Bae

If you find yourself bowing down to pressure

I used to think bae was the short for babe. My wife enlightened me, like a sage : Babe, it stands for Before Anyone Else. And I felt like a babe (a child!). Feigning ignorance, I asked: “Does that make me your bae?” She didn’t find that funny!

Besides the fact that it prevents the elders from figuring out that the person next you in the photo hash-tagged #bae is actually more than a friend, I feel it is a privilege it is to be someone’s bae!

To be at the top of someone’s list of priorities. To be their first resort. None above. Numero uno. I could go on, you know. Having that ‘before anyone else’ gives a special feeling. Happiness. Protection. Certainty. Excitement about tomorrow. Sometimes, even, dizziness! In short, it has a significant impact on you. And because of that impact, it has the ability to scar you too – probably, the reason why Shawn Mendes sang, “I’ll be needing stitches.”

But let me tell you about two ladies who had the same bae. “Uh-oh, I know where this will end up,” you’re probably saying. Hang on with me.

So these lovely ladies were health care professionals from the gynaecology department They seem to have handled many a delivery well (My wife tells me that there were three or four medical staff around her when she gave birth to our son).

One day, they were called to the boss’s office (Believe me this story is worth the box-office). The angry boss ordered them that from then on, they were to kill all the male babies, when the ladies of a particular community gave birth. The boss was so powerful that they could even lose their life if they disobeyed. But verse 17 of Exodus chapter 1, says:

“The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the Pharaoh had told them to do; they let the boys live.”

Their boss, Pharaoh, the king of Egypt was not easy on dissenters. The equation looked like this : Disobedience = Death. But the ladies did not give in. They knew they had a choice in this instance, and therefore, didn’t bail out.

These courageous ladies feared someone else. Someone else who came ‘BEFORE ANYONE ELSE.’ Uh-huh. Someone who ranked higher when it came to fear or devotion or obedience. They knew that their bae, the God of Israel, would not desire that and so they let the male babies live. The names of these brave ladies are Shiphrah and Puah. These aren’t just their names; they are the names of anyone, regardless of gender, who does not bow down to pressure.

Do you find yourself bowing down to pressure?

Some of us are faced with intense pressure to take unethical decisions at office or in relationships. It could be about people, policies, the environment, families or even your values. It’s tough to go the other way when the whole office gives in. It’s tough to go a different route when the whole gang knows its gonna be a dirty night. Shiphrah and Puah took a stand, because in their eyes, there was someone greater, more powerful and worth listening to; someone who had the power to decide their future no matter what was happening right now! So they were smart enough to use their brains in answering Pharaoh when they were summoned. The Bible paints an angrier Pharaoh in verse 22 (Exodus chapter 1), but that anger ended up destroying himself and his entire army (read it here,Exodus 14:26-28). The #metoo movement has taken a strong stand against exertion of power, like the ladies in our story. The strongholds of male chauvinism are crumbling.

The Bible paints an angrier Pharaoh in verse 22 (Exodus chapter 1), but that anger ended up destroying himself and his entire army (read it here,Exodus 14:26-28). The #metoo movement has taken a strong stand against exertion of power, like the ladies in our story. The strongholds of male chauvinism are crumbling.

My favourite part is what’s written about our heroines of the story, who had God before anyone else : “And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own”(Exodus 1:21). That means they were given a future with families and generations to carry their name down history. Isn’t it awesome that we still talk about these ladies more than three millenia later? Their future was in the hands of God, who was bae (before anyone else) to them. It was not in the hands of the powerful Pharaoh, as it had appeared (If you are interested, read more about this in the ‘in-depth’ section below).

These ladies are role models to everyone.The Hebrew name Shiphrah means beautiful. Puah (her sister from another mother) means splendid. Be beautiful and splendid because you can have the God of Shiphrah and Puah as your bae. In times of pressure, pray to the God of Shiphrah and Puah, and take a stand. Your future is secure in that God’s hands. Who’s your actual bae? That will make all the difference in your life and the ones around you.

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In-depth

Referring to the Hebrew original of Exodus 1: 21 gives us tonnes more of insights. A few of them with translations are shared below because I found it simply awesome! Here is a word to word translation :

“And it came to pass, because the mid-wives feared God, he made households for them.”

Fear of God

Fear of God (Hebrew : yare), is referred to in the Old Testament to also mean revere, honour, be afraid, etc. It was a mix of awe, fear and admiration

Household/families

What is referred to as families in NIV ( Hebrew : battim) also stands for ‘household’. A Hebrew household meant extended families, servants, livestock and often reflected a person’s prosperity. Shiphrah and Puah obeyed God and He didn’t leave them high and dry. He blessed their trust in Him. Don’t worry about your future when you have to trust Him and take stern decisions. Just trust and leave the rest to Him.

God made them households:

The word used here is also used figuratively to refer to producing a yield and also to make something for someone. In the passage it reflects that they were given a family or a household, children and the like prepared or made by God. It’s as though he tailor made them for the ladies who put their trust in Him and did not bow down to Pharaoh’s pressure. When we stand up to injustice and obey God, we will be blessed with more than we ever imagined.

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