Then Joseph died, and all his brothers, and that whole generation. But the Israelites were fruitful and prolific; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.
Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.” (Exodus 1:6–22)
This is one of my favorite stories in all the Bible. On the one hand, it’s a story about God’s justice; that is, the way that God would have the world work. In God’s kingdom, there is no oppressing our neighbor. In God’s kingdom, there is no embittering one another’s lives In God’s kingdom, there is no fearing of the other.
But it’s also a story about how anyone, even the “least of these” (even you and me), can make a GINORMOUS difference to bring about God’s kingdom. These two Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, are the heroines of the story – pure outsiders of the Egyptian regime: they are women; they are servants/slaves; they are Hebrews. Although they have no power in the Egyptian political system, they continue to work for the good of God’s kingdom. Although they are pressured by the pharaoh himself, they remain strong to the work that God has set before them.
We too can continue our good work for the good of God’s kingdom and we too can remain strong in the face of pressure. Our greatest ministry to each other and to our community at this time is: to prevent the spread of this disease, to remain attentive to the needs of others, and to look forward in hope for the dawning of a new day when our efforts will be rewarded with a joyful reunion of family and friends.
- In accordance with Federal, State, and Local declarations and taking into account the best practices from other countries fighting this global pandemic, we have decided to extend the closure of our building and the cancelation of all programming in our building through at least Sunday, May 10.
- Due to the high level of internet traffic at the 11 o’clock hour, Session has approved the temporary shift in our worship time to 10:00. Our live-streamed worship service will be available at 10:00 and can be accessed on our website.
- At this time, there are still no confirmed cases of this virus in Wilkes County, but we remain vigilant in doing our part to prevent its spread.
- If you begin to feel sick with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), please do not go to the hospital. Instead, healthcare workers are directing people to contact the Health Department (651-7450) to set up an appointment for a drive-up test, after which, individuals should remain self-quarantined until the test results come back.
- As a reminder, we have some foodstuffs in the office to hand out should you know of people who are in need or if you yourself have need of it.
- Continue to pray for those in our community in the deepest need and if you hear of community needs, please let us know by calling the office.
- You may want to utilize the Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for devotional reading – you can access the resource here: https://www.presbyterianmission.org/yearbook/
- Keep up to date with the latest information by visiting our website or Facebook page.
Thank you for your ongoing thoughts and prayers. Stay safe and may God’s peace be with you all. -rc