can you imagine the killing of newborn babies?  Can you imagine it being done for purely selfish reasons?  Can you imagine a government that promotes such a barbaric practice?

Unfortunately, I can.

A few days ago, our nation marked the anniversary of an infamous decision by the Supreme Court of our land.  On January 22, 1973 the decision in Roe v. Wade was handed down.  With that decision, we moved past the killing of newborn babies to the killing of babies while still in the mother’s womb.

Since that day, there have been somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty-five million abortions performed legally in our nation.  That’s a pretty big “neighborhood.”  In fact that “neighborhood” approaches the total population of the states of California and New York combined!

Just think of that.  In forty years, we’ve effectively wiped out the population of two of our three most populous states!

We’ve not only done that legally.  We’ve done it with the assistance of our government.  According to one source I read, “Planned Parenthood received $542.4 million in government grants and reimbursements from 2011 to 2012.”Planned Parenthood, by the way,  is the largest provider of, and advocate for, abortions in our nation.

As I see it, there are two threads that connect ancient Egypt with our country.  One is that innocent babies were and are being killed because of the selfishness of somebody else.  In Egypt, it was for Pharaoh to protect his power.  In America, it most often is to preserve a lifestyle that somebody does not want to give up.

The other thread is that there are still some people in our day who are like Shiphrah and Puah.  Consider this:  “But the midwives (Shiphrah and Puah, j.f.) feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live (Ex. 1:17).

I am thankful beyond words for those who, like Peter and the other apostles, have the attitude that “…we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).   If this is true in all areas of our lives, we may not be celebrated in this life, but we will have ample reasons to rejoice in the next life!

 

–Jim Faughn