Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Disobedience for a higher good
“But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live.” (Ex.1:17)
In the Bible we see certain individuals who disobeyed the human laws for the sake of justice. This is the first instance in Scripture of what today we call "civil disobedience," refusing to obey an evil law because of a higher good. Passages like Mat. 20:21-25; Rom 13:1; and 1 Peter 2:11 admonish Christians to obey human authorities; but Rom 13:5 reminds us that our obedience must not violate our conscience. When the laws of God are contrary to the laws of man, then "we ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).
Risking life for saving others: Were Shiphrah and Puah lying to Pharaoh? Probably not. The babies were born before the midwives arrived because the midwives had told their assistants to be late! God blessed the two leading midwives for putting their own lives on the line in order to save the Jewish nation from extinction. They used their God given wisdom for saving the lives of the innocent children. There are two things that we need to remember from this passage. Firstly, they risked their lives for the lives of the other. Risking life for the sake of the other is the challenge before us today. We live in a world which emphasis the self glorification and the existence of individual good. But here are two courageous ladies who risked their lives to save innocent lives without thinking about the consequences.
Risking life for the sake of justice: Secondly they risked their lives for the sake of justice. Many people take risks for getting a personal gain or a future advancement. But these two midwives thought about the injustices that are being done to the innocent lives and wanted to prevent that by risking their lives. They disobeyed a human law of injustice for a higher good. The reason for their disobedience is that they feared God more than they feared the king and for that they refused to participate in the state authorised killing. Through this they glorified the name of the living God and God valued this noble act. Shiphrah and Puah, the two powerful witnesses and torchbearers of life are nowhere else named or known, and certainly not celebrated. Yet we remember them by name. We remember these two discreet, defiant, cunning, mothering agents. At great risk, they counter genocide; in so doing they bear witness to the mothering power of God, whose will for life overrides the killing, and whose power for life is undeterred by the death dispensed by the powerful. What should be our response when injustices happening around and can we dedicate our lives to take few steps to safeguard justice.
Prayer: God of justice give us the courage to risk our lives for the sake of justice.