By Tracie Dawson
This year I am reading through the Bible again with a group of friends online. It is so much fun to discuss the stories and situations we encounter as we read through little-known sections of Scripture that, for some reason or another, are just not often taught in churches. That is why we are doing this series at Journey- to highlight some of the amazing things women have done, gain a fuller view of God (the One whose image men AND women bear) and celebrate the impact women can make in families, communities, and our faith!
There are so many wonderful women of the Bible, and their stories are incredible! In fact, I believe one of the reasons their stories are documented is that no matter our present circumstances, we can probably find a Biblical example of a woman who has “been there, done that!” And no matter where they started out or the obstacles they faced, God had a way of rescuing, redeeming, and restoring!
Last Sunday, we heard the story of Esther, a young queen that risked her life to save her people from complete annihilation. Many women can relate to feeling powerless to change their circumstances, especially when other’s choices impact us and often leave us where we never dreamed we’d be. But in spite of those events beyond her control, Esther took a massive leap of faith and trusted God, even putting her own life on the line!
Do you have a “past?” Do you feel ashamed for the string of bad choices you made before you knew there was a better way? So did the woman at the well. She met Jesus there one day as he asked her for some water, and then told her he could give her the water of LIFE. He knew her past and present situation, yet STILL offered her living water! Consequently, she became the first female evangelist documented in the New Testament as she immediately told everyone about her encounter with Christ.
Think you’re husband is not what he was cracked up to be? Check out the story of Abigail who saved her husband and entire household from the wrath of David and his men after Nabal (her foolish husband) insulted the would-be King of Israel! She bravely intervened to save him and won the respect and future protection of David, leaving God to deal with her husband’s wickedness.
Maybe you find yourself in a position of great responsibility and influence? Deborah, the first and likely ONLY female judge of Israel, served as prophet, judge, and leader of the nation for nearly forty years. She led them in a crucial battle over their enemies and demonstrated great courage and faith in God! Where a man showed cowardice, she showed steadfast courage!
But perhaps you are more of the kind of wise woman who looks ahead- you see the troubles looming that no one else sees or knows how to handle. This happened to a little old woman in her small town that was under siege by an army! Their strike would have leveled a town full of innocent people just to find one man! She acted quickly and called out to the commander asking what or whom he sought. When he answered she recognized danger to them all and offered to find the culprit and give them his head! The townspeople followed her lead, found the intruder, beheaded him, and tossed his head right over the city wall! The army general was appeased, and the entire city was spared!
Maybe you have been sick for so long that you don’t even remember what it is like to feel well. One woman spent everything she had for doctors to cure her bleeding but after twelve years she had nearly lost hope. Until Jesus came to her town. She took BOLD action and did what NO ONE had ever done before!
These women, all from different backgrounds and experiences, did amazing things! They reveal to us a fuller picture of God— through the grace, beauty, and inner strength on display in the heart of woman! And their impact on our faith and Christianity should not be missed!
No matter where you find yourself currently, there’s likely a woman from the Bible who has “been there, done that” and experienced the power of God working through her life and impacting those around her! Praise God for women!
By David McNeely
The scriptures tell us that in the beginning God created man in his image. Male and female, He created them in His image. This means we learn about who God is and how he functions by looking at humanity. Men and women share many qualities that point us to God (reason, capacity to love, ability to create, work, etc.). But each gender also reveals unique aspects of God. Men put on display some of his characteristics (power, strength and simplicity), while women put on others (beauty, elegance, and mystery).
Not surprisingly, in the book of Esther we learn some things about God by looking at the woman Esther. But surprisingly, we learn more about who He is in spite of her, Mordecai, Haman, King Ahasuerus, and the other characters.
God is not mentioned by name in the book of Esther. No prayer is recorded in Esther. Yet perhaps no other book in The Bible so clearly displays God’s sovereignty, faithfulness, and presence like Esther. The drama unfolds quickly and the writer brilliantly draws the reader in from the opening line. He keeps us there until the final word is recorded.
I really believe this book would perform well in live theaters all across the globe. The ingredients are there. There are characters we can relate to including a villain and a hero. There is tension in the storyline that builds to epic proportions before being resolved. And it all really happened. It’s a true story. But let us not miss the main idea that God is getting across in this amazing book. God’s voice may be silent in the ink, but he screams to us, “I am here! I will move on behalf of my people!”
Perhaps today you are looking at life’s circumstances and are asking, “God are you here? Are you for us?” The story of Esther informs us. God is saying everything he needs to say in this drama. Back then, he pointed the Jewish people forward and today he points us backwards. And he does this through a woman he created. She is far from perfect. In fact, she is deeply flawed. And God used her to save an entire race of people. It’s not the only time he has used flawed people. It won’t be the last.
He was there with Esther. He is here with you now.
Join us this Sunday at Journey to hear Esther’s story in more detail.