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  • Highly Favoured Life

Are You Taking the Easy Way Out? 

By Elizabeth Garrett

Since the beginning of this year, the Lord has been speaking to my heart about a particular topic that has “popped up” continually in both my daily Bible reading and my Sunday school lessons for my girls class.  That is the topic that I desire to share with you today.

My Sunday school lesson was the story of two Hebrew women of whom little is ever said, and perhaps their names are not familiar.  They are Shiphrah and Puah, the two Hebrew midwives found in Exodus 1.  In this account, the king of Egypt who knew not Joseph, enslaved the Israelites and called in the two Hebrew midwives to give them a command.  In verse 16, he told them, “When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him:  but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.”  What a wicked man to command the murder of the just-born baby boys!

Shiphrah and Puah had a decision to make:  obey the command given them by one of the most powerful men in the world at that time or obey God. 

Verse 17 says, “But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.”  These two ladies feared God more than they feared the command of the king!  That word “fear” means “to fear, morally to revere, to be had in reverence.”  Because they reverenced God, they had the courage and the strength to do right despite the consequences that might come with their choice.

God’s Word is full of examples of women who showed courage and strength, making the decision to simply DO RIGHT! 

Rahab showed courage by helping the two spies sent by Joshua to Jericho, hiding them and helping them escape.  Deborah was a great prophetess who showed courage by going with Barak to battle against Sisera.  Jael, another lesser-known woman, had the courage to use a hammer and tent spike to kill Sisera when he fled to her tent to hide.  Ruth had the courage and strength to leave everything she knew and loved to follow Naomi back to Bethlehem, a strange land completely different from her own.  Hannah had the courage to fulfill her vow to the Lord by giving her son Samuel back to God and leaving him at the house of the Lord with Eli.  The examples could go on and on… women who had courage and strength to do what was right, that which honored God.

American Christianity in general has become a very weak, watered-down Christianity.  There is very little strength of character, integrity, determination, and courage to obey God and do right.  And I think so often, the flesh desires to excuse itself, using the wicked days in which we live.  Yes, it is true that we are living in end-times.  We can see Romans 1 in action that speaks of God turning man over to a reprobate mind because of his wickedness; the fulfillment of II Timothy 3:1-5 describing the last days as perilous times; and the description in Revelation 3:14-17 of the Laodicean church.  Christians are afraid to do right: afraid of what others will say or think, afraid of being called “legalistic” or “pharisaical,” afraid of standing out and being “weird,” afraid of being described as mean-spirited, etc. 

People look for “gray areas” and argue with situational ethics; they do not want a clear line dividing between right and wrong.  

But dear sister in Christ, what better time to show courage and strength to stand for RIGHT!  In the words of Mordecai to Esther, “…and who knoweth whether thou are come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).  God has allowed us to live during this time, and He calls us to have courage and strength to obey Him.  It should not matter whether others do right or what others may say.  It only matters what God commands us in His Word.  Daniel stood against the order of Nebuchadnezzar to eat the meat and drink the wine from his table.  He was among his peers, others brought from Israel who also knew God’s commands. 

Yet, Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself, regardless of what everyone else around him did. 

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah also had courage to do right; but that was only four out of the entire group!  Later Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah had the courage to refuse to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, knowing well the consequences of that choice.  But they did not back down!  In Daniel 3:18, they told Nebuchadnezzar, “But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”  What courage!

As I shared with my Sunday school class, the right thing to do is rarely the easy thing. 

Since my girls are young, I used the example of throwing a ball and knocking over a lamp in the living room.  When Mom asks what happened, what is the easy thing to do?  The girls responded that it is easier to lie or blame a sibling.  However, the right thing to do is tell the truth, which they all agreed is so hard to do!  Doing right, obeying God requires strength and courage.  Dad preached a message many times on the life of self-denial.  Something he always said in his message has stayed with me all my life.  One of the points of his message was that the life of self-denial chooses the hard over the easy.  He would always ask, “Have you ever wondered why a river is so crooked?”  As everyone thought for a minute, he would reply, “It is so crooked because a river always takes the path of least resistance.” 

Wow, what a truth!  What type of Christian will I be if I always take the path of least resistance, the “easy way out” so to speak?  

Paul in I Corinthians 16:13 said, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”  The word “strong” used here means “to be empowered, increase in vigor, be strengthened.”  It is the same word used in Ephesians 3:16 which says, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;”

There is a slightly different but related Greek word used in Ephesians 6:10 which says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”  The following verses in that chapter command us to put on the whole armour of God to stand against Satan and his principalities and powers.  It is talking about battle, about war!  The word “strong” here also means “to enable, increase in strength, be made strong.”  It is the same word found in these verses:

  • Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

  • I Timothy 1:12, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me…”

  • II Timothy 2:1, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

  • II Timothy 4:17, “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me;”

  • Hebrews 11:34, “Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong…”

The thought given through these two words is that of being strengthened, enabled, empowered.  God is the One Who strengthens us, enables us, and empowers us to do right!  He commands me to be strong, but it is He who gives the strength!  If I do my part to stop excusing myself and determine to do right no matter the circumstances, the consequences, or the opinions of others, God steps in and gives me the strength and courage to follow through in obedience to Him.  Proverbs 31 gives us the description and character of the virtuous woman who fears the Lord.  Verse 25 says, “Strength and honour are her clothing…” 

May God help us to be women marked by the strength and courage needed to obey Him!


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