Great Women of The Bible Challenge- Jemima & Joanna

 

Jemima- Most beautiful and a women of inheritance

Bible Reference- Job 42:12-15

Family Background- Jemima was the daughter of Job, the eldest of three daughters (sister to Keziah and Keren-Happuch)

Name Meaning- Jemima or Jemimah means dove in Hebrew

Who is Jemima?

Jemima was the eldest daughter of Job. Job, was a blessed man who lived righteously. God sings praises of Job and the Devil challenges Job’s character, suggesting that he only served God because God protects him. God removes his protection and allows Satan to take his children, his health and his wealth but not his life in order to test Job.  Despite what Job went through, he continued to serve, worship and praise God. For this, God restored his fortunes and gave him twice more than he had before. Jemima was born to him after his return to prosperity.

Why is Jemima great?

Even though there is little known about Jemima, she is a great character in the Bible. Not only were her and her sisters the most beautiful women of their time, their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. This is unusual especially at that time for women to receive inheritance. This demonstrates that Jemima and her siblings were distinguished women of their time. It was expected for men to receive inheritance but not for women.

What can we learn from Jemima?

It is interesting to see that Jemima and her sisters names were mentioned but not her brothers names. What we can take from this story, is that we can all be great regardless of our gender. It does not matter whether you are a woman or a man you have been called to be great. You may think that because you are a female you can not be in a particular position or achieve something that is not expected. You can! Look at Jemima and her sisters, they were not expected to receive inheritance yet they did.

Joanna- Jesus’ Supporter and a woman healed by Christ

Bible Reference- Luke 8:1-3, Luke 23:55-56, Luke 24:1-12

Family Background- Joanna was the wife of Chuza,the manager of Herod’s household.

Name Meaning- Joanna means God is gracious in Hebrew

Who is Joanna?

We are introduced to Joanna in Luke 8. We are told that Jesus travelled from one town to the other preaching the good news. There were twelve with him and some women who had been cured of diseases and evil spirits. This included Mary Magdalene,  Joanna, Susanna and many others. These women were helping to support using their own means.

We are not told whether she was delivered from evil sprits or healed from a disease. However we do know that Joanna gave her life to Christ and followed him.Her husband who held the position of a steward of Herod’s household suggests that Joanna and her husband had social prominence. It also suggests that they were a wealthy couple.

At the burial of the Jesus, Joanna and the women saw the tomb and his body laid in it. They then went home to prepare spices and perfumes. They stayed obedient by resting on the Sabbath.

Joanna and the rest of women took the spices they prepared and went to the tomb. They rolled the stone away from the tomb but the body was not there. They wondered where the body went, then two men appeared, telling them that Jesus had resurrected. The women including Joanna, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James went to tell the apostles but they did not believe them.

Why is Joanna great?

Before I read this, I did not know much about Joanna. I am so glad I included Joanna as part of the Great Women of the Bible. What strikes me so much about this woman and the others, is their incredible faith. She along with the other women in Luke 24:1-12:

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Joanna and the women told the apostles that Jesus had risen and they did not believe it. Think about it for a minute, these were the guys that accompanied him everywhere in his ministry, knew him personally and loved him. These same men thought that the women were speaking nonsense.  Yet Joanna spoke boldly to the apostles and told them what she had heard.  She believed that Jesus was crucified and had risen by remembering his words. The bible tells us that faith comes through hearing by Christ which she did. She heard God’s word and believed it. She had great confidence in Jesus. You can tell she cared so much for Jesus by preparing spices and perfumes for his body. The one who cured her disease and her soul became precious to her. She showed this love by supporting him and his followers financially.

Joanna could have lead another life of power and riches, being married to Chuza (manager of Herod’s household). Yet she used the power that she had and found the greatest power of all, Jesus. God then honoured Joanna’s faithfulness by her being one of the first witnesses to the Resurrection.

Joanna was truly great!

What can we learn from Joanna?

The Bible tells us without faith it is impossible to please him. If we wish to draw near to God we must believe that he exists. Joanna and the other women believed in his words, they remembered that Jesus would die and rise on the third day. For this she was rewarded. We can learn from Joanna’s story, to believe in God always. When God tells us something, we should believe, we shouldn’t think it is nonsense like the apostles did or go out and check for evidence like Peter. We should build our confidence in Christ Jesus.

Stay Blessed

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Great Women of the Bible Challenge- Jael

Jael- The woman who killed Israel’s enemy

Bible Reference- Judges 4:17-22, Judges 5

Family Background- Jael was the wife of Heber the Kenite

Name Meaning- Jael also Yael, is a Hebrew name which means wild mountain goat

Who is Jael?

We are introduced to Jael in Judges 4. God told Deborah that she would deliver Israel from the King of Canaan. Deborah called Barak to lead a army against the King of Canaan. However Barak wished that Deborah would go with him in battle. Deborah agreed but prophesied that it was a woman that would deliver Israel from its enemy. The King of Canaan’s army was led by Sisera.

We learn that Sisera the enemy of Israel  fled to Jael’s tent. The Bible tells us this is because there was an alliance between Jabin the King and Jael’s husband.

Jael greets Sisera and invites him into her tent. She tells him not to be afraid.  He asks for water and she gives him milk. Sisera tells Jael to stand by the doorway of the tent and if anyone asks if anyone is in the tent say no.

However Jael picket up a tent peg and hammer, went quietly to him while he was sleeping and killed him.

Then Barak was looking for Sisera and Jael met him. She showed him the dead Sisera.

Why is Jael great?

To be honest when I first came across Jael when reading Deborah’s story, I did not think much of her. Should I include this woman in my study of the Great Women of the Bible? This woman used her hospitality skills to kill a man. What a sly woman? These were the thoughts running through my head. But then something struck me which is in Judges 5:17-22 and completely changed my mind on Jael.

Deborah described her- ‘Most blessed of women be Jael’. This struck me. Why did it? Jael is only one of two women in the Bible to be described as blessed, the other is Mary (mother of Jesus). This tells us something, that this woman is  special indeed. She is great because she was a fearless heroine, who killed the man who oppressed God’s people.

What can we learn from Jael?

Jael is not your ‘typical biblical great woman’. She is not as well known as the others. I questioned Jael’s actions over and over again. To offer hospitality and safety to a person, then the next minute murder him, I thought was really mean. In fact, evil. Remember, Jael’s husband was at peace with Sisera’s master King Jabin.

She may not be your Mary or your Hannah but there is something incredible we can learn from her. That God can use anyone to fulfil his plans. God told Deborah that he would deliver Israel from Jabin and Sisera. Jael, a non-Israelite and woman gave Israel the final victory over King Jabin and Sisera. Imagine at the time, a woman playing a role like that- it is only right to describe Jael as fearless and blessed.

Jael’s actions could be seen as unjustifiable, as she murdered Sisera. However God out of that, brought something good. Sisera under Jabin oppressed God’s people, Jael’s actions gave Israel deliverance and victory. There is a lesson here that although we may have committed a sin or been unfaithful to God, God can always bring about good.

Stay Blessed

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Great Women Of The Bible Challenge- Esther & Eunice

Esther- The woman who saved her people from genocide

Bible Reference- Book of Esther

Family Background- Her father was called Abihail, who was the Uncle of Mordecai. When her parents died, Mordecai her cousin, took care of her and took her as his daughter

Name meaning- Esther means star in Persian. The biblical meaning of Esther is hidden or secretive. Her original Hebrew name Hadassah means myrtle.

Who is Esther?

We are introduced to Esther in Esther 2:7 as Hadassah, where Mordecai took her as daughter as her parents died. She was also known as Esther. The Bible describes her as a young woman who had a lovely figure and was beautiful.

The story is that King Xerxes had a feast for 180 days where he displayed his wealth of his kingdom. After this he had a banquet for seven days. He summons Queen Vashti in order for her to show her beauty off to the people and the nobles. However she refuses. King Xerxes banishes her and she is punished to not enter the presence of the King. A new Queen is sought and Esther is chosen. Esther did not reveal her nationality or family background as Mordecai forbidden her not to do so. Mordecai uncovers a conspiracy, during his time sitting at the King’s gate. Two of the King’s officers conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. Mordecai tells Queen Esther who then tells the King, giving credit to Mordecai.

After these events King Xerxes honours Haman, giving him a position higher than any noble. All royal officials had to bow down to him. However Mordecai refused. Haman was angry. When he found out that Mordecai was a Jew, he looked for a way to destroy all the Jews in King Xerxes’ kingdom.

Mordecai calls on Esther to talk to the King. However the King does not know of Esther’s background. Esther is reluctant to go to the King. Remember, to approach her husband without permission she risked death.  She would be breaking the law and be punished by death. Mordecai reminds her of background and purpose:

“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Esther then replied to Mordecai, to tell everyone in Susa to fast and pray for three days. She also said will do the same and after this she would go to the King.

Esther then entered the King’s court. The King was pleased with her so she requested to have a banquet with the King and Haman (she said she would give her petition at the banquet). So Haman got cocky and did ‘guy guy’ because he had been asked to attend dinner with the beautiful Queen Esther. He saw Mordecai who again did not bow to me. Haman’s wife suggested to him and his friends that he should set a 75 ft (23 m) pole for Mordecai to be hanged on.

The King the following night couldn’t sleep. He read the records of his reign and he found that Mordecai had exposed the officers who conspired to assassinate the King. The King asked Haman what should this man receive for his good work. Haman without realising it is Mordecai, told the King he should have a royal robe, sit on the house and be paraded through the city. When Haman realised he was sad and angry.

At the banquet Queen Esther told her husband King Xerxes of Haman’s evil plans to destroy the Jews (Queen Esther’s people) and kill Mordecai.  The King was angry and the pole that Haman planned for Mordecai, was instead set up for him.

The King gave Queen Esther Haman’s estate and she appointed Mordecai over it. The King gave Mordecai his signet ring which he reclaimed from Haman. The King also reversed Haman’s plans to destroy the Jews which was written into an edict. The decree granted all Jews across his kingdom the right to assemble and protect themselves.

Why is Esther great?

From Esther’s story you can tell what an extraordinary woman she was. She risked her life and interceded on behalf of her people to the King where she could have been punished to death. She knew the risks ‘And if I perish, I perish’ (Esther 4:16) yet she was willing to sacrifice her life in order for her people to be saved. Esther’s bravery, courage and faith in God highlights the strong belief she had in God. She was committed in fasting and praying, knowing that fasting gives favour and protection from God. She allowed God to use her in the position she was in to win deliverance for her people.

Esther, was a rare individual. She was chosen as a candidate for the King who must not only have been charmed by her beauty but her personality.Whilst reading this, I noticed the King was always eager to listen to his wife, Queen Esther. He greeted her with love and was willing to understand everything she put across. This demonstrates that Esther was a great wife too.

What can we learn from Esther?

We can learn from Esther’s obedience. Mordecai told her not to reveal her background and asked her to intercede on behalf of the Jews. She did whatever he asked. Imagine, as a young woman without no father and mother. Our parents from birth teach us how to respect others. However, Mordecai as her adoptive father took on that role. I learnt from this, the importance of obedience. Sometimes young people, even old can disagree with their parents, but look where Esther’s obedience brought her.

Furthermore, we can learn from Esther’s character from her determination to seek God’s guidance in her time of difficulty. We can be going through difficult times and forget the tools of prayer and fasting. In our trials and tribulations, we may lose hope and faith thinking what is the point. However Esther sought after God and we should learn from this.

Even though Esther kept her background a secret. She never forget where she came from. She was not ashamed in the hour of trouble to reveal who she was. We can learn from this that we should always love who we are, which includes our heritage and background.

From Esther’s story we learn that God can take you from nothing to something. She was  a young woman called Hadassah from Susa but then became Queen Esther of Persia. He had a plan for Esther, just like he has a plan for you and I. God used Esther as an instrument for his glorious purpose, to deliver the Jews and give them their rights. The same way God will use you and I. God put Esther as a Queen to do this. God can put us in a similar position for a purpose. Esther’s life is a demonstration of how God works. God puts each one of us into a position for his plan and purpose. We may never know what he is doing and think to ourselves- Why this? Why here? Why now? Why am I doing this? Then when everything comes together, then we look back and say to ourselves God I understand why you did it like that. She was put as a candidate as ‘for such a time as this’, she was given to the King as ‘for such a time as this’, she was the Queen as a ‘time for this’. Whatever position you are in, believe it is ‘for such a time as this’.

Eunice- The woman whose her son became a famous evangelist

Bible Reference- Acts 16:1-3, 2 Timothy 1:5, 2 Timothy 3:14-15

Family Background-Eunice was the daughter of Lois. The Bible does not mention who Eunice’s father is. Eunice married a Greek.

Name Meaning- Eunice means good victory

Who is Eunice?

Eunice was Timothy’s mother.

Why is Eunice great?

Esther is great because of the way she brought up her son. The Bible tells us that Timothy’s faith first came through his grandmother Lois and then Eunice. This means Eunice trained her son with scriptures. The bible reminds us to teach children in the way they should go. Paul speaks highly of Timothy, as his ‘dear son’. Eunice must have been proud that her son’s who was an evangelist, had an companion such as Paul. Looking at Timothy, Eunice did a great job.

What can we learn from Eunice?

We can learn from Eunice that we should bring up our children in the right way. She made sure  that from birth, Timothy was surrounded by the ways of God. We can take this from Eunice, that if we have positive Christian training in our homes our children would not depart from it.

Great Women Of The Bible Challenge- Dorcas (Tabitha) & Elizabeth

I hope you all had a lovely bank holiday weekend. Great women I looked at was Dorcas and Elisabeth.

Dorcas (Tabitha)- The woman full of good works

Bible Reference-Acts 9:36-43

Family background-There is no mention of Dorcas’ family history.

Name meaning- Dorcas is the Greek translation of the Aramaic name Tabitha. The meaning of the name is gazelle.

Who is Dorcas?

We are introduced to Dorcas in Acts 9:36 as a disciple. This means that she was a Christian. Her name is given as Tabitha, but the Greek equivalent is Dorcas. She lived in the seaport town of Joppa. The Greek variant of her name and her residence highlights the fact she would have been surrounded by Greek speaking people.

Why is Dorcas great?

Dorcas’ story shows greatness as she accepted responsibility as a disciple in her community. She gave her life to those in need. The bible describes her as always doing good and helping the poor. This suggests that she she dedicated her life to philanthropy and charity work. So many of us wish to do this, we talk but will never do. Dorcas not only talked about it but she carried out her plans.

The scripture describes the time  of her death as a very sad time. When she died, they sent for Peter who was in a nearby town to urgently come. This suggests that she was highly respected and loved. It seems that she was a person, that many in her community cared about. When Peter went, the widows stood around him crying.  They even showed him the clothes that Dorcas had made for them. This demonstrates that Dorcas’ death was a big blow to her community.

However, Peter prayed for the dead Dorcas and she got up, opened her eyes and when she saw him sat up. Peter called in the believers and especially the widows to see what God had done. The Bible says that this miracle was known all over Joppa and because of this, people found God. I believe that that the resurrection of Dorcas had a twofold effect. The first effect that it had was when Peter called the widows. He did this so they will be encouraged in the Lord- that God is great and can do all things. It would have brought comfort to Dorcas’ mourners that her life of charity work was not over. Secondly, I believe that the miracle was to bring people to believe in God. It was not a coincidence. The miracle was to show God’s glory, so that people will be saved. Dorcas was a blessed woman- her resurrection was for a reason. The  purpose in her life was not over, God had more in store for her life.

What can we learn from Dorcas?

We can learn from Dorcas’ life that she cared for people rather than just focusing on her title as a leader in the community. Some people have a title in their church as a deacon or worship leader but dwell on their post rather than carrying out the work. Many are proud and brag about their title, yet they do not carry out the good deeds like Dorcas. Dorcas demonstrated dedication in helping to those in need. She was obsessed in doing good. From time to time a person may carry out a good deed, but for kingdom people it is a duty to carry out good deeds all the time. It doesn’t mean that we should go and work for a charity or we must donate millions away, it could mean encouraging, giving and praying for the needy. For example this could be cooking for the hungry, praying for the broken hearted or giving clothes to those in need. I found out something really interesting that the The Dorcas Society is named after her. This shows the effect that this great woman had on the world and still has. The charity carries out similar work Dorcas did-making clothing for the poor. She died leaving a mark. Before her resurrection, those who were mourning her remembered her for making garments for the needy. What are we going to remembered for?  What would you be remembered for? We should all want to be remembered for our service unto God and unto others like Dorcas. Dorcas is a great example of a true charitable woman.

 

Elizabeth- The woman who bore in her old age

Bible Reference- Luke 1:5-80

Family Background- Elizabeth was a descendent of Aaron. This means she came from a priestly family. Her husband was Zechariah who was a priest. He belonged to the priestly division of Abijah, which was one set of priests who were chosen to minister in the temple. Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist. She was a relative of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Name meaning- Elizabeth means oath of God

Who is Elizabeth?

Elizabeth was a Godly woman who lived in Judea. She along with her husband is described in the Bible as ‘righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly’. To be given such a description like this means that she was a woman who preserved the traditions of her descendants and walked with God. She was a priestly woman who lead a holy life.

Elizabeth was an old woman. Her and husband had been praying for a child but she was unable to conceive. This must have caused heartbreak and disappointment for the couple. I could not imagine the humiliation they may have received especially with Elizabeth as a priest’s wife. Especially in ancient times, when barrenness was considered a disgrace. It is dream for every woman to become a mother, so it must have been hard for Elizabeth.

Why is Elizabeth great?

An angel appeared to Zechariah and told him that their prayers have been answered. The angel told him that they will have a son called John. Zechariah did not believe the angel and was made mute. Just as the angel said, Elizabeth conceived. Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus visited Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt for joy. Then Elizabeth gave birth to a son and Zechariah’s speech returned. Elizabeth’s son became John the Baptist, the prophet who foretold the saviour and messiah- Jesus Christ.

This is the story. But why is Elizabeth great? Her life was full of faith and piety. Unlike her husband, who had doubt of conceiving in old age, Elizabeth believed. She was never sad or upset because she was unable to conceive. She had faith and continued to pray. She continued to serve God and his commandments even though she may have felt like a disgrace. Even though she probably was gossiped about, she kept her faith.  She was thankful for what God had done for. Elizabeth was grateful for the favour that God had given her.

Additionally, when Mary visited Elizabeth she heard her relative’s greeting and her baby leapt for joy. She was filled with the holy spirit and said:

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!”

Elizabeth was a privileged and favoured woman as she was the first to declare who Jesus was. She gave a prayer and a blessing. I think the baby leaped in Elizabeth’s womb because he was welcoming Jesus. The baby was excited that the messiah who was to bring salvation, was near. Elizabeth knew the messiah had come and she confessed this with “the mother of my Lord should come to me”. Elizabeth presented herself with humility, knowing that was she blessed and highly favoured to be the first to confess who Jesus was.

Moreover, the birth of John showed that Elizabeth was a great woman. The bible describes that her relatives and neighbours had heard the Lord had shown her great mercy and they shared their joy. Elizabeth obeyed God. She could have listened to her family and called her son Zechariah Jr. However she said his name is John just like God had commanded.  She was a special woman who listened to God’s commandments and because of this she was given a special blessing. She was blessed with a child who was not only to be a joy to his parents but to others (her son was great in the eyes of God, her son was to be filled with the holy spirit before his birth, walk in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn lives around and prepare people for Jesus Christ). Not even double double blessings for this one, this was an extraordinary blessing. This woman was truly blessed! Elizabeth gave birth to her son who would become John the Baptist, who had a role in God’s salvation. The fact that she was involved in the fulfilment of Messianic prophecy and promise, shows that Elizabeth was a great woman.

What can we learn from Elizabeth?

We can learn from Elizabeth and her story that God is amazing-he can take you from barrenness to fruitfulness. Even though she was unable to conceive, she continued to have faith and pray. Sometimes when we do not get what we want, we become frustrated and lose hope. Is it ever going to happen? Am I going to get my miracle? As Elizabeth said blessed are those who believe God’s promises and the fulfilment of them. Elizabeth could have given up. But she didn’t. We need to remember and believe in what God has promised us. Look at what he did for Elizabeth! I have learnt that God rewards and blesses those who are obedient and believe in him. It reminds me of a hymn lol. You know the one … Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. It isn’t a surprise that Elizabeth is a common name. Who wouldn’t want to name their child after a woman who was humble, had great faith and was blameless and righteous before God?

Stay Blessed

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GREAT WOMEN OF THE BIBLE CHALLENGE-BATHSHEBA & DEBORAH

I hope you all had a great weekend and a blessed start to the week. Great women I looked at was Bathsheba and Deborah. Hope you are blessed by it. Enjoy!

Bathsheba-A woman who turned her sin around

Bible Reference- 2 Samuel 11, 2 Samuel 12, 1 Kings 1:11-31, 1 Kings 2:13-19, 1 Chronicles 3:5

Family Background-She was the daughter of Eliam and was married to Uriah the Hittite

Name Meaning- Bathsheba means the daughter of an oath

Who is Bathsheba?

Bathsheba is introduced to us from 2 Samuel 11:2 onwards. She is described as a very beautiful woman and her family background is given.

David got up from his bed one evening and saw Bathsheba bathing. He saw how beautiful she was and sent someone to find out about her. He found out her family background and that she was married yet he still sent for her. They slept together and she conceived. What I find hard to understand is why was Bathsheba bathing outside? The fact that David saw her bathing must have meant she exposed herself for all to see. If she was modest then she would have realised that people may have been able to see her. Additionally, if she had been a faithful wife, she would have refused David when he had sent for her. If she was a woman of principle she would have refused to take part in adultery.

After Bathsheba tells David of her pregnant condition, David comes up with a plan. To hide his sin, he sends for Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah the Hittite. Uriah was fighting as a solider in the Israelite army. Uriah refused to come back home and have physical contact with his wife whilst his colleagues was fighting. Uriah was a man of integrity and honour. He wished to be with the rest of the soldiers and serve his King. David even made Uriah drunk, but he did not go home. Realising that his plan had failed, David sent a letter to Joab for Uriah to be put in a place where the he was likely to be killed. I find it shocking that Bathsheba could take part in an affair with a man her husband risked his life for. After her husband’s death, Bathsheba mourned for him. However after mourning, Bathsheba she moved to David’s house. She became his wife and bore a son.

God was displeased with Bathsheba and David’s behaviour. God sent the prophet Nathan to make David and Bathsheba realise the sins they had committed. As a result the son they bore died. Nathan told David, God had forgiven him but there would be calamity in his household.

 

Why is Bathsheba great?

You must be wondering why I think Bathsheba is great. After all she did with David committing adultery, murder, deceit, lust and betraying Uriah. However she turned it all around. From a woman whose sin resulted into murder, became a blessed woman with favour. God blessed David and Bathsheba with a son called Solomon which the Bible says the Lord loved him. David was repentant of his sin and it seems Bathsheba was too, otherwise God would not have blessed her with this child. God could have given Solomon to one of David’s wives, but he chose Bathsheba. Bathsheba continued to have influence over David which is seen when she reminded David of his promise to her. This promise was that their son would be his successor. Bathsheba’s son, Solomon was known for his wisdom which is seen in Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Songs of Solomon. Solomon became King and was known not for only his wisdom but also his wealth and power. To have a child who was an extraordinary blessing, Bathsheba herself must have been great.

Indeed, Bathsheba was a great woman as she was included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1. This is evidence that God restored Bathsheba to divine favour.

 

What can we learn from Bathsheba?

We can learn from Bathsheba, that God can turn it around. He can take away our sin and make it clean. All we need to do, is to be repentant of our sins. I am amazed at how God blessed Bathsheba- look at how she started and look at how she ended! From the woman who lead a King to commit murder, then give birth to a renowned wise King and became an ancestor of Jesus. This is a 360! Bathsheba did not allow one sin to ruin her life. Instead she used her mistake to  direct her future steps.  God can take our sins and turn it into something great!

Deborah-The Prophetess Judge

Bible Reference-Judges 4, Judges 5

Family Background-She was the wife of Lappidoth

Name Meaning-A bee

Who is Deborah?

Deborah was a prophetess, a judge and a warrior. She is introduced to us in Judges 4:4 as a wife and a prophetess leading Israel. At this time, Israel was under the King of Canaan who was oppressing them. The commander of his army was Sisera. Immediately as you read this passage, you get a sense that Deborah was a woman of substance. She was leading a nation, was a wife, prophetess and a counsellor. She is also described as the ‘mother of Israel’ in Judges 5:7. This shows that Deborah was a maternal figure to all of Israel, that she took everyone in and was a mother to all.

Why is Deborah great?

I believe Deborah was great because of her role as a Judge of Israel. She is the only noted female judge in the scripture where  she sat under a palm tree named after her. Deborah’s role as a ruler is extraordinary, as at that time women would have been in the background. However she gave justice and settled disputes under her palm tree. Deborah was  a wise and intelligent woman to lead a land where it had peace for forty years.

I also admire the patriotism and fight Deborah had in her. She was brave and had great courage. This can be seen when she sent Barak to lead the 10,000 army and deliver Israel from their oppressors. Barak was hesitant to go, but he wished that Deborah would go with him. This shows that Deborah was respected as a fearless and brave warrior. Sisera had commanded 900 iron chariots. However Deborah declared that God had given Sisera into their hands. This came to pass where Barak and his men won the battle where not one man was left. Deborah knew that when God is on your side of the battle, that the enemy cannot win.

In Judges 5, the song of Deborah can be seen. This demonstrates not only could Deborah prophesy, lead battles and counsel but she could write. Deborah was a songwriter and a poetess. The song gives praise to God for delivering Israel through their leaders. Deborah was a woman of many talents.

What can we learn from Deborah?

Deborah was an incredible leader. Deborah had a remarkable personality and various gifts which delivered Israel from its enemy. She was gifted with wisdom and courage. I also admire how her reputation is based on her own merit, rather than coming from someone else. Most great women in the Bible, were married to great men or related to one. However Deborah did it on her own. Girl power! From this I learnt that you do not always have to rely on someone’s name to be great, you can carve out a name for yourself. She trusted in God’s words that he gave her. I also learnt that in a powerful position you must be grateful, thankful and humble. This is seen in the Song of Deborah when she magnifies God for enabling her and Barak to conquer Israel’s enemy.

 

Stay Blessed

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Great women of the bible challenge- ABIGAIL & Anna

I hope you all are having a lovely weekend. I decided early in the week that I would do a ‘Great Women of the Bible Challenge’. This is where I would look at two great women of the Bible each week. I want to be a great woman and there is nothing better than drawing inspiration from powerful women. I was inspired by my best friend who was doing something similar. I saw the great effect it was having on her and thought I need some of that lol! I can’t miss out! This week it starts with Abigail and Anna. Hope you are all blessed by it. Enjoy!

Abigail- A woman with beauty and brains

Bible Reference1 Samuel 25:1-42; 2 Samuel 3.3

Family background– The Bible does not point to Abigail’s family history or background. All we know she was married to Nabal. The meaning of Abigail’s name indicates that maybe her father was a joyous person.

Name Meaning– Father’s joy or gives joy

Who is Abigail?

We are introduced to Abigail in 1 Samuel 25:3.  She is married to a man called Nabal who was very wealthy.  Nabal could be viewed as the  modern day Donald Trump. He owned property in Carmel and  4000 goats and sheep.

Abigail’s description in the Bible was that ‘she was an intelligent and beautiful woman’. She was a woman with beauty and brains. Today, many believe that their beauty that will open doors for them. Yes, this is true at times. However, beauty does not last forever. Abigail demonstrates in this passage how important it is to have intelligence. She shows women that beauty and intelligence work hand in hand. Her intelligence equalled her beauty. To have a beautiful mind and a beautiful appearance is highly admirable and something that many should inspire to have.

Why is Abigail great?

I find it fascinating that Abigail was this beautiful and intelligent woman yet her husband Nabal was mean and surly. Abigail was painted in a good light whilst her husband was painted in a bad light. It seems like Abigail and Nabal were opposites. I think Abigail must have been patient to be married to a man who was not kind. This would take a lot of understanding. It also suggests she was down to earth and humble. The way the bible emphasises her beauty, she could have the attitude of  ‘I am far too hot for this, bye’. However she respected the value and the institution of marriage. I think we can learn from Abigail where we should have patience with unkind people. It also teaches us to be humble and down to earth. Just because you are a ‘hottie’ or a ‘great beauty’ does not mean you should be boastful or have a proud heart.

David moved to the desert of Paran whilst he was there he treated Nabal’s shepherds well. The scripture points out that that Nabal’s shepherds even spent time with David and his companions. At this time David was in the wilderness, he sent his ten young men with a kind message of good health and long life. They heard that it was sheep wearing time and wished Nabal to give them whatever they could find. Can you imagine the rude behaviour Nabal displayed to David’s men? He told them ‘Who is David?’, ‘Who is the son of Jesse?’. This demonstrates Nabal’s churlish behaviour. He definitely knew who David was. How can you mention his father’s name and claim that you don’t know him? As for this Mr Churlish, I think he knew David and that he is the King in waiting. I think Nabal just did not like David. Can you imagine someone displaying that kind of behaviour to Prince Charles? Or Prince William? That is what Nabal did. Adding insult to injury he refused to give food to David’s men. He also said that he would not give it to men that he knows from no where when the food is for his shearers. This shows Nabal’s selfish, harsh and brutal character.

Word got back to David. David was ANGRY. The Bible mentions strapping the sword thrice. David meant business and was coming for Nabal Churlish. A servant told Abigail of her husband’s lack of social graces. The servant mentions that Nabal is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him. The fact that the servant came to Abigail, suggests that she was the logical one in their household. This can be seen when the Bible says she ‘acted quickly’. She went out without telling her husband to meet David with food supplies. A woman of this period, probably risked the anger of their husband by going out without permission. I applaud and commend her bravery! She did what she had to do, to save her household.

When Abigail saw him she fell with face down to the ground. I love the respect, humility and submission she showed David. She mentions that her husband is just like his name-foolish.No wonder his behaviour is foolish. She asks David to spare her household. I love that Abigail knew who David was in the Lord.

‘ The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant’

Indeed, Abigail was a wise woman. She recognised who David was. She had a great understanding and judgement of David.  I believe that David was moved by Abigail’s wisdom and judgement which lead him to to preserve Nabal’s household. He states that if it was not for Abigail’s wisdom he would have destroyed Nabal’s household. He respected Abigail for the care she had for her husband and household.

When Abigail returned home, Nabal was having a party and was extremely drunk ‘holding a banquet like that of a king’. How did Abigail deal with her husband? I know many of us could not do it. I certainly could not. She told him later of her actions when he was sober. The Bible describes that he had heart failure and become like stone. He died ten days later.

David then remembered Abigail. He sent his servants to ask Abigail to become his wife and she accepted willingly. Lol, who would not remember Abigail? A woman of beauty, intelligence, wisdom, bravery and humility of course David would want to marry her. She saw herself as a servant and even was ready to wash David’s servants feet. Such humility!

Abigail is mentioned another time in the Bible, as the mother of David’s second child.

What can we learn from Abigail?

I have learnt a great deal from Abigail. Her story is an example of submission, courage and wisdom even in times of danger. Abigail was truly an amazing woman. She was respectful and humble. I love the way she was so humble to fall down to the ground. This really moved me. I know many of us would be like I aint bowing down for nobody. However Abigail’s bowing down is something that we can learn from, that we should be respectful, humble and submissive.

Anna- The Prophetess

Bible ReferenceLuke 2:36-38

Family background-Anna was the daughter of Phanuel. The name Phanuel means the face of God. This suggests that Anna may have come from a family that seeked God or a devout religious family. She was from the Asher Tribe. Anna had a husband, but he died.

Name Meaning– Grace or Favour

Who is Anna?

Anna appears in the Bible in Luke 2:36-38.  The Bible describes her as a prophet. So Anna was a woman of God who heard and spoke from God. She was a widow, she had been married for seven years but her husband died. The scripture describes her as very old.

Why is Anna great?

Anna was great because she seeked God’s face and presence. She never left God’s temple, fasting and praying everyday. She knew the importance of worshipping God. She recognised that Mary and Joseph’s child, Jesus was the saviour and gave thanks.

What can we learn from Anna?

I admire Anna’s longing to be with God at all times. It seems like she was a woman who loved spending timing with God. The constant fasting and prayer showed she wanted to draw closer to God. Nowadays many of us regard fasting as old fashioned. I, myself was guilty of this some time back. However I have realised the importance of fasting and prayer. Fasting and praying are key principles in our faith. Jesus himself highlighted the importance of fasting and praying. It is important to fast and pray because we may need to seek God on important decisions in our lives. It also makes us stronger against the flesh and can bring breakthroughs. Anna knew the importance of fasting and praying.

 

Stay Blessed

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