If it is a son, you shall kill him …
I want to understand what it’s like to hear those words. So I mentally slip into the moccasins of the midwives in Exodus 1, Shiphrah and Puah, as they stand before the king and receive a commandment to kill every son born to every mother they assist in the birthing process.
I see the king there, surrounded by his men, earth shaking at the boom of his voice …
If it is a son … you shall kill him …
The king spits in anger as he blares the command, and with blades drawn to two innocent throats, his top of the line soldiers reinforce his wicked command: kill or be killed.
At this point in the daydream, I’m not only wearing their moccasins … I’m shakin’ in their moccasins. And my jaw is gaping at the gall of the king. But that’s about as far as my imagination takes me, because you know what?
I don’t live in Egypt. I don’t even live under a king. Nor have I ever helped anyone through the birth of their child. And the words you shall kill them just don’t resonate and I slide the moccasins off, because I can try to empathize with the midwives, but chances are …. a king will never command me to kill anyone.
I’m an American. I live in a country where nobody forces anybody to kill anybody. But this shining example of fearing God more than the king begs the question: what does this great faith look like in my own cushy, tyranny free life?
I Peter 2: 17 says to honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, and honor the king. We honor all people, and Peter makes sure we know “people” includes the king. But we fear God. We have faith ~complete trust~ in Him and only Him. And what is the result of complete trust?
And radical obedience means that when the king says to commit what God has forbidden … we choose God. And it means when our flesh says to commit what God has forbidden … we choose God. And on the flip side, when the flesh says to refrain from committing what God has commanded … we choose God.
You may be asking what exactly you are to be choosing over God … and if you don’t know basic answers to that question, please consider removing the dusty Bible from the closet, and opening it’s cover to read, study and know the plethora of commands on what and whom you should obey. But don’t merely be rich in knowledge … be rich in application.
This may require us to break out the thinking cap and …. think. If we feared God above all others - mom, dad, wife, husband, child, boss, co-worker, neighbor, governor, president – how would we respond to each?
Would the speedometer read 85 when the sign reads 75?
Would the eyes peruse pornographic photos or be faithful to our (present or future) beloved?
Would the hands be idle or busy in the workshop?
Would the crafts get done while the children remain under-nurtured?
Would the answer to the husband reflect softness or provoke wrath?
I am not a fly on your wall – I don’t know your deepest struggles. But I have a hunch that if you walk away from this blog post with thinking cap securely fastened to a noggin bowed in prayer, He who does know your every struggle will show you the next right step to becoming a God-fearing Shiphrah.
Whichever delicate, graceful name you prefer.
And guess what?
He’s not just going to show you that step. He’s going to help you take that step. And we all know that a lot of baby steps add up to miles and miles of God-fearing progress.
So what say you? Shall we give the midwife moccasins another run?