Women of the Bible 2: Who am I?

This is the second instalment of our women of the Bible “Who am I?” series. Guess the biblical woman and decide what we can learn from her.

I met my husband the day before we were married. Our marriage was arranged by our fathers. Mine is rich and wanted me to marry well, so he paid a bountiful dowry, much more than what was asked. At fourteen, I became X’s wife. Everyone said I was beautiful. Our lavish wedding was the event of the decade in Shushan. My husband was proud of me. He invited me to take his arm and parade at his side many social occasions.

I behaved with dignity. Within, I was delighted for landing such a catch as X. Even though my marriage was arranged, I gave myself credit for my beauty and took great pains to ensure that I always looked my best. I held my head high and enjoyed my status far above all other women.

But things didn’t always go well. I became acquainted with the vice of drink and the effect it had on my husband. When he drank too much wine, he became a different person. He had the tendency to forget his manners and become crude and loud. To be honest, it was embarrassing. I didn’t like him like that. It was ugly to watch.

I began to boycott certain events. I’d attend when my husband asked, of course, but when I knew the occasion called for much drinking and revelry, I only went if he specifically invited me. When I had to go, I tried to mask the disgust I felt. I smiled and charmed and lifted my chin.

Later, I went back to my bedchamber and cried. Only my closest maidens knew.

One evening, I didn’t go to the royal men’s feast, feigning a headache. All of a sudden, the door opened, and my servant girl Davke raced in, her face white with excitement.

“He wants you to appear. He wants you to show yourself to his guests. He demands it. Now.”

“I told him I don’t feel well.”

“You must go. He wants you to.”

“But Davke, I cannot do that. My body is not for public viewing.”

“He says to come. Hurry. You could wear something see-through. That would work. Here, how about this dress of fine linen?” She holds up a gauze creation as transparent as water.

I turn my face to the wall. “I can’t, Davke. I will not.”

“Please do it. We love you. Do you not understand? You could be killed for displeasing him.”

“No.”

“Please. You know how he gets.”

“That’s precisely why I cannot. No.”

“Please.”

“Go Davke. Tell him I refuse.”

“Yes, Mistress.” She went away, sobbing into her arm, covering her face as she ran.

I never saw her again.

Neither did I ever see my husband again.

Who am I?

What can we learn from this woman of the Bible’s story? Do you admire her? Why or why not?Please feel free to share your thoughts.

Attitude Schmattitude!

Attitude is probably the biggest battleground for women. How many times do we think of a smarty little comeback? How many times do we make rude snap judgments? How about grumbling?

We have a hard time with the law of kindness1, don’t we? At least in our heads.

Has someone—maybe your child, husband, or parent—asked you do do something, and your first reaction is, Can’t he see I’m busy? Have you balked? Have you thought negatively about that person? Oh my! I remember being interrupted in reading (which I was always doing) when I was a young teen and having a rebellious spirit. How could my parent ask something of me when I was reading?!!!

How about when someone takes advantage of you? What’s your reaction? Count it all joy?2 Suffer the hurt? Absorb the loss?

And, when people revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for Jesus’ sake3,do you react like a victorious Christian? Do you forgive? Do you treat them kindly anyhow? Or, do you simmer inside?

Attitude is important. It reveals our heart.

Romans 12:10-31 is one of those passages we all would do well to study: Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

This is the Christian way. This sets us apart from the rest of the world.

Today’s philosophy goes completely opposite this teaching. Venting, fighting back, vengeance, looking out for number one, self-this and self-that, anger, strife, divisiveness…. The list goes on.

The Bible way is truly amazing: For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps (1 Peter 2:19-21).

The Christian is literally a “Christ follower.” Jesus is God, and God is holy. But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (lifestyle). 1 Peter 1:15

What’s your attitude?

What’s mine?

Does it please the Lord?

  • 1. From Proverbs 31:26
  • 2. From James 1:2
  • 3. From Matthew 5:11

Fiction review: I’ll Watch the Moon

Ann Tatlock’s I’ll Watch the Moon is a different kind of book from her—based on her grandmother’s story. I absolutely loved it.

She calls it a “love story,” and it is, though it’s not a romance. Told from a little girl’s viewpoint, we learn of Nova’s star-gazing brother, Dewey, and her Auntie Dortha, mother, and two men: Josef and Thomas. She also introduces us to Dewey’s friends and Dewey’s world. Dewey sincerely wants to be the first man on the moon.

Little by little, Josef’s life story unfolds, along with some life-changing happenings in Nova’s life. Unfortunately, I can’t tell more without spoiling.

This is a sweet, lovely read. I enjoyed the sensitivity with which it is told and the authentic historical setting. A wonderful book that I can recommend to anyone. Easily five stars.

Who Am I?

I’m starting a new series for “Walking in the Way.” We’ll present different women from the Bible. See if you can guess who they are. Also, beyond figuring out who they are, let’s learn valuable spiritual applications from them. Are you ready? Here’s the first one:

She looks up from weeding outside their dwelling, surprised to hear his voice at this hour in the morning. “What did you say, Sweetheart?”

“Mumble mumble building mumble.”

“I didn’t quite hear you. Did you say something about a building?”

Her husband comes nearer and explains.

“Let me make sure I got this straight. You’re going to build something according to God’s plan.”

“Right.”

“It is going to be huge.”

“Yes.”

“God has already given you precise instructions.”

“Yes, you got it.”

“And, while you build, you have a message for anyone curious about your project.”

“Exactly.”

“Okay, when do you start?”

“Today.”

“That’s great, Honey, but you do realize you’re getting up in age.”

“I’m keeping fit.” He makes a muscle, and she laughs and nods. He does look good.

“You’ll be fitter with this project.” She momentarily turns her head, smiles to herself, and pivots back to face him.” Are you hungry? Lunch salad’s ready, and there are berries for dessert. The kids are already inside.”

Fifty years later, her husband continues to pound pegs, measure, and design stalls, cages, and storage areas. The magnificent structure can be seen from far away, and her husband continues to preach. “God will judge the earth. Repent!” All the while, he prays for revival and keeps on working.

Their three boys grow up, marry, and their wives chime in to help in the work. More than mere moral support, the four women cook, sweep shavings, carry water, and encourage their men. They also share God’s message with their friends, “Judgment is coming. Repent. Come with us. God has provided salvation.”

But no one listens.

Some even mock and laugh.

The old man walks with God. He does everything God commands him to do.

And God says to him, But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee (Genesis 6:18).

One cloudy day, the family enters, along with a menagerie of peaceful animals—some of every kind on the earth. When everyone gets aboard, a hand from heaven seals the door. Almost immediately, the skies and the fountains inside the earth open. The woman looks up at her six-hundred-year-old, still-beautiful man and smiles. She turns into his strong arms and swipes at the tears that begin to flow.

A few hours later, water is already sloshing against the bottom of their brand new dwelling as the sounds of beating the door and screaming assault her ears.

The flood has begun … and all their friends are lost.

Many years later, New Testament writers would mention this man and his family.

  • In Hebrews 11:7, he’s named as a hero of the faith—By faith … being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
  • 1 Peter 3:20Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of (this man), while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
  • 2 Peter 2:5And spared not the old world, but saved … the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.

I’m sure you’ve guessed by now. Who is this Bible woman? What can we learn from her?

Pioneers and Followers: Which are you?

Last year, Lewis Pugh swam the length of the English channel in 49 days, a feat no one else has ever attempted. He famously said, “The world is divided between pioneers and followers; you can’t be both.”

In some way, everyone stands upon the shoulders of those who’ve gone before. This is the mark of progress, the result of family ties, having learned from history, and living in this century instead of the last.

I understand what Lewis Pugh was saying. Either we dare to venture out and be the first—or we follow other people’s successes.

So, what are we? Pioneers or followers?

It’s interesting to think about these concepts in the light of the Bible.

Followers

Jesus said Follow me no less than seventeen times (Matthew 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; 16:24; 19:21; Mark 2:14; 8:34; 10:21; Luke 5:27; 9:23; 9:59; 18:22; John 1:43; 10:27; 12:26; 13:36; and in John 21:19). An angel freed Peter from prison with the words, Follow me.

We are supposed to follow Jesus. We do well to follow Him. The Apostle Paul said, Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1) which lets us know we can follow Christ-followers.

Pioneers

By definition, a pioneer is: “1. a person who is one of the first to settle in an area. 2. a person who begins or helps develop something new and prepares the way for others to follow” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

In the Bible, there’s an example of someone who prepared the way: John the Baptist. Even before he was born, he recognized Jesus. His mission in life was to help people be prepared for Jesus’ coming.

The angel told Zacharias: Thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:13, 15-17).

So John the Baptist grew up and started preaching. His message was, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight (Matthew 3:2-3).

The people listened to John and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins (Matthew 3:6). As he baptized, John said, I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire (Matthew 3:11).

John was a pioneer. He prepared the way for others to follow …

Christ.

Each Christian has a duty to serve the Lord, to glorify Him with his actions, and to shine as a light in the world.

May we break ground so that others might follow—as we follow Christ. Pioneers and followers: may we be both.