They were nobodies, really. Slaves serving slaves. And all they did was their regular day-in, day-out jobs – in faithfulness and fear of God – never wavering, even under threat. And that in itself ensured a nation’s survival, kept possible the rise of two indispensible leaders in their respective times.
But those simple women never knew, I’m convinced they never could have known, how great the consequence of their humble obedience, their daily faithfulness.
Those midwives in Egypt–who refused to destroy male infants, even after Pharaoh’s face-to-face command—those two, Shiphah and Puah, made up the thin, two-strand thread that held fast Israel’s continuance (Ex 1:15-17). Without such as they standing in the gap, the baby destined to lead their people out of Egypt would not have survived to do so, and the messianic line of promise also would have snapped. But for such a firm stand as theirs, no Moses would have lain in a wee ark amid bulrushes (Ex 2:1-3), and eons later no Christ Child would have lain nestled in a feedbox full of hay.
But how could they know, in their earth-lifetimes, the enormous benefit their faithful service to God and His people would ultimately produce?
Moses was 80 years old when he returned to Egypt from the back side of the desert and confronted Pharaoh. So how old would that have made those who had been defying the emperor’s death order since before he was even conceived? Something like 100? Maybe years and years older!
Even if, at such advanced age, they made the trek out into the wilderness, they would have been part of the crowd who couldn’t cross Jordan, wandered instead in desert land for another forty years. That would make them upwards of 140 by the time the crossing finally happened. And God had sworn that wandering generation, except for Caleb and Joshua, would not enter the land of promise.
So they never knew Moses’ magnificence, and certainly not the manifestation of the Messiah. But what a difference their simple faithfulness made to the whole Hebrew race, to the whole of humanity!
Of course what was true in Esther’s day applied in theirs: Without their faithful obedience, “relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place…” (Esther 4:14). God would not let His promise perish. But since they did act in God-trust, they were the decisive factor.
Lord, let me be reminded of this when my life seems insignificant, humdrum and going nowhere special. Who (but God) knows the eventual outcomes of simple faithfulness in just living out our daily life and tasks.
Seeking the Christ Child (in the Old Testament)
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I am searching for prophecies and foreshadowings of the Christ child, book by book. I plan to post (nearly) every weekday (leaving myself some margin) a short peek at some hint or promise of the coming baby who would make all the difference. Like the wise men, I’ll be Seeking the Christ Child, but in Old Testament promises and foreshadowings, and sharing what I find. I hope you’ll join me, because if it turns out as rewarding as the past spring’s pre-Easter explorations, this focus could make this one of the richest, most blessed Christmas seasons yet.
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