It’s not easy being a girl. The way our society works, certain personal experiences, and how media portrays us tend to make us feel more like products than children of God. We might have the head knowledge that we are made in God’s image and He can use us in His glorious plan, but looking at the world around us, it’s easy to feel helpless.
In a lot of ways, things are also better for women in the modern day world than they used to be. We can read about so many men in the Old Testament who too treated women like products. These women didn’t even have the right to vote—and in many cases it was their own king mistreating them.
And we continue reading, and we see all these great men God used to do wonderful things. Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Samuel—how many can you list off the top of your head?
Dear Rose, if the world we live in has made you feel weak, powerless, you’re not alone. But the truth is that we too are made in God’s image, we too can be adopted as beloved children of God, and we too can be empowered by the Holy Spirit to serve in God’s glorious plan.
Just open to the first chapter of your Bible, see it for yourself in Genesis 1:27.
But don’t stop there—look to the beginning of Exodus and be inspired by the faithful people who submitted to God and were empowered to serve Him within all the atrocities of their culture.
In the first two chapters alone, I noticed four faithful believers in particular. Then, you know what I saw? All four of these faithful people were women.
Rose, we are powerless apart from Christ. But if you have ever felt utterly powerless even with Christ, I hope these women inspire you to think again.
Shiphrah and Puah (Exodus 1:8-22)
Pharaoh, king of Egypt, was afraid.
Under God’s blessing, the Hebrew people under Pharaoh’s reign were multiplying quickly. They were growing too mighty too quickly—it was only a matter of time before war would break out, in Pharaoh’s perspective. He treated them like slaves, but the more he oppressed them, the more they multiplied.
So he went straight to the Hebrew midwives, Shiprah and Puah, with a special order: “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” (Exodus 1:16)
The king of Egypt had asked them to do an atrocious thing, but Shiprah and Puah wouldn’t do it. God strengthened them and used them to save many babies. Fearing God rather than man was risky business, but God acknowledged their bravery.
“So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.” – Exodus 1:20-21
Not only did God give these midwives courage and keep them safe as they served in His plan, He provided them with families of their own.
And not only that, but check out this earlier verse, the one where the midwives were first introduced:
“Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah…” Exodus 1:15
It gives the midwives’ names, but not even the Pharaoh’s! Exodus names very few people, and the fact it put down the names of the midwives is a great honor.
Other than the sons of Israel, Shiprah and Puah are the first people to be named in Exodus. They are honored for being faithful to God, and serve as an inspiration even to today.
We too can fear man, dear Rose. But when we pray to God for courage and trust Him instead, He will open wonderful opportunities for us to be a light.
Jochebed (Exodus 2:1-3)
Oppressing the Hebrews hadn’t worked, and ordering the midwives to kill the male babies hadn’t worked either, so it was time for Pharaoh to take extreme measures. He commanded all his people that every son born to the Hebrew people should be cast into the Nile river, where they would meet certain death. Now that Pharaoh was enforcing his rule, this baby business had become a whole lot riskier.
So when a Levite woman named Jochebed (we don’t see her name here, but it’s in Numbers 26:59) had a son and chose to hide him instead, she knew she was taking on a difficult task. After all, who can keep a crying baby hidden?
Well, Jochebed did. For three months. Her faithfulness to God as a mother saved the life of a baby — a baby who would become a man who would lead Israel out of bondage. A man named Moses.
Look at God’s providence! He’s the one who watched over Moses. He’s the one who gave Jochebed courage and kept her baby safe for all three of those months. God had a plan for Moses, and He was going to make sure that it happened—partly by working through Moses’s faithful mother, Jochebed.
However, Jochebed couldn’t hide the baby forever, so God inspired her to put the baby in the river in a special basket.
“When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the riverbank.” – Exodus 2:3
Who would watch baby Moses now?
Miriam (Exodus 1:4-10)
“And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him.” – Exodus 2:4
Out of all these women, Moses’ sister, Miriam, inspires me the most. (Like her mother, we don’t see her name here, but we do in Numbers 26:59.) For all we know, she could have been five or fifteen, but she did something courageous for a girl of any age.
She followed the baby down the bank of the Nile, and when the Pharaoh’s daughter found him, the girl made a bold move.
Miriam asked the Pharaoh’s daughter if she needed her to get a Hebrew nurse for the baby.
Put yourself in her sandals for a second. The daughter of a slave approaching the daughter of a pharaoh. It must have been incredibly intimidating! Not just anybody could do that, but with God’s help, Miriam did. And Pharaoh’s daughter said yes.
“And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Go.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed him.” – Exodus 2:8-9
When Pharaoh’s daughter asked for a nurse, Moses’ sister didn’t get just any woman—she got her mother. So a wonderful thing happened—Moses’ mother was paid to feed her own son, a boy who originally had a death sentence. All because a girl decided to make a bold move.
Who‘s to say God can’t use a girl to make a difference today?
These four women serve to show us that even though we feel weak, we serve a mighty God. And when we choose to trust Him, He can help us conquer our fears and open up wonderful opportunities for us.
Even though our culture is messed up, Rose, you are a child of the living God and a citizen of heaven. Just like in the lives of Shiprah, Puah, Jochebed, and Miriam, beautiful things can happen when you put your faith in your true King. You have a higher, purer purpose and are a part of a wonderful plan designed by a perfect Creator.
We may be powerless apart from Christ, but with His help, we can live courageously and show the world the greatness of our God.