The ancient serpent, called the Accuser, sought to destroy the “seed of the woman,” but he couldn’t. Christ, by His own obedience, laid down His life for your salvation and mine and, in so doing, crushed the headship of evil.
Today’s Text: “Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, ‘When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.’ But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.” (Exodus 1:15–17, ESV)
Puah and Shiphrah were brave, unheralded heroines in the story of God’s people.
They courageously defied Pharaoh’s command to kill all the Hebrew male children. The genocidal tyrant was afraid of the proliferating Hebrew people so he ordered the midwives to execute all newborn males born to the Hebrews. But the midwife leaders refused and explained it with a lie: “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them” (Exodus 1:19, ESV). What’s the story about?
On the surface, Pharaoh wanted to kill the Hebrew boys for fear that “the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us” (Exodus 1:9, ESV), but I’m convinced that underneath, Pharaoh had fallen prey to the enticements of the ancient serpent.
After Adam and Eve’s sin, the Lord explained the consequences to the man and woman and then prophesied to the serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15, ESV).
The devil, afraid of the “offspring” of the woman (literally, “the seed of the woman”), wanted to strike at the boy before he could become a ruler. But the accuser had no way of knowing who the Messiah was. So, the prince of darkness tried to kill all the Hebrew baby boys.
Puah and Shiphrah, therefore, weren’t just defenders of Israel’s baby boys, they were defenders of the Messiah. Their courage is a portrait of the courage we’re all given in the spiritual battle. If Puah and Shiphrah could refuse to comply with the evil commands of a pagan tyrant, you can certainly refuse to comply with the wicked enticements of that old snake, the devil. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. And that’s the Gospel!