“But the midwives feared God” – Exodus 1:8
William Cowper gave us the words, “God moves in mysterious ways”. Here he reminds us that we should plan on being surprised by the way that God works. A perfect example of this is the story of Shiprah and Puah, the midwives to the Hebrews. Already at the bottom of the heap, these two women were given a horrible assignment. Kill all of the male, Hebrew, babies. Pharaoah’s paranoia was spiking and he would not tolerate a rival, non-Egyptian, foreign workforce to overtake his Egyptian population.
“But the midwives feared God”. Because of their fear and reverence of the one true God, they told a lie to the king of Egypt and saved the lives of the Hebrew children. Yet they saved so much more.
What else did they save? They saved Moses, the one through whom God would deliver the Hebrews. They saved the people of Israel, who were on their way to becoming God’s chosen people, his “holy nation” and “royal priesthood”. They saved God’s plan for the world. That is not an overstatement. “But the midwives feared God” and through that fear saved God’s plans for humanity.
“God works in mysterious ways”, it is true. But, a mysterious theme seems to emerge from Scripture that we should follow. God’s mysterious work comes from the roots, the lowest of the low, the poor, the voiceless, and the weak. This is God’s “mysterious work” and as we immerse ourselves in the story of God, it will be no surprise at all.
Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.