“But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.”
Let’s name drop for a moment, shall we?
Shiphrah and Puah.
Not ringing a bell for you?
I don’t really blame you. They aren’t exactly household names.
But they should be.
Let me explain.
If I asked you to name three Kings who ruled ancient Egypt, I bet you could without too much trouble. A few of you, if you are history buffs, could name quite a few.
There’s Rameses. Thutmose III. Akenaten. And of course, the boy king with the golden mask, good old Tut.
Those dead dudes are pretty famous. There are humongous sphinxes with their faces on them guarding vast complexes of tunnels and burial chambers, for goodness’ sake.
That’s what makes Shiphrah and Puah so interesting.
In the book of Exodus, the story of the Israelites’ enslavement and eventual escape through the Red Sea is a big deal. (Think Charlton Heston as Moses, parting the sea with his staff.) It basically explains a big chunk of the history of the nation of Israel and is held in high regard by Jews and Christians all over the world.
And not once is the ruling Pharaoh mentioned by name.
And yet, we know just how important that dude was. He was the ruling authority of the most powerful nation in the world at the time.
But God didn’t hold his power or status or wealth or authority in very high regard, it seems. He is dismissed, and mentioned only in terms of his title.
Enter Shiphrah and Puah.
These two precious women, midwives for the slave population of the people of Jewish descent, are mentioned by name.
The Pharaoh, afraid of the thriving Israeli population, ordered them to murder all the newborn Jewish boys – and they, knowing the value of all life, refused. They could easily have been killed for such insurrection.
Yet they stood for life in the face of death.
And their names were recorded in Exodus.
Think of what this means for you and I.
Their simple act of vibrant faith, their choice to stand for what was right, counted more to God than the pomp and circumstance of a current world leader.
Slaves. Women. Doubly destined for the ‘not important’ pile – seen. Noticed.
Look at the value assigned to these slave women by God.
By logical extension, look at the value assigned to you.
Feeling overlooked? Unnoticed? Invisible?
You are seen.
Called by name.
Your act of faith?
Your courage in the face of opposition?
Your simple acts of kindness??
Yes, those are treasured and counted and appreciated and valued for what they are.
You don’t have to make a name for yourself. See, God already settled that.
Rejoice in being called by name with me?
Father, thank You for choosing to honour these two midwives in Your word. Remind us through their story of our value in Your sight. Amen.