“Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah; and he said, “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive. So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive?” And the midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them.” Therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty. And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them.”
Exodus 1:15-21 NKJV
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Matthew 6:33 NKJV
There is soon coming a time when being a follower of the Lord Jesus will come with a cost. I am not talking about the spiritual political amalgamations that mark the American evangelical church, but the pure and undefiled faith in Christ, for which Christians are dying in Iran and Afghanistan and other places where to name the name of Jesus brings the potential for death.
As I entered my reading of Exodus, I was reminded of the Hebrew midwives, Shiprah and Puah, choosing to lay everything on the line to preserve the male children in the hope that one of them would be the promised deliverer. They feared God more than man, and were willing to risk all, lives and livelihood.
In reading of them, I wonder if I am willing to stand in the face of such danger, to fear God rather than people. The I think of all the times I have placed God before self, of all the times I have lost friends, jobs, and borne the slanders of those who are offended by holiness, for they have long ago settled on the flesh.
One underlying theme that has encompassed my walk with Jesus is the truth that the Lord is more than faithful, and sees to the needs of HIs saints. As I have written before, I do not pray for my own needs, focusing instead on my worship of Him.
Shiphrah and Puah are an example for us, for they chose to obey God, and God saw to their needs.
Therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty. And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them.”
Our God is the great provider, Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides. He provided the covering for Adam and Eve when they fell in the garden, and He provided the lamb in the thicket for Abraham in lieu of Isaac, and He sent Himself, to pay for our sin, as Jesus, the fulness of the Godhead bodily came to die for us.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
John 3:16-17 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, many of us are going to be faced with decision in the coming days, weeks, months, and perhaps…years. Like Shiphrah and Puah, confronted and accused by Pharoah, we too will have a decision to make. Do we obey God or do we cede to the culture we are living in. For some of us, it will be life or death decision. For many more of us it could be the loss of livelihood and the ability to provide.
In that moment let us hope that we reflect on the faithfulness of the Lord.
In the meantime, while it is still peaceful, let us remind ourselves of the faithfulness of the Lord, reflecting on all the times the Lord has come through for us, all the moments, small and great, where God has carried us through the difficulties of this life.
Let us also be reminded that we are one in the body, united and built up together. The Lord has placed us on mission to go and share the Gospel with a sick and dying world, so pent up with self hatred, that it even hates its Creator.
“Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.”
Acts 4:34-35 NKJV
We may find ourselves in a place where we must look to each other.
Let us come with the love of Jesus, even as we are hated, for such is the stuff of seeking first the kingdom of God. This will be a sacrificial love, one only possible through the Holy Spirit.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
I Corinthians 13:4-8a NKJV
To love with abandon, those who despise us will be every bit and dangerous as Shiphrah and Puah, sparing the male Hebrew children. But our Lord Jesus showed us the way. He loved even as the nails pierced his hands and His feet, even as the spear perfected HIs side. In His love He offered forgiveness.
“Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.”
Luke 23:34 NKJV
I tell you the truth, standing for Jesus will be costly. Let us decide now to seek first, to rely on the faithfulness of God as we consider the mission He is laying before us.
But we know the end of the story. That is one great advantage we have on Shiphrah and Puah. We have the word of God.
“He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
Revelation 22:20-21 NKJV
Have a great Friday!
One thought on “Seek first”
I agree with you on the forthcoming persecution, Bernie… Unless the Lord has mercy. We know he has great mercy, but he is also just. I am praising him, and praying to have the strength to suffer. I am praying for your strength to, my friend.