On the first Sunday of our “Vacation Bible School,” we heard how Rebekah was faithful to the plan of God. This week, we explore the heroism of four women that lived hundreds of years later when the Hebrew people were enslaved in Egypt.
Shiprah and Puah were two Hebrew midwives ordered by the Pharaoh to kill all baby boys being delivered by Hebrew women (Exodus 2:15). But they feared God more than Pharaoh and refused to carry out his immoral command. When questioned for not following orders, they made the excuse that the Hebrew women were strong and gave birth before the midwife arrived. Because of their fear of God, the Lord blessed them and built up families for them (Exodus 2:20).
Jochebed loved her children and would do anything for them. When Pharaoh ordered the killing of all male Hebrew babies, she wanted to protect her child and hid him. After three months, she put him in a basket among the reeds of the riverbank. Although obviously painful to be separated from her child, Jochebed acted heroically by trusting in God’s faithfulness and parting from her son for his own safety.
It was the Pharaoh’s own daughter, Bithiah, who discovered the basket, opened it, and saw the baby. Moved with pity, she defied her father’s orders and decided to care for the child, even though she knew it was a Hebrew boy. The boy’s sister, Miriam, saw Bithiah picking him up and offered a Hebrew woman to nurse the child. Bithiah agreed and Miriam brought his own mother to nurse him. Jochebed’s trust in God to preserve the life of her son was rewarded when she received him back in her arms. Bithiah also acted courageously and became an instrument in God’s plan that the child named Moses, which means “I drew him out of the water,” one day would liberate his own people from slavery.
We have a tendency to put our own safety and comfort first, even though it often is contrary to God’s plan. Some couples perhaps too easily resort to divorce rather than exert every effort to heal the relationship. A pregnant woman may decide to abort an unwanted child, seeing it as a burden rather than a blessing. An elderly person or terminally ill patient may be unduly influenced to commit suicide. We also may take life in other ways through gossip or hatred of certain types of people. Do we have the virtue to fear God and the courage to fulfill God’s will, even though it may cause hardship or ridicule from others?
These four women of the Bible were heroes because of their bravery and appreciation for life. Knowing that God is faithful, they remained faithful to him. Dare to be a hero in God’s eyes by protecting all life and witness how he will be faithful in your life.
--Father Pete Tieng, Parochial Vicar
 For the complete story, listen to our weekend message above.