A phrase that struck me in this opening chapter of Exodus comes in v.17, 'The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do'. Presumably the midwives were also afraid of the king of Egypt (at least a bit), but their fear of God was greater.
Of course, the word ‘fear’ when applied to God needs to be treated carefully. God’s children are not supposed to cringe before him, nervous that he is some sort of despot who will behave cruelly or crazily. No, 'fear of God' normally carries with it the sense of respect or awe, rather than terror.
Nevertheless, in the case of the midwives, this fear/respect/awe was strong and real enough that it resulted in them behaving in a way which was brave, bordering on foolhardy – they disobeyed Pharaoh’s direct command.
As it turned out, God blessed the midwives because of their godly fear (v.21). But they wouldn’t have know that was going to happen when they decided to defy the king – and blessing does not often flow as neatly or immediately as it did in their case. However, God’s blessing of the midwives is recorded here to encourage us to fear God, and to leave the consequences to him.
There are things I am afraid of, and some of them (such as my fear of failure) are things which I need to keep submitting to my fear of God.
What difference might a true fear of God make at HHBC at the moment?