The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, ‘When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.’
The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, ‘Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?’
The midwives answered Pharaoh, ‘Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.’
So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. Exodus 1:15-21 (NIV)
The king of Egypt decided that the people of Israel were a threat that had to be dealt with. His solution was to instruct the midwives to kill any male babies born to the Israelites, but to let the girls live.
The midwives had a stark choice to make – obey the king, or disobey him and face the consequences. The midwives knew that what they were being asked to do was wrong and because they feared God, they chose to disobey the king.
The result was that the male babies were temporarily saved; the king then issued an order that all Israelite male babies were to be thrown into the Nile (certain death). Here again the mothers had to face the same choice – obey the king or disobey and save their babies. We are told later in Exodus that the mother of Moses chose to disobey and thereby saved Moses. If she hadn’t disobeyed, Moses wouldn’t have grown up to become the leader who took the Israelites out of Egypt, back to the peomised land.
So is it ever right to disobey those in authority – employers, politicians and even church leaders? Yes! When what you are being asked to do is patently wrong and contrary to God’s Word, you will have to stand up against it. This takes courage and the outcome may not be certain. Doing what is right can often be costly.
[Archives – click on the icon at the top of the page]