WOMEN IN THE BIBLE WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE
Ruth (Book of Ruth)
In this world we will face numerous struggles and in order to overcome those struggles we have to know who we are in Christ. We have to find our true identity. The book of Ruth has changed my life in so many ways that I can truly say no matter what I have been through or going through at the present moment, my God loves me unconditionally.
Ruth boldly stepped into her destiny that changed her life forever. Loyalty is a rare virtue, and Ruth possessed it. Ruth put her faith in God by being humble and obedient and following her heart, where Jesus dwelt. From Ruth we can learn that simple faith, obedience and loyalty can open the doors to God’s heart.
We can go from no hope to a Boaz if we allow God to direct our steps just as Ruth did. God loves you so much and is so crazy about you that He wants to use you in ways that your mind can’t even comprehend. So wherever you are in your life right now know that there is hope and God has an amazing future planned out just for you. Let this be your season, let this be your year of redemption!
Naomi (Book of Ruth)
Naomi. Her story is definitely a hard one. Naomi’s story begins with her family leaving their home in Bethlehem because of a famine. They moved to Moab, planning to be there for just a little bit (Ruth 1:1). Her two sons married women from Moab and the whole family settled there. (Ruth 1:2). And then tragedy strikes. Long story short, Naomi was left without her two children and without her husband. She experienced a great loss that would cause anyone to become hurt, angry, and bitter. She had a hard life, and I bet you too, can relate to Naomi somehow, if not with a lost loved one, maybe the bitterness part or the abandonment part. I know I can.
Often when we read the book of Ruth we see Naomi as a secondary character in this powerful love story. But what if there is more to her part in Scripture? What if she has a powerful lesson to teach us about recovering when our faith is shattered? When we feel hopeless. When we feel like life has just dealt us all the wrong cards. When life hurts!
When life hurts, bitterness sets in if we don’t lay our hurts, pains, and troubles at the feet of Jesus. Naomi did the only thing she thought she could do… go back to where she came from. How many of us, when we have been hurt. When things aren’t going right in our life, we go back to what is more comfortable. It may be to an ex. To a job, that God told you to leave but because you are not making what you used to at the new job, you go back to the old one. We go back to what felt good and right before our world was turned upside down.
Bitterness is the agony we feel when we blame God, or someone else, for the things that has happened to us or happening to us. Naomi was a bitter woman. And many would say, “Well, look what happened to her, she has the right to be angry.” And yes, that may be true, even in your situation. But God! God never intended for us to live in our pain. We are to acknowledge it. Ask God for help and forgiveness. And move on. I know it’s easier said than done, but one thing I know, it is possible!
Naomi blamed God for her circumstances and didn’t think she deserved what happened to her. Then she even thought she could never love again or be loved, which were all lies from the enemy. And I feel so strongly that the enemy has been telling many of you that today… “That you will never be loved, or you can never love again!” That is a lie! Lie! Lie! Lie!!! You can love again. You can laugh again. You can smile again! And God can send you that right one to love you like you have never been loved before! You just have to give your heart completely to the Lord and confess your hurts to God and let Him heal you. As Naomi confessed her feelings to the Lord and allowed Him to minister to her through the love of Ruth, the bitterness began to leave her heart!
As Naomi let her bitterness go, she began to experience healing. She began to realize God was working on her behalf. She received love from others and started to love again. And she began to trust God with her circumstances. God healed Naomi’s heart and today He wants to heal yours too! Will you let Him?
One other lesson I learned from Naomi, was that once she shifted her focus from herself, even though she was hurting, and shifted it to others, God began to move in her heart and life. What Naomi found was the sweet redemptive plan of a loving God who indeed saw what she could not see. There were blessings waiting for her in her difficulty. And there is a blessing waiting for you too!
Abigail (1 Samuel 25:1-42)
Abigail is one woman in the Bible I can say I can relate to. Her husband’s name was Nabal, who was a mean, evil man. He was a fool. His name literally means “fool”. He was a selfish man. Abigail was a beautiful and wise woman, but sadly, her marriage was hard and toxic. Abigail married into a toxic marriage. Something I can totally relate to with my first marriage. Her story is told in 1 Samuel 25, at the time when Saul was king. Samuel had just died, and David and his men were traveling down into the Desert of Maon.
Long story short, Nabel offended David with words. Nabal, who was a hard-hearted man, responded with such rudeness and contempt. And it angered David, so David gathers his men to go to Nabal and have him and all his men killed. But word got out to Abigail and she heard David’s plans, and she acted quickly and wisely. She took quick steps to defuse a volatile situation.
Abigail took a risk by not telling her husband what she was going to do, and by going before David. She demonstrated inward security in her identity. Abigail saved not only her own life, but the life of her husband and her family.
Many times in life, it’s not the easiest of times, but the hardest that can bring out the best in people. Abigail’s life is a powerful reflection of this very truth. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and defeat over her circumstance, she acted courageously and used great wisdom when faced with a threatening situation. The same way in our lives. We may face a hard decision, and it may cause us to lose things or even people in our lives, but we always have to be reminded that if we always choose Jesus, we will also come out victorious. Sometimes it’s not so much to make the good decision, but the Good-decision.
One other thing I saw in Abigail, is that she had the courage and strength to shoulder the blame for something she didn’t do. She begged forgiveness on behalf of her entire household, and God used that moment to show David how wrong it would be to take revenge in his own way and kill these innocent servants. She saved her entire family by taking the blame, even though it wasn’t her fault. That is love. Love for God. And because she displayed love for God, God fought for Abigail, just as He so faithfully fights for us still today. He did not leave her on her own but gave her great favor in the sight of David.
Our faithfulness to God will bring honor to God and blessings to our life. David showed honor and respect to Abigail because he saw the true woman of God she truly was, and he took her as his wife and provided for her and all her family, because of her courage and wisdom.But her husband Nabal, the Lord struck him and he died. David showed honor to Abigail by taking care of her, and the Lord faithfully provided for her and all her household, because of the courage and wisdom she portrayed.
Maybe your story is very different from Abigail’s, yet you’re still feeling like your future is hopeless, possibly by loss of a loved one, uncertainty, or difficult relationships, or you've been hurt, abused or abandoned. Be assured my friend, God knows your heart, and He understands the burdens you carry. He is fighting for you right now, even when it’s hard to see the full, big picture. One thing I know is that we see part, God sees whole. And God has a great plan for your life. Keep pressing forward. Keep taking steps, even if they are baby steps… just keep moving. Your story is not over yet, He is bringing greater beauty and strength through every hard moment. Sis, God will finish what He started in and through you! Trust Him!
Anna (Luke 2:36-38)
Anna was not like most women of her time. She was different, she chose a different path after the death of her husband. She was mentioned briefly in Luke 2, but the snapshot given of her life was a powerful image, where we all can sit back, look at her life and learn a few things. After her husband's death, many young women like Anna, back in her days were encouraged to get remarried and have children. Even now-a-days a widow is encouraged after some time and healing, is encouraged to remarry and move on with her life, have children and grandchildren. Anna, instead, chose to stay single. She chose to share her faith with everyone she came in contact with. She chose to fast and pray, worshiping the Lord day and night. She chose to tell them the news of the Savior that was coming, no matter how long it might be before he came. She knew her purpose and she didn't let anyone's opinions or comments keep her from it. Anna’s choice not only affected her life but so many around the world then and now.
Here are a few things I learned from Anna's life story.
Anna did not depart from the temple.
The Bible says that Anna was in the temple day and night. This godly woman had a zeal for God’s house and a love for God’s people. She loved worshiping the Lord with fasting and praying. To Anna, worship was not a duty, but a joy. It was not something that she added to her calendar, but something that could not be taken away from her daily routine. Often it was the case for this godly woman that while other people were eating, she was fasting. While other people were sleeping, she was praying. And while other people were out and about, she was worshiping.
Anna was committed.
Anna was committed to telling everyone about the coming Savior, no matter how long it was going to take. She was committed to the Lord. She took her commitment to the Lord seriously. The first commitment of her life was to the Lord and to his people. It was a necessity.
She didn't give up.
Anna despite the hand that was dealt to her, she didn’t give up. Many would have given up and just took another path, or blamed God and others for what happened. Anna stayed committed. She stayed strong. She stayed focused. She didn’t give up.
Anna had a prophetic gift
The Bible says that Anna was a prophetess, Anna (Luke 2:36). A rare distinction for a woman in her days. She was set apart. A prophet, in Old Testament times and now, is someone who receives direct revelation from God. And God gave this special, unique gift to Anna. I am sure from time to time Anna was given a prophetic word or prompting from the Spirit of God, enabling her to discern the truth and speak it into the lives of others.
I don't know about you, but I have a lesson or two to learn from Anna. And one thing I know, painful seasons come, but they also go. Storms come, but rainbows always come right after. And how we walk through those seasons in our life is the key to living a fulfilled life in Christ Jesus. Let’s be women of God who no matter what comes our way, we will stay true to God, stay connected to Him by His word, through prayer, fasting, and worship. And let’s not forget to stay connected to the house of God and with others in the family of God, always giving thanks and praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Anna gave herself to seek the face of God: Worship! Prayer! Fasting! What she had lacked in intimacy with a husband, she gained in intimacy with God. Now that is a powerful, anointed woman of God!
Deborah (Judge 4; 5)
For years, Jabin King of Canaan and his military commander Sisera cruelly oppressed the Israelites, and fear ran rampant throughout the towns. And God’s people cried out to the Lord for help, for relief and God sent Deborah. Deborah was the first and only woman to lead Israel. She would sit under a Palm tree named “Deborah” between Ramah and Bethel, and the Israleistes would come and line up for miles and miles every day to have their disputes decided by her. What an assignment? What a calling? And guess what, she was a woman, and in her time women had few rights. She was not only a judge, but a Prophet, and a military commander. Wow! When I read about Deborah, hope in me arises!!! Because I see how she is a tremendous example of how God says He can use anyone He pleases, even the unexpected people, those whom others might discount or dismiss to be leaders, teachers, prophets, etc.
When I read about the story of Deborah, Ruth, Naomi, Mary, or any other woman in the Bible, I remember you ladies. I know so many of your stories. And sometimes I sit and cry, asking God to help you know just how much you are loved by Him and that He can use you no matter your past. You see sis, no matter how others view you, or how you view you, God wants to use you to make a difference in your world. But like Deborah, you must have a willing and obedient heart. You must be willing to step up when others depend on you, no matter if you have to put your matters to the side sometimes. We must understand that when we help others win….we win!!!
Your courage becomes their courage!
Your victory becomes their victory!
Deborah left an amazing legacy because she was willing to let God do the unexpected in her and through her. Will you do that? Will you surrender your life to God and allow God to do the unexpected in and through you today? Who can you serve today? What sister in Christ can you help bring her vision to pass? What person can you help win victory in an area they are struggling in? Can you be a Deborah to another person's life today? And when you do that, you will see God bring victory and breakthrough in yours!