In past blogs I have written about women who have been neglected in our history books. Women who played important roles in World War II, in the NASA program and in our political system. Sadly it seems writers of history books have told of the brave and intelligent men of our country, but seem to have overlooked so many women who have also contributed to our nation’s success.
Reading with my husband through the Bible this year I realize this is also true in our churches. Anyone who has attended Sunday School or Bible classes in the past or read a Bible storybook for children know about the great men of the Bible.
- Abraham, Isaac, Jacob
- Moses and Joshua
- Samson, Gideon
- Samuel, Saul and David
- Peter, John and the disciples
But how many know of
We meet Deborah in the book of Judges. She was a judge and a phophetess in Israel. Interesting for a woman to be a judge in that time frame where women were often considered not much more than a man’s property. The Lord gave Deborah instructions to call for a man named Barak and tell him he was to take 10,000 men and go to battle against the Canaanite army that was oppressing Israel. Barak was afraid to go to battle against this powerful king and told Deborah he would not go unless she went with him.
Deborah agreed to go but told Barak:
“Certainly I will go with you, But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.”
You can read the entire story in Judges 4 but a woman named Jael had the honor of killing the Canaanite king, Sisera.
In Sunday School we all heard the great story of Moses and how he was saved from death during the time Pharaoh had ordered all male babies to be killed. The emphasis in the story is usually how God moved miraculously to save this future leader. However, the fact that all those involved in his deliverance were women is usually not even mentioned. First there were the midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, who refused to kill the male babies as Pharaoh had instructed them. Next was Moses’ mother who by faith made a little boat coated with tar and placed Moses in the river trusting God to spare his life. God even used Pharaoh’s daughter who had compassion when she saw Moses and adopted him. His sister, Miriam, was wise and brave enough to quickly come out of hiding where she was watching to see what would happen to Moses. She boldly suggested to Pharaoh’s daughter that she select a woman from the Israelites to nurse this little baby. Without these women there might have been no Moses, no great deliver of Israel. You can check this story out in Exodus 2
Hundreds of years later as Israel became a nation they turned from following the law of Moses and began worshiping idol gods. Then a young king named Josiah came to the throne and began tearing down the idols built throughout the land and started repair to the temple. In the process the high priest found the Law of Moses that had long been lost. The priest and a scribe brought the book to Josiah
When the king read the book he tore his clothes as a sign of repentance and moaning. He instructed these men to inquire of the Lord what they should do because it was clear that they were not following the Law.
You would think that these two men would have gone and began seeking God’s guidance. After all, who would be closer to God than they were? Who would better understand what God required?
The priest was the high priest – no one higher in the religious circle than he. The scribe mentioned probably was at the head of the scribes as he came with the high priest to show Josiah the book they had found.
But these men were clearly aware that there was someone who had a better understanding of the will of God than they had. And who was that?
A woman – Huldah. She gave a message from God to the king regarding how the nation should respond to this crisis of faith.
That is all we hear of Huldah. But without her message from God the revival Josiah had began might never have reached the entire nation and brought a return to God’s law. You can check out Huldah’s story in 2 Chronicles 34.
Interesting that in the history of the church many refused to recognize that God could/did call women to minister His word. There are still churches today that deny women the right to share the call of God on their lives.
Thankfully Israel did not reject the guidance of Deborah and Huldah and deny God’s call on their lives.
There are many other women in the Bible that played such an important part in the story of God.
Eve, Tamar, Rahab, Sarah, Miriam, Ruth, Naomi, Jehosheba, Esther, Mary, Anna, Mary Magdalene. Lydia, Priscilla and Phoebe.
What really is interesting to me that when Jesus died, it was the women who stood at the cross. It was the women who went to the tomb to properly prepare his body. When Jesus arose from the dead the first person He called to share the good news was a woman.
Next time you read the Bible, play a little more attention to the women. They are an important part of the story.