I know, saying “outcomes don’t really matter,” almost feels like heresy in this day and age of being productive and using various bars by which to measure our success .

The problem comes when that mindset gets transferred to our spiritual lives and our relationship with God. We end up only seeing obedience as a means to an end – a great outcome we can measure.

But that isn’t really how God works. If you don’t believe me, take a good look in the Bible. A lot of the obedience in the Bible was blessed, but that didn’t mean the outcome was necessarily immediate or what we’d consider outstanding. Sometimes those outcomes didn’t show up until after the person who obeyed was long dead.

Obedience%2FOutcomes (4)


I started teaching about women in the Bible in my Sunday school class again, per their request. Since I had already taught on the matriarchs in Genesis, I thought it would be fun teach about the women in Moses life because they are pretty interesting.

The first two women who are mentioned in Moses’ story weren’t directly connected to Moses, but their story was intertwined in his. They were two midwives by the names of Shiphrah and Puah (yeah – glad those didn’t become popular). Basically, the Pharaoh of Egypt saw that the Israelites had started to multiply, and he became afraid of their great numbers. They hadn’t actually done anything threatening. There were just a whole lot of them. So, he made them all slaves. Seems reasonable.

They continued to reproduce at a rate that would make rabbits ashamed, so he decided to take it a step further. He told Shiphrah and Puah that when a baby boy was born to a Hebrew woman, she was to kill it. Basically, in ancient Egypt, the midwife was the first one to see the baby. If there was something wrong with it, they did something called exposing it. This was a nice euphemism for leaving the baby outside until it died. This is what Pharaoh was asking these midwives to do, but not with babies that had serious medical issues (not that that made it right, of course). He was asking them to do this with healthy baby boys.

In the Egyptian culture, children were cherished, and midwives were well-educated and held in high esteem. Pharaoh was asking these women to do something that would have seemed horrific to them. But he was Pharaoh. In that day, he was basically considered a god. They had every reason to fear him and do what he said.

However, Shiphrah and Puah didn’t do it because, it says they feared someone a whole lot bigger than Pharaoh. It says, “they feared God.”  I’m not sure how two Egyptian midwives came to fear God, but it definitely influenced their behavior. So much so, that they defied Pharaoh.

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As I got to the end of teaching this lesson, one of the women in my class brought up an interesting point. It says that both Shiphrah and Puah were blessed by God because of their obedience. It says He established households for them. Some commentaries I read made the point that Shiphrah and Puah saved the Hebrew households, so God, in turn, established households for them.

What’s really interesting, though, is what it doesn’t say. It doesn’t say that Pharaoh changed his mind. It doesn’t say that they were successful in stopping the murder of who knows how many baby boys.

Instead, Pharaoh commands his citizens to throw the babies into the Nile River if they discovered a Hebrew baby boy.

I’m sure the women did save some lives, but the outcome wasn’t really what any of us would consider a happy ending by any measuring stick. Baby boys were still being killed – this time by the citizens.

In fact, I’d say things probably got worse because Pharaoh was no longer trying to kill of the Hebrew baby boys discreetly. He had declared an open war on them.

Yet, God still blessed the obedience of Shiphrah and Puah. Interesting isn’t it?

How many times do I stray away from what God has specifically asked me to do because I am more worried about controlling the outcome (usually in an effort to make myself look better) than the actual obedience?

God blesses our obedience, but that doesn’t always show up in the outcomes.

What outcome in your life are you trying to control? What thing is God asking you to do and you are frustrated because even though you are obeying, you aren’t seeing the results you thought you would? I’d love to hear about it!

Blessings, Rosanne


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