Fear, and the first women’s march
Last weekend was certainly historic for our country. The inauguration was surrounded by protests. And then the massive march and rally on Saturday gave voice to millions of women who have been treated as somewhat less than fully human. So imagine my surprise when I read about the first women’s march; and you’ll never guess where it took place.
It’s in the Bible.
Yep. The first place where women acted together to protest the policies and directives of their national leaders was in the Bible. And they did it in a place and time where there was no bill of rights giving them the freedom to express themselves. They did it in an environment where their protest could lead to severe repercussions if they were caught. And they did get caught. Then they lied. And they were the heroes. You probably don’t know them by name. Their names are Shiphrah and Puah.
I’m referring to the two Hebrew midwives listed in the first chapter of Exodus. The Egyptian king ordered them to euthanize all the baby boys born to Hebrew women. (Ironically that was a policy directive driven by fear of immigrants.) But here’s the phrase that leaps off the page:
“The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.” – Exodus 1:17
Technically it probably wasn’t a march. But it was the same spirit. The spirit of unified protest. The spirit of standing up for justice in the face of powerful oppression. And the connection for us is their motivation: Because they feared God.
Too often the idea of “fearing God” is laced with terror, guilt, and an image of a vengeful God. But this passage blows away the fog of ignorance and reveals a God who cares about injustice. To fear God is to care about what he cares about. It is to align with God’s agenda and his purposes. It is to stand up to those who are opposed to justice and righteousness. It is captured in the words of Micah:
“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” –Micah 6:8
I leave you with this question: Has the fear of God ever prompted you to take action in the cause for justice?
That’s worth taking a stand, taking action, and even marching for.
P.S. This weekend we’ll take a look at how this topic (the equal rights of women) has affected all of us, especially in our homes.